Allan Harriman explains how Hebel helps to minimise fire risk in high rise residentials

To maximise their enjoyment of high rise lifestyle, people who live in multi-storey residential apartments need to know that their buildings are safe as well as stylish.

Among those helping to ensure that safety is Allan Harriman, who recently received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to the building and construction industry through professional associations.

Allan is a Director of BCA Logic Pty Ltd, the Sydney-based company that is a specialist accredited provider of building regulation and fire safety engineering regulatory advice and design.

With a consultancy service to developers, architects, builders and others in the industry, BCA Logic facilitates and expedites the building approvals process by ensuring that building proposals meet both the regulatory provisions and the requirements of the approval authority.

The company offers detailed progress inspections for buildings under construction, advising on BCA compliance. In addition to proposed buildings, existing buildings also benefit from the BCA Logic services which include detailed condition reports, due diligence reports and fire and life safety audit reports.

From a certifier’s point of view, Allan sees distinct benefits in the ability of the Hebel internal wall systems to help minimise fire risk in high rise residential apartment buildings.

“Any penetrations through a fire-rated wall, such as water and gas pipes, need to be sealed for fire protection,” he said.

“Because I deal a lot with fire safety defects, I appreciate the relative ease that the Hebel system provides in relation to installing and sealing such penetrations.”

Helping to resolve compliance issues

As Allan explained, the nature of high rise residential buildings, with their large number of common walls, means that special precautions have to be taken to minimise the risk of issues such as fire.

“In high rise buildings, unlike houses, the bounding walls between each unit and the corridor all have to have a fire rating,” he said. “The biggest risk is associated with penetrations going through the wall and the Hebel system has a lot of known solutions to this. With Hebel it is therefore easy to implement compliant penetration treatment.”

He pointed out that, as well as complying with fire rating and noise requirements, the Hebel system is one of the narrowest party wall systems on the market, resulting in another significant benefit that makes it popular with builders.

“A further benefit is that it is lightweight and therefore easy to manage on site,” he said. “The speed with which a Hebel wall system can be installed is yet another good point.

“It’s a popular product, and I don’t hear any negative comments in the market about it. It seems to be well respected within the industry.”

And yet another advantage that Allan has found in more than two decades of association with Hebel (“I think I’ve still got the original CSR Hebel installation guide somewhere in a cupboard at home,”) is its lack of complexity.

“Fire safety defects can represent a significant problem in high rise residential buildings and it’s good to have a product that can be easily understood,” he said.

“The Hebel internal wall system is easy to understand as well as effective. It’s not a complex system. That, in turn, makes it easy to inspect, which is certainly a benefit from a certifier’s point of view.”

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