Clubhouse Fire Evacuation and Warning System Installation.

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Many members will be aware of extensive electrical and other works carried out in our Clubhouse building over the past month.

This work is the culmination of many years of difficult and complicated negotiations led by our current Commodore, Craig Stanger, Principal of local drafting design business, ACE SPACE Design (formerly Craig Stanger Design).

At my request, Craig has provided a summary of the long process, and the recent installation which has just been inspected and commissioned.

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Summary of events.
In 2013 the Sunshine Coast Rowing Club approached me as a Building Designer to draw up proposed additions to their boat storage. In 2016, the Sunshine Coast Rowing Club finally gained approval from Council’s Property Management Services to build an 80m2 addition to their part of the building for the purposes of boat storage. The Rowing Club then had drawings prepared for building approval/certification. During this process to gain building approval, it was discovered by the engaged Building Certifier, that our clubhouse did not comply with building regulations in relation to fire hydrant coverage. In fact there has never been a fire hydrant on the island. All that can be assumed is that Council, back when the club was built, had chosen to ignore the fact that there was no hydrant on the island and still allowed the building to be built. Unfortunately for us, this situation is very much a liability issue for the Sailing Club and needed to be addressed by the club in relation to occupant safety. The Building Insurer had been notified of this situation.

The Certifier was (by law) required to refer the application to the QFES which started a (2) year process involving State Ministers to get approval for what is called an ‘Alternative Solution to the Building Code’. A Fire Engineer (BDA Fire) was subsequently engaged to provide an alternative solution. Essentially, the QFES and the Building Certifier agreed that a Fire Evacuation and Warning System be installed in lieu of providing fire hydrant coverage. We looked into providing hydrant coverage through mains pressure from Bradman Avenue. We researched providing a large petrol pump on the island that would use water from the river. These alternatives were not economically viable or suitable to the QFES (Qld Fire and Emergency Services) or the Building Certifier.
I approached 4 separate businesses on the Sunshine Coast to provide a quote for the installation in accordance with the Fire Design Engineer’s report. I received (2) quotes back, while the other (2) declined because the project was not in their preferred scope.
There are two components to the overall installation:

  • a ‘fire detection and occupant warning system’ and

  • an ‘emergency lighting’ system.

In 2018, The Club Executive applied for a State Government grant to do the required works. We were successful and received a grant for nearly $30,000. The final cost for the installation was a bit more than this but the Rowing Club has agreed to contribute to the overall cost of this project.
There will be an ongoing cost to the installation of this system of approximately $1800.00 per year. The rent arrangement with the Rowing Club will also be reviewed to ensure a contribution to the maintenance program.

The upshot of this whole process is that we now have a building that is safer and will ensure that if there is a fire, occupants, in what ever part of the building they may be, will get an early warning to evacuate the building.

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I think we all owe Craig a debt of gratitude in for the way he has used his professional expertise and tenacity to lead this project to a successful conclusion.