Fire sprinklers in aged care facilities: advice for certifiers

Laws that took effect on 1 January 2013 require automatic fire sprinklers to be installed in residential aged care facilities in NSW.

Unfortunately, some certificates issued for this work have contained mistakes.

To avoid mistakes, read the advice below and follow the links to previous advice and resources from the Department of Planning and Environment.

Installing a fire sprinkler system in an existing class 3 or 9a building doesn’t make it class 9c

A residential aged care facility may be class 3, 9a or 9c under the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Class 9c buildings were introduced into the BCA in 2002 with associated deemed-to-satisfy provisions including fire sprinkler protection (clause E1.5).

Accordingly, existing aged care buildings which are not sprinkler protected should not be class 9c buildings. Also, aged care buildings erected before2002 would not be class 9c unless a development consent had subsequently changed the building classification.

Fire safety schedules must correctly reference all relevant standards

A fire safety schedule must be issued with a construction certificate or complying development certificate to install a fire sprinkler system in an aged care facility.

The fire safety schedule must include everything required by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 and correctly reference all performance standards including the:

  • relevant Australian Standard (e.g. AS 2118.6 - 2012 combined sprinkler and hydrant system)
  • Fire Sprinkler Standard dated December 2013 (Department of Planning and Environment) – note this replaces the version dated 18 December 2012.

Other building works required by the Fire Sprinkler Standard should also be listed in the fire safety schedule together with their location and standard of performance.