Automatic Fire Alarm and Detection System

The Building Code of Australia in Clause E2.2 General Requirements and clause G3.8 Fire and smoke control systems, specify the installation of automatic fire detection and alarm systems in buildings. Automatic fire detection systems ultimately are nominated as essential safety measures by a building surveyor/ building certifier in an essential safety measures schedule/ determination.

Part E2 Smoke Hazard Management and Part G3 Atrium Construction, set out the requirements for when an automatic fire detection and alarm systems are to be installed in a building under a building permit relevant to automatic fire detection.

Specification E2.2a Smoke Detection and Alarm Systems in particular contain two clauses:

  • Clause 3 Smoke alarm system, which nominates smoke alarms to comply with AS 3786-1993 Smoke alarms, and
  • Clause 4 Smoke detection system, which nominates a smoke detection system to comply with AS 1670.1-2004 Fire detection warning, control and intercom systems – System design, installation commissioning – Fire.

Most fire detection and alarm systems operate on the same basic principles. If a fire is detected, then an alarm is triggered. This warns building managers and occupants that there may be a fire and that evacuation may be necessary. Some systems include remote signalling equipment which can alert the fire brigade or a remote monitoring centre.

Fire can be detected by; heat detectors, flame detectors, smoke detectorscarbon monoxide detectors and multi sensor detectors, or an alarm can be triggered at manual call points. Two power supplies are required, generally a mains supply and batteries providing 24 hours back up.

Single station residential smoke alarms, as installed in most homes, are the simplest system for detecting a fire and warning the building occupants.

The time between the outbreak of fire and the commencement of fire-fighting is the single most important factor in fire control and can be effectively reduced by having the system monitored directly by the fire service.

Fire alarm systems must be heard by the building occupants in all parts of the building. To achieve this, they are often connected to occupant evacuation warning and intercommunication systems which sound a defined ‘beep – beep – beep’ throughout the building when the detection system has been activated.

Sometimes these systems automatically close smoke and fire doors, operate flashing warning lights, stop air-conditioning systems or alert critical staff via personal pagers. Today these systems extensively rely upon computer systems and are changing at the same rapid pace as is computer technology. Today’s systems can be “intelligent” defining exactly where the fire is, determining if the smoke is from a fire threat or just burnt toast and advising the maintenance manager when the detector needs cleaning or other routine maintenance work is required.

FSP engineers can design your automatic fire alarm and detection system to the following Australia Standards:

  • AS/NZS 1670.3:2004 –  Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – System design, installation and commissioning Fire alarm monitoring
  • AS/NZS 1668.1:2015 – The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings
  • AS 3786:2004 – Smoke alarms using scattered light, transmitted light or ionization
  • AS 1670.1: 2015 – Fire Detection, Warning, Control and Intercom Systems – System Design, Installation and Commissioning – Fire