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What is a Fire Wall?

Most people who own or who are considering the purchase of a home are not employed within the building trades, which means there are many aspects of a property they may not understand completely. Fire walls are a vital aspect of fire safety in strata schemes and other multiple-residence buildings, and they’re also one of the more frequently misunderstood components of such homes. Because fire safety is such a common concern for owners of such properties, it’s wise to take the time to gain a basic understanding of what fire walls are, and how they protect a home.

Where is a Fire Wall Located, and How Do They Work?
To understand how a fire wall helps to protect your home and family, you must first understand where they’re located, and why positioning plays such a critical role in how they work.

A fire wall is part of a building’s overall passive fire protection system, and there are legal requirements regarding their placement at the time of construction. Depending upon the type of residence you own or considering the purchase of, ya fire wall may or may not need to be checked at the Final Inspection Stage to remain within legal compliance. In residential applications with multi-family dwellings within one building, fire walls are located between units to help prevent the spread of fire from one unit to the next. Comprised of fire-resistant building materials, fire walls are intended to mitigate fire damage to multiple units from a single blaze.

Preventing Fire Wall Failure
There are several reasons why a fire wall may fail, leading to extensive property damage and potential loss of life. Builders may not always adhere to installation requirements properly, or may not be supervised adequately during fire wall construction. Modifications to one or more units during renovation may also compromise the integrity of a fire wall, causing it to be less effective.

Whether you’re thinking of buying a new home or currently own a home and aren’t sure about the quality and condition of a fire wall on the property, it’s important to ensure your safety and that of your family. Fire walls should be examined as part of a pre-purchase inspection conducted by a professional building inspector, but can also be evaluated as part of an overall inspection at any time. For homeowners who have no immediate plans to sell their properties, a comprehensive home inspection report which includes fire wall examination can be a great way of providing peace of mind, as well as finding areas which need attention before minor issues worsen.

A professional building inspector can determine whether corrective measures are necessary in order to meet Australian Standards for fire safety, but will not provide repair services. Because a building inspection company has no financial stake in the findings of a report, there’s no potential for conflict of interest or inaccurate reports. Make sure fire safety standards are being met in your home or a property you’re planning to purchase. Not only will you be better equipped to protect your own home, but also those of your neighbors with whom you share common walls.

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