License article

Call to end exemption on fire safety

Fire safety experts want to end a building code exemption that allows apartments lower than 25 metres to be built without sprinklers and other safety measures.

''We need to make sure that when people go to bed at night in their apartment they feel safe,'' Scott Williams, the chief executive of the Fire Protection Association, said.

The association and groups representing engineers and fire brigades, will study the feasibility of changing the Building Code of Australia.

Under the code, safety features such as pressurised stairwells and sprinkler systems are mandatory only in apartment buildings above 25 metres.

The issue was highlighted by a September fire in a Bankstown apartment block, which killed 21-year-old Connie Zhang, pictured.

Fairfax Media revealed the apartment block did not have a sprinkler system because it was 11 centimetres below the 25-metre threshhold.

Mr Williams said developers were building apartments below the threshhold to cut costs.

Stephen Goddard, a lawyer and chairman of the Owners Corporation Network said fire safety codes were of secondary importance, so long as some certifiers continued to approve defective buildings.