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Investigating passive fire protection defects in residential multi-owned properties (in progress)

What we are doing and why

The VBA is supporting research by Deakin University through a research grant to better understand the nature and extent of defects in passive fire safety systems in apartment buildings and the rectification costs associated with remedying them.

An adequate level of fire safety requires all components of the building’s fire safety system to function in a coordinated way. While active systems such as smoke alarms and sprinklers are activated when exposed to heat, smoke and toxic gasses, passive fire protection systems don’t need to be activated manually or automatically because they are built into the structure and fixtures of the building. Passive elements include fire isolated stairways, fire-rated walls and separating floors, self-closing fire or smoke doors, door smoke seals and appropriate exit widths.

The research will review the regulatory system to identify any regulatory gaps and then recommend reforms and solutions to mitigate these types of defects.

Deakin University’s Dr Nicole Johnston is leading the research, building on previous research (PDF) about the types of defects in apartment buildings and how they impacted on buildings and their occupants.

What we have achieved so far

Due for completion in 2022, this research complements other fire safety research by the VBA including investigating how improper service penetration of fire and smoke walls can be reduced through behavioural insights.