Is your high-rise building fire safe?

In terms of fire safety, high rise buildings present several unique challenges not found in low-rise buildings. Longer exiting times, mass evacuation, fire brigade accessibility, smoke control and spread of fire are all necessary factors to be considered to minimise the risk to occupants, and the costs to building owners. Growing cities, such as Perth, eventually experience the forces that encourage developers and town planners to build higher and higher. As this occurs, the assessment of building materials becomes more complex and the role of the Building Certifier far more onerous. Fire resistant walls, and indeed floors, each play a huge part in controlling the spread of fire and resisting collapse as a result of fire.

Resisting Fire

  • External Walls: Constructed to limit the spread of flames between storeys.
  • Spandrel Walls: Vertical separation of glazed openings.
  • Intertenancy & Common Walls: Separation of apartments, hotel rooms and common areas providing both fire and acoustic performance.
  • Floors: Separation of tenancies from above and below.
  • Service Shaft Walls: Shafts extending to great heights providing controlled air tightness to avoid accelerating the spread of flame.
  • Fire Stairs: Provide safe routes for evacuation.
  • Scissor Stairs: Least amount of space for two means of egress but shared walls need a 2 hour fire rating.

Compliance and Certification

Fire resistant materials are necessary to insulate and create fire barriers, and the method of the build needs to be fully tested to meet the highest Australian standards. Materials arriving from countries, with lesser controls, may offer attractive economic alternatives for industry specifiers, however this may pose a risk as they fall short of compliance.

Australian manufacturer, CSR, has been developing and testing building systems for many years to meet stringent government fire controls. One of their products is HEBEL, a lightweight steel reinforced, aerated autoclaved concrete (AAC) panel, which has been fully tested and used extensively in the Eastern States for high-rise developments for over 30 years. In 2016, AAC panels were introduced into the NCC as a ‘deemed to satisfy’ building material, in its own right, which has since assisted in raising local awareness of the benefits of Hebel to all building sectors. Hebel is a well-proven system.

Why Hebel?

  • CSR offers systems that are fully tested and certified (CSIRO and Exova Fire Test Laboratory tested) up to 4800mm maximum wall height, and up to FRL -/240/240
  • Non-combustible material
  • Panels for intertenancy, corridor and shaft walls are tongue and grooved for improved air tightness and fire resistance
  • Fast to install with minimal waste
  • Good acoustic performance
  • Lightweight but solid
  • Similar impact resistance to brick (when rendered)

For more information about our fire rated safety products and services contact John Wyatt on (08) 9258 9377 or