Fire safety in residential care buildings
Residential care buildings must follow mandatory fire safety standards under the relevant Queensland Development Code (QDC). This ensures that each residential care building provides an adequate level of fire safety, including safe evacuation in a fire emergency.
What is a residential care building
A residential care building has 6 or more residents, at least 10% of whom need help to conduct daily activities and evacuate the building during an emergency.
Residents needing help may have physical, sensory, psychological or intellectual impairment.
A residential care building is usually an aged care facility or a nursing home, but not a hospital.
Compliance for residential care buildings
Residential care buildings approved or built before 1 June 2007 (identified on the government's register) should comply with QDC MP 2.3 – Fire safety in existing residential care buildings (PDF, 69KB).
This mandatory part applies in addition to the statutory requirements that applied when the building was constructed or the time of the relevant building development approval. Specific requirements depend on the type of building, but can include:
- an automatic sprinkler system or smoke compartmentation
- fire safety upgrades to the building for firefighting, smoke hazard management, fire escapes, early warning system, emergency lighting and exits signs
- a fire and evacuation plan that incorporates a minimum carer-to-resident support ratio.
Residential care buildings approved or built since 1 June 2007 must comply with QDC MP 2.2 – Fire safety in residential care buildings (PDF, 70KB).
Requirements – in addition to Building Code of Australia requirements – include:
- an automatic sprinkler system
- a building-wide smoke alarm/detection system
- a fire and evacuation plan that incorporates a minimum carer-to-resident support ratio across smoke compartments.
Fire safety installation maintenance
MP 6.1 – Commissioning and maintenance of fire safety installations outlines building fire safety maintenance standards.
The code applies to all buildings other than Class 1a (houses and townhouses) and Class 10a (e.g. garage) buildings.
The code sets:
- maintenance standards for prescribed fire safety installations under the Building Act 1975, such as sprinklers, fire hydrants, emergency lifts, and fire detection and alarm systems
- requirements for keeping maintenance records to enable occupiers, local government or the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service to check compliance with the QDC.
Read more about maintaining fire safety installations in buildings.
- Last reviewed: 22 Jul 2022
- Last updated: 29 Jun 2023