Sprinkler ruling after fatal blaze

NEW residential apartment buildings above three storeys, must now have automatic sprinkler systems to protect lives and property following improvements to the National Construction Code.

Minister for Emergency Services, David Elliott, said the changes would improve the safety of occupants in shared residential buildings up to 25 metres.
“Sprinkler systems have been used to protect lives and property in high-rise residential, industrial and commercial buildings for a very long time,” Mr Elliott said.
“Our focus remains on prevention; however, in the event of a fire, residential sprinklers help control it and provide improved protection against fatalities, injuries and damage.
“They can often mean the difference between a minor incident and a major tragedy.”
The change comes following the fatal 2012 fire in a Bankstown apartment block that was not required to have sprinklers installed.
FRNSW Commissioner and Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC) President Paul Baxter said FRNSW’s extensive research revealed stronger measures were needed to ensure best practice fire safety prevention in shared residential buildings.
“Residential sprinkler systems can contain at least 90 per cent of fires to the room of origin, preventing it from spreading to other rooms and potentially extinguishing the fire and inhibiting the spread of lethal smoke,” Mr Baxter said.