Nov 152011

What SANS 10400: Part T 
– Fire Protection Says

Nobody wants to see their house or business premises go up in flames. That is why there are very strict Regulations when it comes to Fire Safety in any building in South Africa.

Nobody wants to see their house or business premises go up in flames. This is why there are very strict Regulations when it comes to fire safety and protection against fire in any building in South Africa.

What the Act Says

Essentially the legislation is concerned quite simply with the need for all buildings to be designed, constructed and equipped so that in the event of fire:

  1. the occupants or people using the building will be protected – including persons with disabilities;
  2. the spread and intensity of any fire within buildings, and the spread of fire to any other buildings, will be minimized;
  3. sufficient stability will be retained to ensure that such building will not endanger any other building: provided that in the case of any multi-storey building no major failure of the structural system shall occur;
  4. the generation and spread of smoke will be minimized or controlled to the greatest extent reasonably practicable; and
  5. adequate means of access, and equipment for detecting, fighting, controlling and extinguishing such fire, is provided.

The requirements of the Act will be deemed to have been satisfied if the design, construction and equipment of buildings complies with SANS 10400 Part T and satisfies the local authority.

The Act also specifies several offences that owners of buildings need to avoid, including the need for fire extinguishers that comply with SANS 10105. Also, if people do anything to obstruct escape routes in buildings, they will be guilty of an offense.

What the Standard Says

The regulations for Fire Protection are contained in a 91 page document published by the SABS, SANS 10400: Part T Fire Protection. Much of the information is the same as that published in the 1990 version of the Standard that you can download from this site.

SANS 10400 Part T is broken down into several parts:


The bulk of the Standard is made up of a vast number of different “requirements” that relate not only to dwelling houses, but to every other possible type of building, from hospitals to parking garages.

The requirements for effective fire protection include:

  • general requirements,
  • regulations relating to safety distances,
  • fire performance,
  • fire resistance of occupancy-separating and division-separating elements,
  • fire stability of structural elements or components,
  • tenancy-separating elements,
  • partition walls and partitions,
  • protection of openings (Note that the drawings in SANS 10400 – 1990 that illustrate this have not changed),
  • raised access and suspended floors of combustible material,
  • roof assemblies and coverings  (the drawings remain unchanged in the new version of the Standard) including thatch,
  • ceilings,
  • floor coverings,
  • internal finishes,
  • provision of escape routes,
  • exit doors,
  • feeder routes,
  • emergency routes,
  • dimensions of components of escape routes,
  • width of escape routes,
  • basements,
  • stairways and other changes of level along escape routes  (the drawing that shows the position of doors in relation to a change in level has not changed),
  • ventilation of stairways in an emergency route,
  • pressurization of emergency routes and components,
  • openings in floors,
  • external stairways and passages,
  • lobbies, foyers and vestibules,
  • marking and signposting,
  • provision of emergency lighting,
  • fire detection and alarm systems,
  • provision and maintenance of fire-fighting equipment, installations and fire protection systems,
  • water reticulation for fire-fighting purposes,
  • hose reels,
  • hydrants,
  • automatic sprinkler and other fixed extinguishing systems,
  • portable fire extinguishers,
  • mobile fire extinguishers,
  • fire-stopping of inaccessible concealed spaces,
  • protection in service shafts,
  • services in structural or separating elements,
  • smoke control,
  • air-conditioning systems and artificial ventilation systems,
  • lift shafts,
  • lifts,
  • firemen’s lift,
  • stretcher lift,
  • stage and backstage areas,
  • eating arrangements in auditoriums or halls and on grandstands,
  • parking garages,
  • operating theatres and intensive, high or critical care units,
  • installation of liquid fuel dispensing pumps and tanks,
  • installation of other tanks,
  • warehousing of dangerous goods,
  • dangerous goods signage,
  • access for fire-fighting and rescue purposes,
  • resumed fire resistance of building materials and components,
  • building materials,
  • guest houses and bed and breakfast accommodation (this is completely new),
  • health care facilities (this is also completely new).

Safety Distances

Although there are other provisions, including the classification of the type of external wall, the table below may be used to establish safety distances where walls do not contain windows or other openings. For ordinary “dwelling houses” where the area of elevation facing any boundary is not more than 7,5 m2, such safety distance may be reduced to 0,5 m.

Fire safety distances

Fire safety distances

Fire Resistance

There are several tables (five in all) that indicate requirements for compliance with “Presumed fire resistance of building materials and components”.

This table shows what is required for “structural walls”.fire protection

This table shows what is required for “non-structural walls and partitions”.fire protection

Rational Designs

The design requirements include the need for a competent person to ensure that the level of fire safety is adequate. This is particularly important in large and public buildings.

This drawing shows the basic fire safety engineering protection



Refuse Disposal



  238 Responses to “Fire Protection”

Comments (232) Pingbacks (6)
  1. Hi everyone is there a standard height adobe the floor level that a hose reel must be?

  2. Hi everyone.

    I’m to install a 30m fire hose reel and was wondering if there is a spacious high above the FFL that is must be?

    • Hi Jared, I is not simply a matter of how high above the FFL a hose reel must be. It all depends on the design of the system where the water pressure, size of pipes and distance from the mains is calculated. This is not covered in detail in SANS10400 but is referred to in SANS 2001-DP2 or SANS 2001-DP6. Here is a diagram that shows the scheme:
      Hose Reel Scheme

  3. Hi there, I’d like to know in my complex all the fire hoses boxes don’t have keys, the glass has been broken and all missing, boxes are locked. Is this legal as no one knows who has the keys to open the fire hose Boxes? Also some have had last service in 2015. What right do we have about this issue?

    • Hi Shaun, The management of your complex are obliged to have regular checks and services done on the equipment. This is part of the municipal fire department duties. You can contact them and report this and they will make management do the right thing.

  4. Hi what is a possible fines that one may get if caught misusing firefighting equipment

  5. How many sprinklers to put in a 800 sqm store ?

    • Hi Monique, that is not a Building Regulations question but actually is under the fire and safety standards regulations. Contact your local planning department and they can help you.

  6. Will a cat ladder be viewed as a sufficient, second means of escape, from the top of a silo at a mill?

    • Hi Hendrik, That is a question that only a building inspector can answer for you, please contact your local planning department.

  7. how many exit doors should an apartment on ground floor of a complex have?

  8. Hi all

    Please assist , i need to know what the laws ays about the training of the fire marshalls in the workplace?


  9. Good day

    As I’m sure many people whom stay in a commercial property does not always look for marking nor test on extinguishers, in my complex were I stay they never test it nor does it comply to regulation as the fire hose had been cut shorter and not sealed whom can I contact to complain a bout this?

  10. Good Day

    I need some assistance with of fire equipment requirements in a HOA

  11. Which SANS or Act in South Africa that demands fire fighters to don SCBA?

  12. Good day.
    Is there anywhere in SANS 10400-T:2011 that it says that one must have a spark arrestor in a chimney or a flue?

    Regards Chris.

    • The words spark arrestor do not appear in Part T. However, if you are dealing with a thatched roof you will need to refer to SANS 62305-3: Protection against Lightning (2011)

  13. Hi all,

    I have a client that’s on the first floor of a building, they want to know if they can use the emergency exit as an entrance and exit for their clients. Please note that this is the only door on the first floor. If they can, could you please supply relevant information regarding this matter.

    Your response would be highly appreciated.

    Kind regards
    Belinda Nissen

    • I don’t think emergency exits should be used for general entrance/exit. However I can’t find a reference in the regs. Perhaps you should go to a SABC library and read SANS 10400-T, Fire Protection yourself. I presume this is where it would specify something of this nature.

      • Imho depending on the designed occupancy and whether there are flammable materials or special risks: in most cases you can use a fire escape as an entrance. The main criterion is the door must self-close to prevent influx of fresh air which would fan a fire and distribute smoke throughout the building.
        Check with local fire authority. I have done access control on many fire doors with keys and cards and tags. Biometrics are safest.
        David Miller.

  14. In a complex is it permitted to use the fire hose to wash the driveway thank you for the info

  15. Hi…
    We are a small cluster complex who are looking at getting our external buildings and boundary wall insured. The insurer is calling for “Fire fighting equipment to be installed and maintained in terms of National Building regulations.”…. The external building houses our electronics for the CCTV and electric fence, would a fire extinguisher be sufficient to adhere to this clause?

    • I can’t answer that question because it is the insurer that will either pay out or refuse to if there is a problem down the line.

 Leave a Reply


(required but will remain confidential and not be published)

© 2012-2017 SANS 10400 • © Notice Sitemap • Contact Us • Terms & Conditions Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha