Balancing Security with Fire Safety

It’s no surprise that Australians want to protect their homes with the best, most secure lock systems; but it’s also no surprise that we have some of the strictest fire regulations in the world.

There is concern recently that some homeowners are sacrificing fire safety for security, by fitting the latest, hi-tech locks that do lower the risk of break and entry, but at the same time contravene fire regulations.

Hi-Tech Locks

US manufacturers are marketing hi-tech front-door locks that are Bluetooth-enabled and can be opened using a smartphone app. These may keep a log of people entering and exiting your property; and access permissions can be granted to tradespeople or other visitors by emailing them an ‘eKey’, which grants access at specific times and days.

These new locks don’t come cheap – typically a few hundred dollars – but there are plans for some models to go on sale in Australia towards the end of 2014.

Fire Safety Regulations

The Building Code of Australia (BCA), covers a set of regulations to keep buildings structurally safe and fire safe. This includes a requirement for most apartment front doors, dependent upon their Class classification within the BCA, to be fire doors. In fact, all commercial or multi-occupancy premises in Australia have strict regulations like this.

Aus­tralian fire standards stipulate that locks on fire doors and items of hardware must be rigorously tested by private and public certifying authorities before being attached to designated doors. In some states you need a permit before these locks can be changed.

This means that users of these hi-tech locks may potentially be asked to remove them by fire inspectors.

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For further information and for quotes from various industry experts read this article in The Australian newspaper about these hi-tech locks.

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