South African Building Regulations on Fire Protection

fire pumps

When it comes to the safety and protection of your property and the people in it, South Africa has implemented certain building regulations specifically related to fire protection-to ensure that buildings are designed, constructed and adequately equipped for the unfortunate event that a fire should break out. The regulations for Fire Protection published by the SABS SANS 10400: Part T - Fire Protection Act states the following:

 

 

 

  1. The occupants, including disabled individuals, using the building/structure will be protected.
  2. Sufficient stability must be insured as not to endanger any other building-including that of a multi-story building, to avoid structural system failure
  3. The spread of fire within the building/structure, as well as to any other buildings, will be minimised.
  4. The spread of smoke will be controlled or minimised to the best practicable measurement.
  5. An adequate means of access for fighting, controlling and detecting a fire will be provided.

SANS Act 10400 Part T can be broken down into 4 categories:

  1. Safety Distances: Classifications including the type of external wall and distances where walls do not contain openings such as window. Safety distances may be reduced to 0.5m, where the area of elevation facing the boundary is not more than 7.5m2 - this rule applies to normal house structures.
  2. Fire Resistance: This relates to the fire resistance of building materials such as structural walls.
  3. Requirements: This category not only relates to normal houses, but any structural building such as garages etc. They include:
    • Tenancy-separating elements  
    • Fire performance
    • General requirements
    • Partition walls and partitions
    • Floor coverings
    • Internal finishes
    • Feeder routes
    • Exit doors
    • Basements
    • Portable fire extinguishers
    • Building materials...  just to name a few
  4. Rational Designs: A competent person is required for the designing aspect  of a structure to ensure that the level of safety is adequate

Only once these regulations are fulfilled, will the Act be deemed "fulfilled." So before you start thinking of building your dream home, take into consideration what SANS Act 10400 requires of you, to ensure your safety and that of your loved ones.