Fire safety in high-rise buildings

Last updated: 9 August 2017

We are making public housing high-rise buildings more fire-safe.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) reports

The MFB made recommendations in two reports following fires at public housing properties at Park Towers, South Melbourne and Napier Street Fitzroy in 2017.

The MFB recommended we:

  • Review staff training in fire and emergency management, including responding to emergencies and use of lifts in emergencies
  • Review policies about not storing combustible material in common areas and on balconies
  • Complete the second state of the 2012 DHHS voluntary fire upgrade (the fire engineering brief), particularly smoke and fire separation of levels and associated stairs
  • Extend sprinkler systems to cover the common areas on all levels
  • Have the DHHS Arson Management Committee review all the recommendations.

What we're doing to make buildings safer

All public housing high-rise buildings have sprinkler systems and smoke alarms.

We review our fire policy for high-rise buildings regularly. Our fire policy meets the relevant requirements of the Building Code of Australia and has been approved by the MFB.

We take our responsibility to provide people with safe and secure accommodation seriously.

To make sure everyone stays safe, we are:

  • Sending tenants a new fire safety information brochure: It will be sent to all tenants or you can download it from the Fire safety for public housing tenants page
  • Holding fire safety public information sessions with the MFB at each high-rise building
  • Addressing the MFB's recommendations.

Public information sessions

We are holding public information sessions at each high-rise building to update residents on fire safety.

Each session starts at 3 pm and is held on the estate:

  • Kensington: 9 August
  • Footscray: 11August
  • Williamstown: 15 August
  • Carlton: 16 August
  • Prahran: 18 August
  • North Melbourne: 22 August
  • South Melbourne: 23 August.

Completed sessions:

  • Fitzroy: 5 July
  • Collingwood: 19 July

For more information on the sessions, contact your local housing office.

Addressing the MFB's recommendations

We are working on the recommendations the MFB made. We meet fortnightly with the MFB, Emergency Management and other stakeholders to consider high-rise fire safety matter.

So far, we are:

  • Hiring a fire engineering consultant to work with the MFB to review and address the recommendations
  • Hiring a fire engineer to review our 2012 fire engineering brief
  • Investigating the best solution to extending the sprinkler systems to cover all common areas
  • Reviewing the fire training for all housing staff
  • Making sure there is a rolling program to review fire safety material for all buildings we own
  • Developing communications to ensure people living in the high-rise buildings understand they must keep common areas clear (storing things in common areas can block evacuation routes).
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