AS1851 – 2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment

Each state has its own legislation that pulls AS1851 under the Australian Law, applicable to the state legislation.

AS1851 Fire Service Standard has the majority of Routine Service of Fire Equipment for Inspection, Test and Preventative Maintenance. Other service intervals of fire safety include exit and emergency lighting found in AS2293.

Included in this document is procedures and testing service intervals for:

  • Fire Sprinklers
  • Fire Pump Sets
  • Fire Hydrant Systems
  • Water Storage Tanks for Fire Protection Systems
  • Fire Detection and Alarms Systems
  • Special Hazard Systems
  • Delivery Lay Flat Hose
  • Fire Hose Reels
  • Portable and Wheeled Fire Extinguishers
  • Fire Blankets
  • Passive Fire and Smoke Systems
  • Fire and Smoke Control Features of Mechanical Services
  • Emergency Planning In Facilities

AS1851 has been designed to ensure that all fire equipment is in optimal working condition at any given period especially in the event of a fire. Fire Service Technicians refer to AS1851 as the Bible for the Fire Services Industry. The installation standard for each service comes first and then after the commissioning has been completed, AS1851 is to be followed.

Fire professionals Terminology

Some Common Definitions used in AS1851

  • Approved Design- The design of the fire protection system and equipment approved by the authority having jurisdiction at the time of installation or subsequent modification.
  • Baseline Data- Data derived from the approved design and commissioning, which serve as a basis for subsequent comparison with the data derived from inspection, test and survey.
  • Competent Person- A person who has acquired through training, qualification, experience or a combination of these, the knowledge and skill enabling them to correctly perform the required task. Each state has their own licensing body and some bodies are harder to locate than others.

Do not attempt to install your own fire equipment

legislation carries penalties for not being licenced or certified.

Required Logbooks

Even with advancement of technology Fire Authorities and Fire Techs still communicate via systems log books.

Required site logbooks

  • Portable Fire Equipment
  • Fire Detection System
  • Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System (EWIS)
  • Smoke and Heat Alarms
  • Fire Doors
  • Fire Tanks
  • Special Hazard Systems
  • Fire Sprinklers
  • Fire Pumps
  • Fire Hydrants
  • Exit and Emergency Lighting (not included in AS1851 but in AS2293

Defect classification and non-conformance

Critical Defect: A defect that renders a system inoperative

Example: A fire pump fails to start on both battery systems in a high-rise building. In the event of a fire, the fire authority would be unable to effectively fight the fire using hydrant valves on each floor of the building due to no water pressure. In this case risk is high to the tenant/occupier and fire authority. The situation is classed as a critical defect must be rectified immediately.

Non-conformance: A missing or incorrect feature that does not affect the system operation but is required to facilitate ongoing routine maintenance.

Example: A fire detector is incorrectly located after an office wall was relocated to house a new staff member. This is an incorrect installation to AS1670 and is classed as a non-conformance which requires rectification in 28 days.

Non-critical Defect: A system impairment or faulty component not likely to critically affect the operation of the system.

Example: A Strobe or Fire Bell fail to operate on the outside of the building indicating the FIP location for the Fire Authority. This defect won’t affect the operation of the system in the event of a Fire Situation. But is required to be rectified. A time period should be based on the defects ability to affect a systems operation.

Inspection: Visual examination of the components of a fire protection system or equipment to establish correct settings, physical condition or fitness for purpose.

Preventative Maintenance: A series of actions including lubrication, cleaning, adjustment and replacement of the components at a predetermined frequency, to minimize the incidence of breakdown.

Routine Service: Inspection, testing and preventative maintenance at specific intervals

Shall: Indicates a mandatory requirement

Survey: Visual inspection, typically conducted from a floor level, to identify if the fire protection system or equipment has been inappropriately altered, damaged or compromised by changes in the occupancy, environment or building.

Select a heading for more information...

Generally this section of AS1851 covers:

  • Wet pipe systems
  • Dry pipe systems
  • Deluge and water spray systems
  • Pre-action systems


Frequency before the current AS1851- 2012 was weekly for some of the routine maintenance but with time, reliability, and protection these services can/have moved to monthly inspections.

Ranging from monthly, six-monthly, Yearly, Five Yearly, Ten Yearly, Twenty Yearly and Thirty Yearly the testing varies from general operations to overhauls at set periods. To find out more about the requirements of your system, please contact FCF.

Fire Technician Tip

Preventive maintenance on these types of systems is important to save costs on unwanted repairs. A common issue is a small rust spot in a pipe that can continue to grow until it wears through the pipe. When the pipe finally lets go, a large amount of water flows and creates risk, call out and a bigger repair than just cleaning the rust away and painting the pipe.

Given the large variance in system design, use, and flow requirements the only way to verify your systems compliance is to consult a licenced sprinkler company like FCF. Using a certifier in a licenced company ensures that your premise is being protected properly and to the installation standard it was designed to operate at and protect.

All pump sets including Sprinkler, Hydrant, Hose Reel, automatic pressure maintenance and jacking pumps relate to this section.

Monthly testing ensures the operation of the pump set and also that an issue or leak hasn’t occurred in the last 30 days since the previous inspection.


Ranging from monthly, six-monthly, Yearly, Five Yearly. Testing varies from general operations to overhauls at set periods. To find out more about the requirements of your system, please contact FCF.

Fire Technician Tip

Following the recommendations of the Fire Technician can be critical as replacing a faulty or worn rubber on the system can prevent a system entering into a critical defect issue. An example is when the system leaks and the jacking pump (if installed) is overwhelmed by the flow causing the main pumps to kick in (diesel or electric or a combination of both). In the case of a diesel pump these are designed to operate until all the fuel has been utilized. This alone can cause multiple issues and unnecessary run time which increases the servicing requirements. FCF Technical advice is to follow and complete the requirements, as per the Fire Technicians recommendations.

Note: Make sure you have an honest fire company servicing your equipment, find out more at

Setting out the requirements for maintenance and routine servicing on Fire Hydrant Systems along with Fire Mains, Fire Brigade Booster Assemblies and other associated equipment.

Fire hydrant systems are broken into two main groups, Above Ground (which is the most commonly system seen as stand pipes) and Below Ground. Below ground hydrants are barely noticed in Australia and mostly used by councils to supply water to the fire brigade.


Ranging from monthly, six-monthly, Yearly, Five Yearly. Testing varies from general operations to overhauls at set periods. The most common test that the general public sees is the yearly testing when flow rates are checked to ensure water pressure meets requirements. Depending on the original system design and commissioning documents a system requirement maybe 20 Litres a second at 200 Kpa or in some cases greater. Baseline data is critical to ensure that you’re testing the system to the correct design.

Fire Technician Tip

Hydrants are normally easy to maintain as they don’t have many moving mechanical parts, however a basic red paint (fire hydrant red) can deter rust and make your system last longer. The red paint also enables visibility to the normally not movable fire hydrant. A truck can do a lot of damage to a hydrant ring main by just bumping into the pillar.

Hold onto your baseline data as leaving it up to an untrained Fire Technician to determine if your system meets the requirements can result in unwanted costs. Given a fire pump and water tank system can be in excess of $50k it’s important to maintain your system.

Water storage for a fire system varies from a standard water tank in a domestic application.

Elements of a water storage tank includes, suction inlets, vortex inhibitors, tie rods, fittings, roof supports, liners and more.


Ranging from monthly, six-monthly, Yearly, Ten Yearly. The important factor is sending in a diver or a robot to investigate the internal liner, any damage or obstructions. Utilising technology has helped FCF save our clients’ money on their fire safety obligations. Also a recording of the test can be emailed to show the entire test on the internals of the tank.

Fire Technician Tip

Lock all access to these tanks as during a hot day kids could access the tank and given the confined space this becomes a dangerous situation quickly.

Built up dirt against a tank can hold moisture and cause the tank edge or joints to rust. Keeping the base of a tank clean is just as important as ensuring the internal cleanliness in water quality inside the tank.

Don’t replace a tank before it’s required by ignoring some good housekeeping.

When a fire detection system isn’t maintained properly unwanted alarms can cause unwanted distractions to a business or accommodation. Utilizing a certifier in a Fire Protection Business will lower the costs of unwanted callouts by a fire service provider or the fire authority. An expert fire detection certifier understands all the aspects of what can and will affect a fire system. 


Ranging from monthly, six-monthly, Yearly, Five Yearly. Fire Detection systems differ depending on the type of system as to the difficulty of the testing required.

A conventional system operates in a basic manner of the alarm tripping and setting of the related feature or otherwise known as auxiliaries. Once a detector, MCP operates the Fire Warden has a zone to search to locate the fire alarm. This takes up valuable time in a fire event. These systems are normally older and kept to a similar type of environment.

Addressable systems have the ability to display the exact location of the device allowing the reporting personal to investigate faster to a false alarm or engaging the fire brigade.

These systems also have an advantage when a fault is present on the system. Utilizing a two path signal the motherboard of the FIP can search for devices both ways on a loop. Meaning less detectors are affected compared to the older style systems.

Fire Technician Tip

Some systems are connected to the fire brigade and others are left to their own devices to alert personal. FCF Fire & Electrical has an app that links your existing fire equipment no matter the model to yourself and the fire technician. Meaning no more systems running for hours and awaiting someone to notify the appropriate person. With this technology once an alarm activates, the app alerts the required staff to attend the system.

To find out more contact FCF Fire & Electrical

Included in this section is gaseous, aerosol and open nozzle water mist special hazard fire suppression systems.

Normally located in high risk areas such as computer server rooms, power stations and even museums. The systems are designed to follow the manufactures requirements to protect the risk. In the above cases this maybe the premise, digital data and irreplaceable items.


Ranging from monthly, six-monthly, Yearly, Ten Yearly.

Some systems require more frequent testing as stipulated by the manufacture or by the working environment. A general rule is the more aggressive environments require frequent inspections beyond the requirements of AS1851.

Fire Technician Tip

Utilize a fire service provider that has qualified personal who have done the manufacturers course or at bare minimum follow the recommendations set out in the manufacturers manuals, relying of years of experience to complete the service or installation.

Using parts that are off other suppliers can jeopardise the operating of the system and may cause an error in a fire event.

Not commonly found in many Australian businesses these hoses still have their place in certain environments and types of operations. Ships and mining are two examples of locations where this type of hose maybe found.


Under AS1851 the testing of a lay flat hose is conducted yearly, after use or when defects are suspected. Repairs are as per AS2792 which is to follow the specific recommendations of repair by the manufacturer.

Fire Technician Tip

Keep hoses in a vermin free environment to ensure that nests aren’t built and lay flat hoses are damaged.

Located in many environments the most common fire hose reel is a 19mm- 36m Hose Reel. Bigger and longer hose reels can be installed depending on the risk and environment. For a saltwater environment a stainless steel hose reel would be required to reduce rust.

Fire Hose Reels require a location sign and also instructions on the reel to operate. Nozzle locking device is required to ensure that in an emergency the first responder turns the water supply onto the hose reel before advancing toward the fire.


Checked at a six monthly mark and also for an annual test which includes a flow test. The flow test ensures that the four meter stream that a hose reel is designed to produce works under the current water pressure provided.

Fire Technician Tip

Changing washers when a leak occurs in the back end of the fire hose reel is not recommended. With FCF Fire Technicians experience, the pitted metal does not allow for a great seal and the hose reel is likely to leak within a 12-month period.

The exception to the rule is a stainless steel hose reel or one made with high quality steel.

To help a fire hose reel last longer it’s not recommended to use them for wash downs in a business environment. Many councils carry excessive fines for using fire hose reels and FCF’s tip is that a plumber installing a hose is a lot more cost effective than paying a council fine.

Portable fire extinguisher means fire extinguishers that can be carried from one position to another in a fire event to extinguish the fire.

For more information on fire extinguishers visit

Most common fire extinguishers in the modern work place are ABE extinguishers and also CO2 extinguishers. A food business will also have a Wet Chemical fire extinguisher for fat fire.

Training to use a fire extinguisher is not very difficult and can be learnt in an online class at

The most common mistake made with fire extinguishers is the use on the correct fire. Utilizing the incorrect fire extinguisher can effectively create a more dangerous situation then just the fire itself. For example using a wet chemical fire extinguisher on an electrical fire. Staff training is a legislative requirement for this reason.

Fire Extinguisher Types;

  • Water Fire Extinguisher
  • Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher
  • Foam Extinguisher
  • Powder Fire Extinguisher (BE or ABE)
  • Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher (Co2)
  • Vaporizing Fire Extinguisher


Ranging from monthly, six-monthly, Yearly, Five Yearly.

At the five yearly mark when a fire extinguisher is due for a pressure test the common result is to replace the fire extinguisher with a new one. This is mainly due to cost back to the client. A fire company typically spends more on refurbing an extinguisher than supplying a new asset. Each extinguisher can vary depending on the build quality of the unit, however, to be price competitive many manufacturers only ensure that the cylinder quality in the metal make a five year use before being melted down into a new unit.

Fire Technician Tip

Engage a fire service provider that looks out for the legislation to ensure that your business is covered from an insurance perspective and also that the business meets the fire requirements of AS2444 plus government legislation.

As manufacturers have worked with Fire Technicians less physical testing is required on fire extinguishers than 10 years ago. An example is a hose on a fire extinguisher doesn’t need to be removed if it has a protection cap. This type of innovation has basically saved clients’ money as testing prices in the fire industry haven’t moved for some 15 odd years, even with increased costs to operate a fire business.

A very handy piece of firefighting equipment in multiple situations for fighting a fire. Most commonly located in residential kitchens and also commercial kitchens. They are also recommended for caravans and boats due to their versatility.


Only a six monthly test is required as an annual test doesn’t exist according to AS1851. Some Fire Technicians utilize an annual stamp on the maintenance tag (number2), to show that they attended site.

Only a number 1 stamp should be found on a fire blanket maintenance tag.

Fire Technician Tip

Due to a fire blanket being located in a kitchen the rodents and unwanted guests can sometimes make a little home. Proper pest control eradication will stop cockroaches and beetles moving into your fire blanket.

Once a month have a look up inside the blanket housing if using a vinyl cover. No need to pull the blanket out as insect marks are visible on the white blankets which normally indicates an unwanted guest in your fire blanket.

Passive fire and smoke comprising vertical and horizontal fire and smoke compartment barriers together with any opening, fire doors and fire shutters or any service penetration and control joints.

This section is very technical and baseline data is critical to ensure that labour productivity is utilized efficiently. Without baseline data a Passive Fire Certifier has a lot of work to do, ensuring the fire safety of the compartment.


Three monthly for sliding fire doors.

Six monthly and Yearly, some door frequencies can change depending on the building classification.

Utilizing a fire protection business with in house carpenters whom are Registered Passive Fire Certifiers allows for the right advice the first time. Given the expense of fire doors or sliders installing the incorrect competent can be costly.

Fire Technician Tip

When having a building repainted and the painter wants to remove the fire tags, ensure that the fire tags are not removed as this can be costly and an exercise to try and prove that he fire door is in fact a fire door without tags. Some manufactures have markings on the top of the door and progressive companies are utilizing fire door chips to later track doors that have missing tags.

Please note the painter must not also paint over the tags.

Multiple skill sets from different experts are involved in the smoke control systems. These bigger more complex systems have a Matrix that Fire Technicians must follow to ensure the system is working correctly to the fire engineer’s original design.

Normally involved are the following trades, Refrigeration Trades Person, Electrical Trades Person, Fire Technician- Certifier.

When a fire detector or MCP is activated the system will turn on and off multiple fans to control the smoke. An example is in a shopping centre with a large amount of people to evacuate. Ensure escape is possible with minimal smoke interference allows a faster escape time.

To test the fire engineer’s original design, multiple zones must be placed into fire mode to ensure correct actions by shutters, fans, damper etc operate correctly when a device has to be activated in a fire event.


Ranging from monthly, three-monthly, six-monthly, yearly (also includes 5-yearly and 25-yearly items).

25-yearly includes replacing fusible links at 20% over a fire year period. These little sub notes are listed in the Tables provided in AS1851.

Fire Technician Tip

Have a matrix saved in multiple locations to ensure that if the original design is lost or unattainable a costly exercise doesn’t follow to regain the Fire Matrix.

Utilize the same team each year to have minimal disruption and efficiency. FCF Fire & Electrical has in-house trades to ensure efficiency and also the expertise of many different sites.

The outcome is for controlled evacuation of facilities such as buildings, structures and workplaces.

Fire Safety Advisors have the licence and skill set to ensure that the best outcome is achieved. Via experience and also evacuation practices FCF can assist your ECO (Emergency Control Organization) work towards being fire event ready.


Six-monthly and yearly are the requirements as per AS1851. Set out in tables 14.4.2 and 14.4.3. The listing of the requirements allows for an easy to follow inspection of the business procedures to keep staff and visitors safe on their premise.

Fire Technician Tip

Placing all the documentation together satisfies the legal obligations. FCF prefers to test under unexpected fire drill procedures. Reasoning is that a fire can be scheduled in at a certain time and the readiness of Fire Wardens is essential. Setting off a fire system, ringing the fire bell or seeing smoke (toxin free via FCF’s Training) and gauging the response time, activities of people in a fire environment and also the outcome.

Put your organization to the test.

To find out more contact FCF Fire & Electrical today