What is AS1851? - Routine Servicing Fire Protection Systems Australian Standard

AS 1851 is the Australian Standard for the routine servicing of fire protection systems and equipment. The Standard was last published in December 2012 and was subsequently amended in November 2016. The scope of this Standard is applicable to the routine service procedures for fire protection systems and fire equipment.
Russ Porteous
CEO, Firewize
29 Nov, 2020

Australian Standard AS 1851:2012 provides a systematic basis for minimum routine service activities applicable to fire protection systems and equipment. This includes prescriptive procedures and activities for the test, preventive maintenance and survey to demonstrate that the fire systems and equipment installed in a building are working and achieving the standard of performance to which they were designed (the approved design).

Australian Standard AS1851:2012 - Figure 1.2.6 & Figure 1.7

The Standard covers a wide range of fire protection systems and equipment (essential fire safety measures);

  • Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems
  • Fire Pump-Sets
  • Fire Hydrant Systems & Landing Valves
  • Water storage tanks for fire protection systems
  • Fire detection and alarm systems
  • Emergency Warning Systems
  • Intercom Systems
  • Special Hazards Systems
  • Delivery Lay Flat Fire Hose
  • Fire Hose Reels
  • Portable and Wheeled Fire Extinguishers
  • Fire Blankets
  • Passive Fire and Smoke Systems 
  • Hinged, Pivoted & Sliding Fire Doors
  • Fire and Smoke Control Features of Mechanical Services
  • Emergency Planning in Facilities

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Structure of AS1851

The Preface and Forward lay the foundation for the Standard and provide context for how it was developed, written and how it should be interpreted. 

Following the Preface and Forward, there are 14 sections and 10 Appendices.  Section 1 provides Scope, Overview, Application, Definitions, Abbreviations, and an overview of the routine service process.  Section 1 also provides information about Baseline Data, Competency and Frequency and Tolerances of Routine Service Intervals.

Sections 2 to 14 covers the routine service process for each of the fire protection systems and equipment covered by the Standard (listed above). Generally each section contains a series of headings that are consistent as follows;

  • General
  • Routine Service Process & procedures
  • Precautions & Impairments
  • Inspection Frequencies
  • Baseline Data
  • Service Schedules (Tables)

The last section of the Standard is the Appendix.  IN AS1851 the appendix contains supplementary material that may be essential part (normative) part of the Standard. The Appendix also provides reference (informative) reference materials which may be helpful in providing a more comprehensive understanding and application of the Standard.

Within the Standard , the terms "normative" and "informative" have been used in this Standard to define the application of the appendix to which they apply. A ‘normative’ appendix is an integral part of the Standard, whereas an ‘informative’ appendix is only for information and guidance.

AS1851 Service Schedules

AS1851 Test Record Checklist

The service schedules (activity tables) within AS1851 include a heading and are typically aligned with the frequency of an inspection and provide a checklist of actions with pass/fail criteria, results and comments (observations).

Each section of the Standard may have multiple activity tables.  Section 2 - Automatic fire sprinkler systems for example includes 16 separate tables for different types of automatic fire sprinkler systems;

Frequency Wet Pipe Systems Dry Pipe Systems Deluge & Water
Spray Systems
Pre Action Systems
Monthly 2.4.2.1 2.4.3.1 2.4.4.1 2.4.5.1
6-Monthly 2.4.2.2 2.4.3.2 2.4.4.2 2.4.5.2
Yearly 2.4.2.3 2.4.3.3 2.4.4.3 2.4.5.3
5 Yearly 2.4.2.4 2.4.3.4 2.4.4.4 2.4.5.4
10, 25 & 30 Yearly 2.4.2.4 - - -

Routine Service Schedule Activity Number

Each row within the routine service schedule table is given a unique number. This number helps readers identify the row within the table and serves no purpose within the context of the Standard.

Service Schedule Activities

The tables within the Standard provide an extensive list of actions required, a result as well as pass/fail criteria and any comments that may be applicable.

Each activity can be summarised into the following broad categories;

  1. inspection / survey
  2. functional test
  3. measurement
  4. observation
  5. verification

An example of this in practical terms are the activities that apply to a pressure gauge used within an automatic fire sprinkler systems as follows;

Frequency Table Item Activity Category
Monthly 2.4.2.1 1.11

RECORD the system pressure (kPa) from each pressure gauge before conducting an alarm function test, and verify the pressure gauge readings are within the ranges indicated on the pressure gauge schedule.

Observation, Verification
Monthly 2.4.2.1 1.14 RECORD the system pressure (kPa) from each pressure gauge after conducting an alarm function test, and verify the pressure gauge readings are within the ranges indicated on the pressure gauge schedule. Observation, Verification
6-Monthly 2.4.2.2 2.5 RECORD reading from each pressure gauge before before conducting the main drain test. Observation, Verification
6-Monthly 2.4.2.2 2.6

Conduct a test of the town main supply;

  1. OPEN the sprinkler control assembly main drain valve without pump(s) running. In the case of grouped valve sets, open one only.
  2. VERIFY that residual water supply pressure, with drain valve open, is within 10% of the value recorded on the pressure gauge schedule.
  3. CLOSE main drain valve and record time for pressure recovery.
  4. VERIFY that the time for pressure recovery aligns with previously recorded value.
Functional Test, Measurement, Observation, Verification
Yearly - - - -
5-Yearly 2.4.2.4 4.11 CHECK each pressure gauge against a master gauge of known accuracy. Verify that the reading of the gauge under test is within ±30 kPa of the reading of the master gauge at the nominal pressure indicated on the pressure gauge schedule. Functional Test, Measurement, Observation, Verification

Interestingly Pressure Gauges are required to be inspected, tested on a very regular basis being; Monthly, 6-Monthly and 5-Yearly.

Unless a reader of the Standard has undertaken structured training and is competent, they may not complete each required activity within the Standard.