Can I install downlights, ducted air conditioning, ceiling exhaust fans or manholes in my unit ceiling?
Well yes… but you need to be very careful if your ceiling designed to have a “resistance to the incipient spread of fire to the roof space for a period of not less than 60 minutes”.
Fire rated ceilings are an fire safety measure, designed to slow the spread of fire from one part of the building to another.
In an emergency situation emergency lights should run on their backup battery for at least 90-minutes. Australian Standards require that exit & emergency lights be tested every 6 months. Exit and emergency lights have a shorter lifespan when compared to non-emergency lights.
Smart locks and fire doors
Technology is seeping in to every aspect of our lives – and door locks are no different.
Smart locks have many benefits – they can be reconfigured on demand (no need for re-keying), the resident can generate a log of when the door was accessed, different keys can be generated for the same lock, so a homeowner can tell when each member of the family came in, or when the cleaner arrived.
But can these locks be installed on fire doors? As with just about everything in the fire protection industry, the answer is not a simple yes or no…
Modifications to fire doors should NOT be made without written approval
First things first, owners & residents should not make any modifications to their fire door without seeking written approval from the Owners Corporation. Unit entry doors (fire doors) are not owned by the owner of the unit.
Fire door approved hardware logs
Any hardware that is installed on a fire door must be tested & approved for use on that particular type of fire door.
The fire resistance level of a doorset requires the door hardware to be of the same fire resistance level or higher.
The fire resistance level of an item of door hardware is obtained from a fire test or an assessment by a recognised
testing authority in Australia in accordance to the standard AS/NZS 1905 Part 1.
Door hardware can only be used on the type of fire door it has been test & approved for – once you know the type of door you have installed, you can ask the manufacturer for the approved hardware log.
You will usually be able to determine the type of fire door from the fire door tag. The example below shows a FIRE CORE type door. Once you know this, you can ask the manufacturer for a copy of the approved hardware log.
Only if that particular lock is listed on the approved hardware log can it be installed.
A snippet of the approved hardware log for ‘ECORE’ type doors is shown below.
Evidence of compliance
When a Civil Fire technician comes across a smart/electronic lock installed on a fire door, our policy is to ask the resident/owner to supply evidence of compliance.
Evidence is usually provided in the form of a test assessment report (excerpt below), or an approved hardware log. Once we have this information, we can determine if the lockset is approved for use on the fire door. If the lock is not approved for use, it will need to be removed & replaced with a compliant lockset.
Unfortunately, with so many electronic / digital locks now available, it is not possible for us to keep track of what locks are approved for use with what type of fire doors.
Before you decide to install an electronic lock, you need to obtain written approval from the Owners Corporation.
You should confirm that the electronic lock you have chosen is approved for use with the type of fire door installed on your unit.
Electronic locks should be installed as per the manufacture specifications – our recommendation would be for a licensed locksmith to complete the installation.
In our experience the Kaba E-Flash Fire Rated Electronic Lockset is compatible with most types of fire doors.
I don’t think we’ve had contractors come through before who were so clean and tidy, helpful and responsive with ideas about how to better maintain the heritage and be compliant and generally respectful of the property.
He was so thoughtful, he stopped the really noisy part of the repair so I could answer calls. I went out at lunch, and he was on his hands and knees washing the floor in the entry because he’d brought in some debris from the street.
People are very quick to complain but slow to compliment so I just wanted to say thank you for your prompt service.