Most significant shift in fire safety in a generation – residential sprinklers

CFA Executive Manager Community Infrastructure, Andrew Andreou has received a Fire and Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW) Commissioner’s Award. 


Andrew was a key member of the team that delivered the successful Proposal for Change to the 2019 National Construction Code, which mandated the installation of residential sprinkler systems in Class 2 and Class 3 (apartment blocks and shared accommodation) buildings under 25 metres in height.

These changes to the 2019 National Construction Code signal the most significant shift in fire safety in a generation, since legislation mandated the installation of smoke alarms.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter has recognised Andrew’s contribution.

“Thank you Andrew for your passion and dedication supporting this important initiative and for your leadership of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council’s (AFAC) advocacy as our representative on the Australian Building Codes Board’s Plumbing Codes Committee.

“Congratulations and well done.”

A Letter of Appreciation from the Commissioner and an FRNSW plaque acknowledging Andrew’s valuable contribution have been forwarded to AFAC for distribution to its Plumbing and Building Codes Committee representatives.

Executive Director Bushfire Management Alen Slijepcevic congratulated Andrew on his work.

“Congratulations on the recognition of your work on a national scene,” Alen said. “You have done fantastic work here and well represented CFA.”

Executive Manager Community Infrastructure, Andrew Andreou said he felt honoured to receive this award.

“One does what one can do to improve the safety of our community and ultimately reduce the burden for our brigades.

“The challenge for us, both at a State and National level is how we incorporate sprinklers in the domestic situation (Class 1a) buildings.”

Fire sprinklers are an added layer of protection on top of properly installed, working smoke alarms. Sprinklers help contain a fire to reduce the risk of damage to life, property, and the environment, as well as the risk of fire spread in built-up cities and towns. Equally important, sprinklers improve firefighter safety, containing a fire and reducing fire growth prior to our crews commencing operations.

Residential sprinkler systems automatically detect a fire and can contain at least 90 per cent of fires to the room of origin, preventing it spreading to other rooms, as well as potentially extinguishing the fire and inhibiting the production and spread of lethal smoke.

Sprinklers significantly extend the time available for residents to safely escape from a fire. This is of critical importance in today’s residential fires, where modern design, construction, furnishings and furniture mean a room can become untenable for human life within three minutes.

The activation of residential automatic fire sprinklers significantly improves temperatures, extends the time available for residents to safely escape from a fire, as well as creating a safer operating environment at the time of firefighter intervention. 

Author: Holly Penketh