Fire extinguishers in Australian Office Buildings

NCC 2013 - Cover - Volume 1 Spent the morning looking at the number of fire extinguishers needed in an Australian office building (ie. a Class 5 building).

Here’s the process I followed  as a Health and Safety Representative:

First I grabbed a copy of the Building Code of Australia.  It’s also known as the National Construction Code Series.  From that I find out that:

  1. Part E1.6 – Portable fire extinguishers
    Portable fire extinguishers must be provided as listed in Table E1.6 and must be selected, located and distributed in accordance with Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of AS2444
  2. Table E1.6 Requirements for extinguishers talks about the types of extinguishers required, not the number.
  3. So we need to open a copy of Australian Standard 2444 – Portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets – Selection and location.
    Section 4 – Distribution of portable fire extinguishers in buildings is the section I need.

And that’s where things start to get rubbery.

  • Is the fire risk a Class A risk or a Class B risk?
  • What is the fire hazard level?
  • Is the fire extinguisher(s) the primary protection or a complementary protection?
    Complementary protection is “where fire extinguishers are provided to complement a fixed automatic fire suppression system complying with the requirements of AS 2118 (all parts) or AS 4214 (all parts), extinguishers shall be distributed in accordance with Table 4.x”

So we look at the relevant Table to see what we need:
Table 4.1

Yes, I’ve blurred the details out.  Go buy your own copies of the relevant Australian Standards.

AS 1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment
AS 2444—2001 Portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets—Selection and location
National Construction Code Series – Building Code of Australia