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A Complete Guide To Fire Curtain Requirements

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

What is a Fire Curtain?

Fire curtains are fire protection barriers that are specially designed to compartmentalize a building and slow down the spread of fire. Most of the time fire curtains remain inconspicuous in their non-activated state. When triggered by a fire alarm or other signal, they roll out of their headbox.

Along with other fire protection technology such as fire doors, fire rated windows, and alarm systems, fire-rated curtains play an important role in protecting building occupants in the case of a fire. They help create safe passageways for people to evacuate and slow down the spread of fire until the fire brigade arrives.

A guide to fire curtain requirements

Fire Curtain Requirements in Australia

Buildings in Australia are required to meet the fire safety standards contained in the Building Code of Australia. Specifically, commercial buildings must comply with AS4072.1 and AS1530.4.

The particular fire rated requirements for commercial projects depend on the type of building. For example, office buildings may have different requirements for retail buildings and restaurants.

Fire curtains and other fire-rated elements are assigned a Fire Resistance Level (FRL) according to the Building Code of Australia. The FRL indicates how effective a fire curtain is at withstanding fire under test conditions.

For example, a fire curtain may be given an FRL of -/60/60. These numbers refer to structural adequacy/integrity/insulation.

They are not structural building elements and so they are not given a number for structural adequacy. Integrity refers to how well the fire curtain prevents the spread of flames and hot gases. Insulation refers to how long the curtain can prevent the spread of fire due to heat transfer.

Maintenance Requirements for Fire Curtains

A key part of fire safety compliance is ongoing maintenance. In most cases, inspections should be conducted annually or more frequently to ensure the curtains remain compliant and perform effectively.

Inspections should be carried out by a trained professional and should involve checking for obstructions, assessing the curtain’s performance, and conducting any maintenance necessary.

Benefits of Fire Curtains

Advanced fire curtains, like the ones we supply at Australian Fire Control, offer a high level of safety while not disrupting the design and layout of the building.

Designed for Modern Spaces

Modern office spaces and other commercial buildings often have an open-plan design. Fire curtains can be used to compartmentalize large open spaces and ensure the building meets relevant regulations.

Unobtrusive Design

In their unactivated state, fire curtains are unobtrusive, blending in seamlessly with modern and attractive building designs.

Safe Operation

Fire curtains are powered by a motor, supported by battery backup. This allows for a controlled and safe deployment that will not endanger the occupants below.

Superior Performance

Unlike more traditional systems, fire-rated curtains don’t require sprinklers to operate. Through rigorous testing, they have proven to offer high performance while meeting the National Construction Code (NCC) requirements.

Types of Fire Curtains

There are different varieties of fire curtains available to cater to specific needs. Australian Fire Control offers a selection of fire curtains that undergo rigorous testing to meet Australian standards. Our fire curtain range includes vertical, horizontal, accordion, and boundary curtains, suitable for both large and small openings.

Vertical Fire Curtains

Vertical fire curtains are well-suited for expansive, open building designs where permanent fire-rated partitions are not desired. The setup comprises a fire-resistant fibreglass fabric rolled around a roller and enclosed in a compact head box typically installed above the ceiling. In the event of a fire, the vertical fire curtain is activated by a general fire alarm or local detector. The curtain descends from the overhead box, creating a physical barrier to halt the spread of fire and smoke. At AFC, our vertical fire curtains are designed to descend without requiring power.

Horizontal Fire Curtains

Horizontal fire curtains are suitable for situations that necessitate a curtain deploying horizontally. They are made from woven fibreglass, wire-reinforced fabric with individual panels stitched and hemmed using stainless steel thread. The fabric is rolled on a motorised roller within a steel head-box. The head-box is compact and discreet. Upon receiving a signal from a fire alarm or local detector, the horizontal fire curtain is deployed, forming a physical barrier against fire and smoke. Slim steel side guides prevent the system from derailing, and in case of a power outage, a backup power system operates the system.

Accordion Fire Curtains

Accordion fire curtains are specifically designed to deliver optimal performance in spaces with limited room. Unlike traditional vertical fire curtains, accordion fire curtains do not rely on column support, and in some cases, side guards are unnecessary as well. The assembly includes a fire-resistant fabric stacked within a compact and inconspicuous head box. In its retracted position, the accordion fire curtain and head box remain virtually invisible. Upon receiving a signal from a fire alarm or local detector, the curtain descends at a controlled speed and provides resistance for up to 180 minutes.

Boundary Fire Curtains

Boundary curtains are fusible link fire curtains that operate without the need for electrical power. They are ideal for smaller openings and feature an ultra-slim and inconspicuous design. Boundary fire curtains can also be retrofitted over existing windows, if necessary.

Residential Fire Curtains

Fire curtains can be installed in residential buildings and homes but must comply with current building control regulations. Thanks to the minimalist and unobtrusive design, residential options do not detract from the aesthetic of domestic spaces. They can also be powder coated to match the existing color scheme and design.

Where to Buy Fire-Rated Products?

When it comes to fire safety, don’t settle for less. At Australian Fire Control, we know how important it is to meet regulations and provide the highest quality protection for a building and its occupants. We offer a wide range of fire-rated systems that are certified to Australian Standards and have undergone rigorous international and local testing.

For more information about our range of fire-rated products, get in touch today at 1300 266 820.

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