Testing confirms CPAC safety compliance

Published: 09 Oct 2018

Cairns Regional Council has received reassurance that construction of the new Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) meets fire safety requirements, following expert testing and the completion of a thorough Fire Engineering Report.

Council submitted its Fire Engineering Report for the Florence Street building to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) late yesterday.

The report includes the outcomes of fire testing that took place last month in a controlled facility near Canberra.

“A fire engineering analysis of the external cladding, insulation and plywood used on the building was undertaken against the Performance Requirements of the Building Code of Australia,” Council CEO John Andrejic said. “This included independent full-scale fire testing of the cladding arrangement.

“According to the feedback provided by the expert fire engineer who conducted the testing and analysis, the test demonstrated that the external cladding arrangements used on the building did not contribute to excessive spread of fire to building exits or into habitable parts of the building, therefore maintaining occupant safety.

“It confirms that the external cladding arrangement does comply with the requirements of the relevant sections of the Building Code of Australia.”

The Fire Engineering Report addresses all aspects of the building’s fire risk, and prevention and mitigation measures.

The report concludes that CPAC’s cladding and building is categorised as a “low risk”. It notes that it is a three-storey building with several exit/egress pathways; occupants are awake and alert; and fire-rated wall construction and extensive fire safety systems are in place, including smoke detection systems, automatic sprinkler systems, fire hydrants and hose reels, smoke exhaust system, occupant warning system,  and evacuation plans for patrons and staff.

“The report also notes the two recommendations that have come out of the testing and risk assessment process to date, being to install a physical barrier on the Grafton Street side to remove the risk of a car crashing into the building, and to regularly check the level of heat produced by the building’s electricity boards – which is already standard practice,” Mr Andrejic said.

The report has been peer-reviewed by three independent fire engineers, all of whom have concluded that CPAC complies with performance requirements relating to fire safety.

“Based on this advice, we have been informed by our building certifier that we are on track to receive a Certificate of Classification for the building,” Mr Andrejic said.

Mayor Bob Manning said Council had worked closely with fire engineering experts and the QFES throughout the design and construction of the CPAC.

“It is our intention to provide a facility that is not only attractive and functional, but is also safe for our community,” he said.

“That’s why we requested QFES visit the site on multiple occasions to review the construction and to raise any concerns they may have – particularly given building codes have changed several times during construction.

“As a result of their input, we have now been able to address those concerns through targeted testing and further engineering assessment.

“We thank QFES for their contribution and cooperation through this very important process.”

QFES has up to 20 business days to review the Fire Engineering Report and to provide feedback to Council.

“Should any further concerns be raised, we will continue to work with the QFES to address them in the interest of the Cairns community,” Cr Manning said.

“In the meantime, we are looking forward to showcasing this fantastic, state-of-the-art performance venue to the community at the opening event on Saturday 15 December.”

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Last updated: 09 October 2018