Fire safety in residential care buildings

Residential care buildings must follow mandatory fire safety standards under the Queensland Development Code (QDC).

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).

Specific requirements depend on the type of building, but can include:

  • sprinklers
  • fire safety management plans
  • 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 include:

  • a life safety sprinkler system
  • building-wide smoke detection systems
  • minimum carer-to-resident support ratio across smoke compartments
  • effective evacuation procedures
  • a combination of fire safety management practices.

Fire safety installation maintenance

MP 6.1 – Maintenance of fire safety installations outlines building fire safety maintenance standards.

The code applies to all buildings other than Cass 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.


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