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 Fire safety in residential care buildings

A residential care building (RCB) is one that has 6 or more residents, and where at least 10% of residents need help to conduct their daily activities and to evacuate the building during an emergency.

Residents needing help may have physical, sensory, psychological or intellectual impairment.

A RCB is generally an aged care facility or nursing home, but is not a hospital.

New residential care buildings

All new RCBs must comply with  Queensland Development Code Mandatory Part 2.2—Fire Safety in Residential Care Buildings.

Requirements include:

  • a life safety sprinkler system
  • building-wide smoke detection systems
  • minimum carer-to-resident support ratio across smoke compartments
  • effective evacuation procedures.

Existing residential care buildings

Existing RCBs (approved or built before 1 June 2007) have different requirements.

Buildings with a higher fire risk will have already been made compliant with QDC MP 2.3—Fire Safety in Existing Residential Care Buildings. Remaining buildings will need to comply by 1 September 2016.

Requirements depend on the type of building, but can include:

  • sprinklers
  • fire safety management plans
  • a minimum carer-to-resident support ratio
  • a combination of fire safety management practices.

Compliance

All new RCBs will have been built to comply with QDC MP 2.2—Fire Safety in Residential Care Buildings.

All RCBs approved or built before 1 June 2007 had to be assessed against QDC MP 2.3—Fire Safety in Existing Residential Care Buildings by 1 March 2012.

This assessment identified:

  • the fire safety risk category of the RCB
  • whether the RCB complies with the QDC (and if it does not comply, the way in which it does not comply).

 View the assessment results (PDF, 246KB).

A building's fire safety risk category is based on the number of storeys and the type of construction:

  • Category 1—multi-storey buildings with non-fire resistant building materials
  • Category 2—single storey buildings and buildings with fire resistant construction materials.

Category 1 Buildings will have now been made compliant. Category 2 buildings must be compliant by 1 September 2016.

Extensions on compliance timeframe

Owners can request an extension of up to 12 months from their local council.

Extensions will only be considered if the work to achieve compliance would cause undue hardship to residents if an extension were refused.

Maintenance of fire safety installations

Building fire safety maintenance standards are outlined in QDC MP 6.1—Maintenance of fire safety installations

The code applies to all buildings other than class 1a (houses and townhouses) and class 10a (e.g. garage) buildings.

The code sets:

  • maintenance standards for prescribed fire safety installations under the Building Act 1975, such as
    • sprinklers
    • fire hydrants
    • emergency lifts
    • fire detection and alarm systems.
  • requirements to keep maintenance records, so occupiers, local government or the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service can check compliance with the QDC.

More information

View the:



Last updated 14 June 2016    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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