Culture and heritage

Heritage

Fire, access and services

Heritage buildings and technical requirements

The best way to ensure that a heritage building survives for future generations is for it to be used. Yet historic buildings were not designed with modern requirements for access, fire safety and building services in mind. In fact, some of our oldest buildings predate the existence of any formal building regulations in Australia.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requires that all public buildings be accessible to people with disabilities. Fire safety standards - ensuring that people can evacuate the building or fight a fire - are the responsibility of both building owners and statutory authorities. Nearly all heritage buildings are affected.

Our expectations of comfort and contemporary standards also result in the need for new services such as air conditioning, lighting lifts, computer and telecommunication equipment to be introduced into existing buildings.

Building Code of Australia and the Disaility Discrimination Act (bcadda.pdf, 72KB) and how they relate to heritage buildings.

How we can help

FASAP: What we do

FASAP is an expert panel which provides advice on the latest thinking on fire safety, access, services and occupational health issues. FASAP helps government agencies, local councils and property owners to achieve acceptable compliance with modern building standards while retaining the heritage significance of places. Download the Terms of Reference (fasapterms.pdf, 6KB) for further details of FASAPs role and membership.

Who is on FASAP?

FASAP consists of specialists with expertise in fire access and services issues. Members of FASAP include conservation architects, fire safety engineers and experts with links to government departments, professional associations and the heritage profession.

FASAP members (fasapmembers.pdf, 21KB) full list of members.

Resources

The Heritage Branch has produced a list of resources to help those seeking advice on fire safety, accesses and services.

FASAP resource list (fasapresources.pdf, 94KB)

Applying to the FASAP panel for formal advice

One function of the Fire, Access and Services Advisory Panel is to provide formal advice to government agencies, local councils and property owners on ways of achieving acceptable compliance with modern building standards while retaining the heritage significance of places. Find out how to apply and to download an application form.

Fire safety and building code consultants

The Heritage Branch is frequently asked about how to seek the appropriate consultants for fire or building code upgrading. The following contacts may be of assistance. Enquiries about past experience on heritage-listed properties should be made before engagement.

Accredited fire safety engineers

The Building Professionals Board
Administers the NSW Building Surveyors and Allied Professions Scheme (BSAP)
Level 3, Macquarie Tower, 10 Valentine Avenue
Parramatta NSW 2150
Phone: (02) 9895 5950
www.bpb.nsw.gov.au/

Institute of Engineers, Australia
Eagle House, Level 1, 118 Alfred Street
North Sydney NSW 2061
Ph: (02) 8923 7100
www.ieaust.org.au 

Accredited building surveyors

The Building Professionals Board
Administers the NSW Building Surveyors and Allied Professions Scheme (BSAP)
Level 3, Macquarie Tower, 10 Valentine Avenue
Parramatta NSW 2150
Phone: (02) 9895 5950
www.bpb.nsw.gov.au

Institute of Engineers, Australia
Eagle House, Level 1, 118 Alfred Street
North Sydney NSW 2061
Ph: (02) 8923 7100
www.ieaust.org.au

Planning Institute of Australia
PO Box 879
Broadway NSW 2007
Ph: (02) 9280 2121
www.planning.org.au

Technical notes

Upgrading the fire resistance of timber panelled doors

This bulletin provides information on materials required for a method of upgrading timber panelled doors, commonly called "the Heritage Door Kit", and explains the installation process.

The method was initially developed to retain all original door fabric in types of buildings where fire upgrading is often required, including, but not necessarily limited to boarding houses, hotels, and strata units which contain sleeping accommodation. It has since been implemented in many other types of buildings.

Trafalgar Building Products (formerly Tyco Building Products) acted as consultants to the Heritage Council of NSW and assisted in developing the method which has been tested in accordance with Australia Standard AS 1530 Part 4.

The method will overcome one of the most detrimental effects on older buildings of orders given under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, commonly known as "fire orders". Fire orders, in the past, often required the replacement of all timber panelled doors with solid core doors.

The substitution of original panelled doors with these flush-face doors diminishes the significance of the building and destroys the qualities of entrance lobbies, staircases and hallways which commonly have several doors leading from them.

While the timber panelled door treated with this upgrading method achieved a fire resistance of 28 minutes, a standard solid core door (previously seen as safer) achieved only 14 minutes in the same test. The system does not alter the external (corridor side) appearance of the door. Implementation of the upgrading should be carried out by experienced tradespeople.

The door kit is available from:

Fire Systems Engineering Pty Ltd
PO Box 863
Brookvale NSW 2100
(02) 9905 8222
http://spdoors.com.au/

The above bulletin was reviewed by the Heritage Council's Fire, Access and Services Advisory Panel, 20th February 2002.

Fire resistance of ceiling / floor systems in heritage buildings

Technical information sheet (fasapceilings.pdf, 153KB) on methods to keep ceilings in heritage buildings when local councils require them to be upgraded to resist fire. Information prepared by the Fire, Access & Services Panel in 1994, and revised 2003.

Emergency structural assessment of heritage items

Local councils and owners are sometimes faced with having to make quick decisions about the structural adequacy of a heritage listed structure following events like fires.This statement provides guidance and advice on how this assessment should be managed.

Emergency Structural Assessment of Heritage Items (EmergencyStructuralAssessHeritageItems.pdf, 41KB)

For further information please contact Heritage Branch at heritage@heritage.nsw.gov.au

Page last updated: 29 January 2015