The fire protection systems include sprinklers, smoke detectors, and fire protection devices that work in tandem to protect against the fire. It provides a full range of fire protection services.
When the topic of fire protection is mentioned, one may imagine the automatic fire sprinklers and fire alarms. These are the only two of the many systems that protect a building and its occupants. For example, the accumulated smoke may cause asphyxiation, and it should also be controlled with the extractor fans. The buildings should also include measures to help the firefighters, as there are cases in which fire won’t control with sprinklers alone.
In this blog, an overview of the main components used by fire protection contractors in Australia indicates the building code section with the corresponding requirements.
1. Automatic Fire Sprinklers: It responds to the fire without the need for human intervention. TV serials and Movies had spread some wrong ideas about them like there is a belief that the sprinklers shower indoor spaces with the slightest signal of smoke. But the truth is that they operate one by one in response to heat, and in many cases, one sprinkler is good to stop the fire.
- An automatic sprinkler system for a large building may have a significant cost, but repairing the uncontrolled fire’s damage is much more expensive.
- The occupants might lose their life or suffer injuries disabling them if automatic sprinklers are not available.
2. Standpipes: They are the piping system that delivers water from the main source to hose the connections in the key locations throughout the building. The firefighters use these connections and it covers the five possible standpipe configurations:
- Automatic dry
- Manual dry
- Automatic wet
- Manual wet
- Semi-automatic dry
The standpipes are normally filled with pressurized air and water that enters the system when needed; on the other hand, wet standpipes are permanently filled with water. The automatic systems are established with the required flow by themselves, but the manual systems. The semi-automatic system needs the remote signal to activate, but it will establish the required flow by itself once it happens.
3. Fire alarm systems: The system monitors the buildings for the presence of fire, producing visual and audible signals if the fire is detected. The controlled unit receives the input from all the fire detection equipment, automatic or manual, by activating the corresponding notification systems. Besides, the fire alarms may be used to initiate adequate response measures when the fire is detected.
It is vital to note that fire alarm requirements should be shown in the 3D graphics model of the building so that the significance is understood properly.
4. Smoke control systems: Humans have the nature to avoid fire, but the hazards associated with the smoke are not a piece of common knowledge. In addition to limiting visibility, the smoke may cause poisoning if large amounts are inhaled. So, the fire protection system may handle the smoke effectively, preventing the accumulation and removing it from the building.
The smoke control systems may be mechanical or passive, and they complement each other:
- Mechanical systems use the fan to control smoke movement.
- Passive systems use the smoke barriers to limit their movement, consuming no power.
- One of the essential requirements for the smoke to be controlled is keeping the elevator shafts and staircases clear.
5. Fire command center: The codes require a fire command center in many residencies, including high-rise buildings. The fire command center is centrally located that displays the various fire protection systems like the detection devices, alarms, communication systems, etc. The 4D simulations of the building will show where to build the fire command center should have the setup. The command center also provides manual control of the systems. The main components are:
- Fire alarm controls.
- Auxiliary radio communication system (ARCS) control panel
- Elevator controls
- Post-fire smoke purge system control panel
- Smoke control system panel
- Public address system
- Manual release for automatically closing doors
6. Fire department connections: By the name, it is clear that the fire department connections are used for the hoses and pumping devices.
- They should be located where they don’t obstruct the firefighting operations, which provides the optimal coverage.
- The code requires the presence of at least one connection for every 300 feet of the exterior length of the wall.
- The special cases are covered by the code.
7. Fire pumps: It is used to establish a reliable water supply for the fire protection systems. If the fire pump has the sole purpose of supplying the water for the automatic sprinkler system, it’s considered a sprinkler booster pump.
These are expensive, but they are not mandatory for all fire protection systems. With the smart design decisions, it might be possible to avoid their usage completely while still having a reliable and code-compliant system.
8. Post-fire smoke purge: The smoke hinders visibility and is extremely dangerous if it is inhaled. By clearing the smoke in the building, it is essential to resume the operation as soon as possible once the fire is extinguished. It is precisely what post-fire smoke purge systems do to eliminate the smoke quickly after the fire.
As the post-fire smoke purge systems operate after the fire, they are not classified as the life safety system. Moreover, they are mandatory in all the occupancy groups that are indicated by the fire protection code.
9. Auxilary Radio Communication System (ARCS): The ARCS is the communication system that the firefighters use; it meets the conditions:
- Independent from the communication and electrical systems in the building
Conclusion: Fire protection contractors in Australia are in very high demand, and the associated equipment is expensive. A person may optimize the cost while ensuring compliance by working with the MEP service providing designers during the designing phase. It would lower the costs.