Passive Fire Protection

Passive Fire measures are designed to stop (or slow) the spread of fire from one part of the building to another. Most buildings have Passive Fire protection measures – even if they are not specifically listed on the AFSS.

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Emergency Lights

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.

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Safe Passage Fire Exit

Paths of Travel

Maintaining exits, and clear paths of travel to exits is critical in ensuring occupants can escape in the event of an emergency. So what are the requirements?

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Fire Sprinkler

Fire Sprinklers

Fire sprinklers are a highly effective method of fire suppression. But in order for them to operate effectively they need to have adequate clearance and coverage. We’ll explore some of the common issues we see with sprinklers in residential strata buildings.

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Soft Touch Door Closers

Fire doors must be able to self-close and self-latch after every opening, which is why it is mandatory for fire doors to have closers. Are you finding that your closer is making your fire door feel so heavy that you can barely open it? There is a solution!

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Hoarding & Fire Safety

Hoarding is a condition
where a person has persistent difficulty discarding personal possessions. It is well recognized that hoarding behaviour increases the risk of fire. So what can be done? And can the fire safety technician do anything at an annual inspection?

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New residential tenancy laws come into effect on 23 March 2020.


Landlords & Agents must ensure:

  • Checks are carried out annually to ensure smoke alarm is working (cl 42.2 of Schedule 1 Standard Form Agreement).
  • Smoke alarm batteries are replaced every year, or for lithium batteries, in the period specified by the manufacturer (cl 20b).
  • Smoke alarms are replaced within 10 years of manufacture (cl 20a).
  • Defective smoke alarms are repaired or replaced within 2 business days (cl 14), although an exemption is granted if the residence is a lot in a strata scheme AND the smoke alarm is hardwired or battery-operated but the OC is responsible for it.
  • At least 2 business days’ notice is given to inspect smoke alarms, and at least 1 hours’ notice to repair or replace a smoke alarm (cl 13).

Tenants must notify their landlord or agent:

  • If they discover that a smoke alarm is not working (this includes when the battery needs to be changed) (cl 43.1 of Schedule 1 Standard Form Agreement)..
  • When they change a battery in a smoke alarm or engage a licensed electrician to repair or replace an alarm (cl 15.2)

Responsibilities in strata blocks

Civil Fire's role

Civil Fire is engaged by the Owners Corporation to fulfil building owner responsibilities under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation. 

Civil Fire is not – by default – engaged to fulfil owners obligations under the Residential Tenancy Regulation. Whilst we inspect smoke alarms annually, we DO NOT change batteries in smoke alarms (unless a specific agreement is in place), and we do not issue certificates of compliance for individual units following an inspection unless we are engaged by the Owner or the Owners Agent to do so.

Engaging Civil Fire

For $75 + GST an Owner or Owner’s Agent can engage Civil Fire to change the removeable battery in the smoke alarm during the annual inspection, and provide a certificate of compliance (any defects found with the smoke alarm will require rectification before the certificate is issued). 

To engage Civil Fire for this service, please fill out the below form. Once we receive your request, we’ll send you an invoice. Payment will be required in advance of the inspection.

Dedicated smoke alarm inspectors

Landlords & Agents may choose to engage a dedicated smoke alarm inspector (E.g. Detector Inspection, or Smoke Alarms Australia) to fulfil their specific obligations under this legislation.

Even if a dedicated smoke alarm inspector is engaged, Civil Fire is still required to inspect required smoke alarms inside the residential units for the purpose of providing an AFSS. Unfortunately for the tenants, this means that 2 smoke alarm inspections are required each year.

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