Tecair specialises in annual testing of fire and smoke dampers as they are often located in the HVAC system and we have the knowledge, tools and skill set to easily access these areas and perform the required test. We generate the required report that, in part, allows the building owner to issue your Annual Fire Safety Statement.
The relevant Australian Standard for testing dampers is ‘AS1851 – 2012. Sect. 13 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment’ which Tecair meets. Our inspectors are 3rd party trained and accredited.
An important part of the standard is providing adequate access for maintenance. This raises the important standards for installation being the overriding State Construction Legislation that will reference BCA volumes 1, 2 & 3 (issued in 2016 and due for review every 3 years). BCA A1.3 references Australian Standards including ‘AS/NZS 1668.1 – 2015 The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings, fire and smoke control in buildings’ which in turn references ‘AS1682.1 – 2015 Fire, smoke and air dampers Part 1: Specification’ and ‘AS1682.2 – 2015 Fire, smoke and air dampers installation’. It is AS1682.1 part 1 that references AS1851 for maintenance.
Fire Dampers are a critical part of a buildings safety as they assist in the compartmentalisation of fire areas in a building. They are often located in the HVAC ductwork and their purpose is to block the spread of a fire, in effect closing off the duct at a firewall so they work as part of a larger fire system.
As dampers are seldom seen, there can be a tendency to underestimate their importance and as such, some service companies will rush a visual inspection knowing it is unlikely anyone will ever inspect their inspection. Dampers can be subject to poor installation, corrosion, blockages and impediments, cumulative dust, microbial growth and mechanical failure. As such, the inspections every 5 years are more important than you at first might think. Tecair takes its inspection obligations seriously and has developed a checklist that includes taking pictures so there is a higher quality of inspection and record. In summary, our checklist also looks at labels, wall penetrations and gaps and packing, operation of the flaps, check for obstructions, connections, the duct and state of fusible link,
Fire Dampers can be automated but typically there are four mechanical types activated by a fusible thermal link. The types of mechanical fire dampers being Curtain, Single Blade, Multi Blade and Ceiling. As part of the building owners fire safety statement you are required to test 20% per year (AS1851) so you effectively test the functionality of all Fire Dampers in your building over a five year period.
A new development in Fire Dampers are Intumescent Fire Dampers. These act by expanding mechanically under heat. As they are a mesh or slat shape, they are not typically yet used in fan forced ducts. They still need to be accessible for inspection and potentially cleaning.
Typically automated and connected to your fire alarm system, they are similar in appearance to Fire Dampers and have plastic or rubber seals.
Are able to operate as both types, so require the same installation and servicing tests as for each.
Common for kitchen exhausts. Not required to be tested or included in your annual fire safety statements if they are not part of a smoke spill system. That said, you should maintain it as with any other mechanical part – particularly in relation to your duct cleaning. An inoperative Air Damper can be a big problem if it encumbers your exhaust system. *Note there can be variations by state and Australian Standards and BCA codes are subject to change so do not rely on this information as advice.