Nov 152011

National Building Regulations Part W – Fire Installation


Part W of the SANS 10400 Building Regulations is intended to keep people and property safe in the event of a fire. These have to be inspected and approved by the local authority and permission needs to be granted before any water fire fighting system is connected to the water supply.

Listed below are the main regulations and requirements:

W1 – Fire Installations

All approved fire installations shall be connected to a communication pipe supplied by the local authority: Provided that such local authority may, subject to any conditions it may consider necessary, allow such fire installation to be connected to ––
.    (a)  any approved alternative source of supply; or
.    (b)  any source of non-potable water where such water is not to be used for domestic or any other 
purpose which, in the opinion of such local authority, might give rise to a health hazard.

W2 – Supply of Water

Water shall not be taken from a supply system for use in any fire installation, unless ––
.    (a)  an application has been made to the local authority for the supply of such water and such application has been granted; and
.    (b)  the use of such water and such fire installation complies with any conditions imposed by the local authority.
W3 Design of Fire Installations
In any fire installation ––
(a) adequate and suitable connection and means of measuring water pressure shall be provided;
.    (b)  so many isolating valves shall be provided to control the flow of water to the installation, and to such points within the installation, as the local authority may require; and
.    (c)  the quantity, pressure and rate of flow of water shall be adequate for the supply of any hose reel, hydrant or sprinkler system connected thereto.

W4 – Deemed-to-Satisfy Requirements

The requirements of Regulation W3 shall be deemed to be satisfied where any fire installation complies with SANS 10400-W: Provided that where a local authority is of the opinion that it is essential for the fire installation to be the subject of an acceptable rational design prepared by an approved competent person, such local authority shall, in writing, notify the owner of such site of its reasons for the necessity for such design, and may require such owner to submit for approval plans and particulars of a complete fire installation, based on such design.


fire installation

A typical fire installation in a factory showing the correct signage


Energy Usage & Sustainability (SANS 10400X & XA)

  35 Responses to “Fire Installation”

Comments (35)
  1. Please advise – as Landlord we have placed a number of fire hose reels in demarcated areas in the unlikely event of a fire.

    However – the tenants keep breaking the seal’s meant to avoid misuse of these fire hose reels (they use the water to clean their butchery/bakery floors) ==> what defense does the Landlord have and is there a governing body we can report these tenants to?

    • Part W: Fire Installation of SANS 10400 is very clear on this: “W2 Supply of Water
      Water shall not be taken from a supply system for use in any fire installation, unless ––
      (a) an application has been made to the local authority for the supply of such water and such application has been granted; and
      (b) the use of such water and such fire installation complies with any conditions imposed by the local authority.”
      So you need to report your tenants to the local authority because they are breaking the law.

  2. Are you allowed to take copper water pipes of a system connected to a Fire Hose and sprinkler system to provide water for Shops.
    Is illegal and can the owners be forced to close the centre.

    • Totally illegal. You cannot use the water that forms part of a fire installation for anything other than fighting fires. Refer to Part T of Sans 10400.
      It is doubtful if the owners would be forced to close the centre without prior warning not to do this.

  3. Hi
    Could someone pls help , I need a specification on what class copper tube to use in a combined fire and domestic system

  4. Hi . I own a building with several separate shops. I installed fire extinguishers in all shops. Is it my responsibility to service them annualy or the tenant’s.

    • It is not prescribed who is responsible that would be something that you have to write in to all of your lease agreements.

  5. Subject:
    Commissioning documents for a Fire Alarm system

    Dear Penny
    Kindly advise if there is a document or a process available which
    should be followed before the newly installed Fire Alarm system can be
    handed over to the client? I have a mining background and for each new
    system and or equipment / plant a commissioning document had to be
    tabled and signed off before startup or hand over to the operational
    team. I am also looking for a SANS 10139 copy.

    looking forward to your speedy reply.

    Kind Regards

    • Johann I have forwarded your query to someone who should be able to help. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of SANS 10139, you can access this free at an SABS library or buy a copy from the SABS online store. I’ll add to this when I get a response.

    • Johann, Barend Esterhuizen has this reply for you, I hope it helps:

      SAQCC (South African Qualification & Certification Committee) registration is a legal requirement for persons designing or working on any fire detection system
      The level that persons may register for various between levels 1 to 5 (1) Cabler (2) Installer (3) Service man (4) Commissioner (5) Designer
      The design, installation and commissioning must therefore be carried out by the registered persons above who must CERTIFY that the installation was installed in accordance with the design specifications etc
      Acceptance certificate is also normally issued by the responsible person appointed by the client to oversee the design and installation and who certify that the system was installed as designed
      Verification certificate (Optional) can be requested by the owner of the building through a third party to ensure compliance
      Examples of the above certificates is inside the SANS 10139 code available from SANS [I think he means the SABS]
      SAQCC Fire contact details: 011 455 3157

      • Please advise.

        We manage a Sectional Title Complex.
        They have sufficient fire equipment.
        It is not a Sectional Act Requirement to install signs etc. nor is a requirement to have an emergency evacuation plan.
        Is there such regulation i can be referred to?

  6. The building I work in does not have a Sprinkler system or smoke detection system or any fire alarm system. What is the Health and Safety requirements for the building. What needs to be installed and what is the minimum requirement? We have fire hoses and Fire extinguisers allocated. Please assist

    Thank you very much

    • Hi Andrea, The National Building Regulations has guidelines for equipment and installations and these have to be read together with a whole list of other regulations and by-laws. Then there is the clause that states that every site shall be inspected on a “case by case” basis. What this means is that you will have to get in contact with your local authority building inspector and request an inspection and recommendations.

  7. Subject:
    Diesel Storage Requirements
    Can you please advise us here. We are a construction company, we usually keep Diesel on site in a drum 210 liters, 420 Maximum. I want to know that how far can you keep this from building and offices and what are the other requirements for storing such chemicals.

    • Hi Gerald,
      Firstly I think that you need to get advice from your local authority on this. Having said that here is an extract from the Building Regulations SANS 10400-T “Fire Pretection”:
      4.52 Installation of liquid fuel dispensing pumps and tanks
      4.52.1 No liquid fuel dispensing pump or storage tank shall be situated less than 3,5 m from any
      lateral boundary or street boundary of any site except where there is a boundary wall and such wall a) has a fire resistance of 120 min,
      b) is not less than 1,8 m in height, and
      c) extends not less than 2 m on either side of such pump.

      These regulations are always subject to other local by-laws so as I have said above, get hold of your local authority for clarity on this.

  8. Hi

    I am wanting to install a fish tank between my lounge and garage through the 230mm firewall dividing the lounge from the garage. I believe because the burn time of the water will be > 2 Hours this would be all right to go ahead with? Does anyone know what the regulation are in this regard?


  9. Hi, where can I find a document for the standards to install a fire system in a building? for example must the fire resistant cable be ran inside bosal pipe inside the roof or could it be open etc.


    • Christo, SANS 10400, Part W, Fire installation is what you need. Part T deals with fire Protection and is also valid. You can buy these from the SABS.

  10. where can i find the specific act or regulations that stipulate sprinkler system requirement for
    buildings? (ie minumum m2 for a fire sprinkler system)

    • Part W, Fire installation does cover sprinkler systems, but doesn’t give much information at all. It states that fire installations must be “the subject of a rational design prepared by a competent person (wet services) or a competent person (fire engineering) in accordance with the general principles and requirements contained in SANS 10252-1 and, if relevant, SANS 10287” – These “competent persons” must be professional engineers or engineering technologists.
      Information that is supplied in regard to W3 Design of Fire Installations includes fire pump connections and pipework (including a diagram with tables that shows how to size pipework). Manufacturers of suitable sprinkler systems may have additional information; the fire department may also have more info.

  11. What is the latest SANS regulation regarding voice evacuation in hospitals?

  12. As a qualified from NOSA, the height off floor for hydrants,etc are 1metre

  13. I have been in the installation of Fire detecion for the last 3 years and the incompetency of some fire companies i find very poor and disgusting. I would like to know what are the regulations on actually making sure these systems work 100%, to the final detail of testing each fire detector and how often do buildings or companies have to test these systems, are there regulations that they have to meet?

    • The National Building Regulations contain two sections that relate to fire protection and installations: Part T: Fire protection & Part W: Fire installation. There are also additional SANS that relate to more specific elements – the SABS would be able to advise what these are.

  14. please advise where I can find detailed dimensions, heights off floor etc., of hosereel and hydrant installation in a factory situation

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