This page provides information for business owners and developers about what they need to do when installing fire services.
What are public fire plugs/hydrants?
Fire protection is a mandatory requirement for commercial buildings under the Building Act. Developers and owners have two options for providing this fire protection. Either:
- A private fire/sprinkler service can be installed, or
- A public fire plug/hydrant located close to the property (usually within 120 meters of the furthermost point of the property) can be nominated as the fire protection point.
If a suitable public fire plug/hydrant is not available, the developer/owner must either pay Yarra Valley Water for the cost of providing a new public fire plug/hydrant or have a private fire/sprinkler service connected to the property.
If opting for a public fire plug/hydrant, these are the steps involved:
- The owner/developer will first need the relevant local Council to accept ongoing maintenance and repair costs.
- The owner/developer must verify the plug/hydrant for fire protection with Yarra Valley Water every six months.
- Yarra Valley Water will then record the details of the property and verify whether that hydrant is still available for use.
Councils do not request installation of nominated plugs/hydrants. It is solely the duty of the owner/developer to make such requests.
Who owns a private fire service?
A fire/sprinkler service is an asset belonging to the property that it is connected to.
Importantly this may include some pipes under footpaths, roads or under nearby land. All of this pipework belongs to the owner of the fire/sprinkler service. Where fire pipework is connected to multiple properties, the service is owned by the first connected property – this is often also known as a private main.
The sharing of costs associated with private main pipework is by agreement with the fire service owner (usually the first property). Yarra Valley Water is not involved in the cost sharing arrangements for private mains.
With the exception of some fire sprinkler services, all new fire/sprinkler services are metered.
Metering is necessary to enable accurate measurement of the water used in testing or lost in leakage. The meter also helps us to manage potential backflow risks. Any water that passes through a meter is billed. It is therefore important for the service owner to actively manage leakage, prevent inappropriate use and work with a fire service consultant to ensure appropriate testing processes and system settings.