Does a fire control centre need its own room?

2017 NCC Information Seminars

The 2017 NCC Information Seminars included a presentation on ‘Does a fire control centre need its own room?’ as part 4 of the 13 part BCA sessions delivered throughout February and March 2017.


Does a fire control centre need its own room?

Does the fire control centre need its own room?

We're talking about buildings between 25 metres and 50 metres in effective height, because of course, once we get over that 50, you do need a room.

Fire control centres are required by E1.8 in Volume One, and there's further provisions in specification E1.8.

And your fire control centre, it has its fire indicator panel, the fan controls and anything else needed for that particular building.

Do we need to put it in its own room?

We go to E1.8

We notice that fire control centre is required in buildings over 25 metres effective height, and also in, six, seven, eight or nine buildings over 18,000 square metres.

So it could be a big shopping center, massive warehouse and of course, hospitals and things like that.

And as I alluded to before, we've got two tiers.

We've got the tier from 25 to 50 metres effective height and then beyond the 50 metres effective height is when we have to construct an actual fire control room.

And we have the provisions there about its fire rating etc to enable brigade operations in those large buildings which have extra hazard.

But if I'm less than that 50 metres in effective height?

Do I have to put the fire control centre in its own room?

For instance, can I put it in the lobby of the building?

Can I put it in the lobby?

Well, we've given this some thought, and at the ABCB,

We think the answer is ....maybe.

Maybe you can put it in the lobby.

Let's have a look what we need to achieve.

Under (a), we need to have an area from which firefighting operations can be directed, but under (b), oh sorry, under (b), we've got the control panels etc that's needed for that building.

But under (c), the fire control centre, less than 50 metres, must not be used for any other purpose than firefighting activities or other measures concerning occupant safety or security.

And this is where we need to apply some judgment, isn't it?

If the fire control centre is in its own room, no question.

It's an area which is purely for the fire brigade activities.

If the fire control centre is in the guard's room, the security guard's room, and that meets these requirements as well, fine.

But an area's use isn't necessarily defined by walls, is it?

It helps. It makes our job as certifiers and designers and practitioners easily.

But we understand that an area's use isn't defined by its walls.

You've got your open plan living areas.

There's all these open plan areas.

A wall isn't going to necessarily be used to set apart what an area's use is.

And this provision here is not requiring walls to be used so we just have to consider and apply some judgment as if that area is used for anything besides fire brigade operations.

So, looking at this layout, let's practice a little bit of judgment application.

Does this fire control centre as proposed meet the requirements that the area is purely for fire brigade operation?

Any volunteers?

Would you acccept this?

No, I wouldn't accept that because that couldn't be said that the fire control centre is an area used only for brigade operations.

There's plenty of occupant movement because that Lobby is so narrow, hard to get it through.

Where would we put it?

Well, I think this one would need a redesign in order to get either a room or an area off to the side.

Now we have to keep in mind also there's other provisions in AS 1670 about where your panel can go.

Those are concurrent requirements which must apply also, but use some judgment and figure out if you can put it into the lobby.

Maybe. Not this one.

But put it in an area which isn't used for anything besides brigade operations.

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