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Pragmatic Cooking & Shower Test

 

This test is applicable to any Class 2 or 3 building served by an Automatic Fire Detection & Alarm System required to comply with AS1670.1.
In addition to other alarm testing, and prior to the issuing of a final approval, QFES must be satisfied that the system will achieve specified performance (SPA Regs. Sch. 8).

The minimum test will include or simulate —

  • Steam produced from a four minute hot shower at maximum flow and temperature, and
  • Fumes produced from cooking a normal meal (such as steak and toast) and boiling a kettle simultaneously.
  • Tests are to be conducted with the air conditioning:
  • On and set to 24°C with all doors and windows closed, and
  • Off with doors and windows open.
  • A successful test will not activate any of the building's detectors.

Testing will be directed by the QFES Places of Public Assembly and Unwanted Alarms Unit.

An unsuccessful test will result in a non-compliant inspection from QFES.

Over recent years the facilities installed in class 3 buildings and the required systems to be installed in class 2 & 3 buildings have changed. For example the majority of Class 3 buildings now have cooking facilities installed without providing an holistic design that allows the fire detection and alarm system to discriminate between normal activities and an actual fire requiring the attendance of QFES.

The National Construction Code (NCC) allows natural ventilation of these kitchens with no requirement to install a kitchen window in a Class 3 or external extraction of the range hood/kitchen in a Class 2 or Class 3 building.  The products from cooking in a Class 3 kitchen may be vented through the living area where the smoke detector must be located. As a result unacceptably high numbers of unwanted alarms are occurring in these buildings.

The QFES has observed that the best way to deal with products from the bathrooms and kitchens is to contain the products to the area of origin through bulk heads, baffles or other building features, then remove the products by installing external extracted exhaust systems.

This will ensure that the required smoke detectors can discriminate between a fire and the normal conditions (cooking) existing within the building in accordance with AS1670.1.