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AS 1851

Standard for the routine service of fire protection systems and equipment

AS1851 – 2012 specifies the routine service of fire protection systems and equipment.

Under Australian law, the standard AS1851 Fire Service Standard applies to each state’s legislation. It covers routine service of fire equipment for inspection, test and preventative maintenance. Other service intervals of fire safety include exit and emergency lighting found in AS2293.

Equipment & Systems covered by Procedures and Testing Service Intervals for Fire Protection Systems

  • Fire Sprinklers
  • Fire Pump Sets
  • Fire Hydrant Systems
  • Water Storage Tanks for Fire Protection Systems
  • Fire Detection and Alarms Systems
  • Special Hazard Systems
  • Delivery Lay Flat Hose
  • Fire Hose Reels
  • Portable and Wheeled Fire Extinguishers
  • Fire Blankets
  • Passive Fire and Smoke Systems
  • Fire and Smoke Control Features of Mechanical Services
  • Emergency Planning In Facilities

The current standard, AS1851-2012, covers wet pipe systems, dry pipe systems, deluge and water spray systems, pre-action systems, and frequency.

This section of the standard covers a range of fire protection systems: from wet pipe systems to dry pipe systems to deluge and water spray systems. It also covers pre-action systems.

The frequency for most of these services was previously weekly but with time, reliability, and protection these services can/have moved to monthly inspections.

Ranging from monthly, six-monthly, Yearly, Five Yearly, Ten Yearly, Twenty Yearly and Thirty Yearly the testing varies from general operations to overhauls at set periods. To find out more about the requirements of your system contact a licenced sprinkler company like Complete Fire and Pumps today!

The Fire Pumps Set section covers all types of fire pump sets, including sprinkler, hydrant, hose reel and automatic pressure maintenance pumps.

The purpose of this section is to ensure that the pump set is operating correctly and also to ensure that no issues have occurred in the last 30 days since the previous inspection.

Inspections are conducted on a monthly basis or at 6-monthly intervals. Testing varies from general operations to overhauls at set periods.

Following the recommendations of our fire technician can be critical as replacing a faulty or worn rubber on the system can prevent a system entering into a critical defect issue. An example is when the system leaks and the jacking pump (if installed) is overwhelmed by the flow causing the main pumps to kick in (diesel or electric or a combination of both). In the case of a diesel pump these are designed to operate until all the fuel has been utilized. This alone can cause multiple issues and unnecessary run time which increases servicing requirements.

Fire hydrant systems are broken into two main groups, Above Ground (which is the most commonly system seen as stand pipes) and Below Ground. Below ground hydrants are barely noticed in Australia and mostly used by councils to supply water to the fire brigade.

Hydrant systems are usually tested annually or every five years depending on the original design and commissioning documents. Testing varies from general operations to overhauls at set periods. The most common test that the general public sees is the yearly testing when flow rates are checked to ensure water pressure meets requirements. Depending on the original system design and commissioning documents a system requirement maybe 20 Litres a second at 200 Kpa or in some cases greater. Baseline data is critical to ensure that you’re testing the system to the correct design.

Water storage tanks are a common component of fire protection systems. They’re present in a variety of residential and commercial buildings, including hotels and hospitals.

The main difference between water storage tanks used in fire protection systems and those that are designed for domestic use is the level of detail required when selecting materials, designing the tank’s internal structure, and testing the final product.

The elements that make up a water storage tank include:

-Suction inlets

-Vortex inhibitors

-Tie rods

-Fittings

-Roof supports

-Liner material

When a fire detection system isn’t maintained properly unwanted alarms can cause unwanted distractions to a business or accommodation. Utilizing a certifier in a Fire Protection Business will lower the costs of unwanted callouts by a fire service provider or the fire authority. An expert fire detection certifier understands all the aspects of what can and will affect a fire system.

Frequency, ranging from monthly, six-monthly, Yearly, Five Yearly. Fire Detection systems differ depending on the type of system as to the difficulty of the testing required. A conventional system operates in a basic manner of the alarm tripping and setting of the related feature or otherwise known as auxiliaries. Once a detector, MCP operates the Fire Warden has a zone to search to locate the fire alarm. This takes up valuable time in a fire event. These systems are normally older and kept to a similar type of environment. Addressable systems have the ability to display the exact location of the device allowing

Our special hazard systems are designed to protect your computer servers and other equipment from damage. They’re also great for protecting art, historical documents, and other irreplaceable items that could be lost in a fire.

We offer gaseous, aerosol and open nozzle water mist systems that are suitable for high-risk areas like server rooms, power stations and museums. These systems are designed to follow the manufacturer’s requirements to protect the risk. In the case of these types of facilities, this may mean protecting digital data or irreplaceable items.

Our services include inspections every month, six months or year—depending on what your needs are—as well as yearly and ten-yearly inspections when required by the manufacturer or by your working environment.

In many Australian businesses, the lay flat hose is not commonly found. However, it has its place in certain environments and types of operations. Ships and mining are two examples of locations where this type of hose may be found.

Frequency

Under AS 1851 the testing of a lay flat hose is conducted yearly, after use or when defects are suspected. Repairs are as per AS 2792 which is to follow the specific recommendations of repair by the manufacturer

A fire hose reel is a type of fire hydrant that is typically installed in environments where there is a risk of fire, such as industrial facilities, warehouses and commercial buildings. The hose reel is designed to allow firefighters to quickly access the water supply when they are called to a fire.

The most common type of hose reel is a 19mm-36m Hose Reel. Larger and longer hose reels can be installed depending on the risk and environment. For a saltwater environment a stainless steel hose reel would be required to reduce rust.

A fire hose reel requires a location sign and also instructions on the reel to operate. Nozzle locking device is required to ensure that in an emergency the first responder turns the water supply onto the hose reel before advancing toward the fire.

They are checked at six monthly marks and also for an annual test which includes a flow test. The flow test ensures that the four meter stream that a hose reel is designed to produce works under the current water pressure provided.

Portable fire extinguishers are used to put out small fires. They are classified according to the type of fire they can put out, and include water, foam, powder (dry chemical), carbon dioxide, and vaporizing types.

Reference“Knowing Your Fire Classes & Extinguishers”

Most common in modern workplaces are ABE (automatic bicarbonate extinguishers) and CO2 fire extinguishers. A food business will also have a wet chemical fire extinguisher for fat fires.

The frequency of inspection and maintenance can vary from monthly to yearly to five-yearly depending on the type of extinguisher you use. At the five-year mark when an extinguisher is due for a pressure test the common result is to replace it with a new one because it’s cheaper than refurbishing them—each extinguisher can vary depending on the build quality of the unit, however, so many manufacturers only ensure that its cylinder quality lasts five years before melting it down into a new unit.

Fire blankets are an essential piece of firefighting equipment, and they’re very handy in a variety of situations. They can be found most commonly in residential kitchens and commercial kitchens, but they’re also recommended for caravans and boats because of their versatility.

Only a six-month test is required as an annual test doesn’t exist according to AS1851. Some fire technicians utilize an annual stamp on the maintenance tag to show that they’ve attended site.

Only a number 1 stamp should be found on a fire blanket maintenance tag

Fire compartment barriers, fire doors and fire shutters, along with any service penetration, are all part of passive fire and smoke systems. Passive systems have no active means of suppression, instead relying on physical barriers to prevent the spread of fire.

This section is very technical and baseline data is critical to ensure that labour productivity is utilized efficiently. Without baseline data a Passive Fire Certifier has a lot of work to do, ensuring the fire safety of the compartment.

Frequency: Three months for sliding fire doors; six months to yearly depending on building classification.

Smoke Control Systems are a critical part of the fire engineering design. Multiple skill sets from different experts are involved in the smoke control systems. These bigger more complex systems have a Matrix that Fire Technicians must follow to ensure the system is working correctly to the fire engineer’s original design.

Normally involved are the following trades, Refrigeration Trades Person, Electrical Trades Person, Fire Technician- Certifier.

When a fire detector or MCP is activated the system will turn on and off multiple fans to control the smoke. An example is in a shopping centre with a large amount of people to evacuate. Ensure escape is possible with minimal smoke interference allows a faster escape time.

To test the fire engineer’s original design, multiple zones must be placed into fire mode to ensure correct actions by shutters, fans, damper etc operate correctly when a device has to be activated in a fire event.

Frequency Ranging from monthly, three-monthly, six-monthly, yearly (also includes 5-yearly and 25-yearly items). 25-yearly includes replacing fusible links at 20% over a fire year period.

Planning for emergency evacuations is an important part of fire safety. Most facilities will have a business continuity plan, which covers the evacuation of the building in case of an emergency.

The outcome is for controlled evacuation of facilities such as buildings, structures and workplaces.

Frequency

Six-monthly and yearly are the requirements as per AS1851. Set out in tables 14.4.2 and 14.4.3. The listing of the requirements allows for an easy to follow inspection of the business procedures to keep staff and visitors safe on their premise

Reference: “What are the 3 goals of a Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan?”

What are defect classifications and non conformance?

A critical defect is a defect that renders a system inoperative. It is classified as a critical defect if the failure of the system could result in loss of life or serious injury, or major environmental or economic damage.

An example of a critical defect would be a fire pump that fails to start both on battery systems in a high-rise building, rendering it unable to effectively fight fires. In this case, risk is high to tenants/occupiers and fire authorities. The situation must be rectified immediately.

Non-conformance is a “missing or incorrect feature that does not affect the system operation but is required to facilitate ongoing routine maintenance.” For example, if a fire detector is incorrectly located after an office wall was relocated to house a new staff member, it is still in place and will continue to operate as intended. However, this is an incorrect installation to AS1670 and must be corrected within 28 days.

Non-critical defects are those that have little or no impact on a system’s operation. Examples include the failure of a Strobe to operate on the outside of a building, or a Fire Bell’s failure to ring when it should. These types of defects are not likely to critically affect the operation of the system, but they must be addressed nonetheless.

Inspection is the visual examination of the components of a fire protection system or equipment to determine if they are in correct settings, working condition and fit for their intended use.

Preventive maintenance is a series of actions, including lubrication, cleaning, adjustment and replacement of components at regular intervals. This minimizes the likelihood of breakdowns.

Routine Service: Inspection, testing and preventative maintenance at specified intervals and durations.

Shall: Used to indicate a mandatory requirement.

Survey: A visual inspection of the fire protection system or equipment to identify if it has been damaged or compromised by changes in the occupancy, environment, or building.

Log Books

Fire Authorities and Fire Techs still communicate via systems log books. Even with the advancement of technology, and the adoption of modern systems to aid in fire detection and emergency response, there are still some important logs that must be kept. In fact, many of these logs are required by law.

The required site logbooks include:

Portable Fire Equipment

Fire Detection System

Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System (EWIS)

Smoke and Heat Alarms

Fire Doors

Fire Tanks

Special Hazard Systems

Fire Sprinklers

Fire Pumps

Fire Hydrants

Exit and Emergency Lighting (not included in AS1851 but in AS2293

Keeping your fire protection equipment in optimal condition is critical to the protection of life and property.

We can help you do that. Understanding your obligations as per AS 1851 is critical.

At Complete, we provide a range of services to help ensure that you are always in compliance with fire safety legislation.

Talk to one of our expert team today..

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