Flat Chat Strata Forum Living in strata Current Page

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  • #60454
    WMB
    Flatchatter

    I am in a block of 27. In 2018 we had a well known company install new fire doors. We have annual inspections of fire alarms and doors by the same company. 2019 they reported lots of problems which we argued they should fix as the same company inspecting installed the doors. 2020 there were no problems. This year nearly every apartment is non compliant. Most doors (they say) do not have ‘tags’ or the ‘tags are painted’. Have spoken to residents and no one has touched them or indeed know what a tag is. I certainly have not touched my door. Also most alarms are non compliant. The inspector told me mine was fine but in the report it failed liked most of the others. Also claims that I need a second alarm installed less than 2 metres from the existing fire alarm. Have the rules changed that this is suddenly required. The annual ‘shifting’ as to what passes and what does not makes a mockery of the laws. Is there a body I can contact that oversees the fire regulations?

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  • #60478
    Quirky
    Flatchatter

    This is not uncommon – certifiers are no longer employed by government bodies, but are private companies, being paid by the body requesting the certification. There is an unfortunate tendency to find whatever best suits the body paying for the job – or some certifiers will strictly follow the law and provide a complete report. And also the laws are sometimes unclear and two competent certifiers will come to different conclusions because they have different interpretations of the law.

    From your description, I’d guess that having the same company certify the fire doors as installed them was a mistake. On fire doors, there must be a “tag” or compliance plate, fixed to the door – it’s normally on the edge of the door near the hinges. A missing or hidden (ie, painted over) plate means the door needs to be re-certified (expensive) or replaced (expensive). Sometimes the doors are provided with the right tag, but after installation, the owners corporation has them painted to match the building’s décor – and painters often don’t realise the compliance plates must never be hidden. If that’s happened, then a razor blade to very carefully scrape the paint off the tag might be a good thing to try (as long as it doesn’t damage the printing on the plate or make it seem to have been tampered with.)

    The rules about locating the smoke detectors are complicated and open to different interpretations. In our building smoke detectors that were installed by a reputable fire safety company were faulted at a later inspection – the interpretation of the rules had changed – the government had cracked down on the rules, because of injuries and coroner’s reports. It happens. The main thing with fire regulations is safety – better to comply strictly than to regret the corner cutting when you are choking in a smoke filled apartment…

    The practical approach is to have another, second,  company do a compliance check, and to provide a written report to the owners corporation. I’d be concerned that the existing report does not detail the problems, and perhaps you should request the company that produced the report to put all the problems in writing. If they were the ones that did the work to install the doors and alarms, then there may be a reason why they are reluctant to do this? Anyway a second opinion should resolve  or clarify the issues, and then you need to resolve them. If the original company is negligent then consult a lawyer about taking action against them. But if the painting of the doors was a separate task, then the strata committee that allowed the fire doors to be wrongly painted would be a fault. And the rules about locating smoke detectors (and the right type allowed) seems to have been tightened up in recent times, so that may just be that it’s something you need to live with.

    #60487
    WMB
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thank you Quirky. Is there a body that oversees the Fire Regulation in strata? The company says ‘the rules have changed’ so I can ask them for a copy of those changes and see if they are willing to provide them.

    #60560
    optusJo
    Flatchatter

    I wonder how effective the law/suggestion to strata managers and fire safety companies would be that the “finder of problems” cannot be the “fixer of problems found”.

    Given that most Strata Companies now have some files on their websites – it would make sense to insist that all reports are kept there.

     

     

    #60562
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I wonder how effective the law/suggestion to strata managers and fire safety companies would be that the “finder of problems” cannot be the “fixer of problems found”.

    Sounds good in theory , but we know it would take a five-minute phone call between dodgy inspectors to organise mutual back-scratching.

    #60574
    WMB
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    I wonder how effective the law/suggestion to strata managers and fire safety companies would be that the “finder of problems” cannot be the “fixer of problems found”.

    That does sound good but as Jimmy T says they would probably find a way around it. I know the laws around Fire compliance are essential but it just seems it depends who does the report as to what is highlighted.

    Maybe a form with the key items listed that is reported on year by year (the same form) no matter which company does the inspection. If the rules are clear for compliance it should not be a problem.

    #61971
    JT
    Flatchatter

    All fire rated doors are required to have a tag on the door (hinge side) and also on the door frame (adjacent to the door tag) & the information consists of the manufacturer (or importer), year of manufacture & applicable standard/s the door & frame comply with.

    A painted tag can have the paint removed & if the data is readable, the tag is OK. Otherwise the door has to be assessed by a specialist & a new tag attached, which has the assessor’s details & date of assessment.

    There are limits on the allowable gaps between door & frame (3mm) & the bottom of the door (10mm).

    If a gap is more than 3mm & less than 6mm, intumescent seals can be fitted to the door for compliance & if more than 6mm, the door must be replaced.

    Legislation introduced by the NSW government on July 1, 2020 requires all fire safety measure to be certified by a Fire Safety Assessor (FSA) & if the FSA signs off on defects & it is found during an audit of the FSA’s work, the FSA can lose their accreditation.

    As a result, FSAs are not as lenient as has previously been the case.

    FYI, council certifiers haven’t inspected new buildings since 2000 & have never inspected existing buildings, unless someone made a complaint, council visit & may issue a Fire Safety Order.

    JT – CFSP/FSA

     

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