FIJI NEWS

Cheap building materials a concern, says NFA

By Fonua Talei The National Fire Authority (NFA) is very concerned about sub-standard buildings and electrical and firefighting equipment that are being sold at the various outlets. NFA raised its
13 Oct 2012 08:45

By Fonua Talei

The National Fire Authority (NFA) is very concerned about sub-standard buildings and electrical and firefighting equipment that are being sold at the various outlets.
NFA raised its concern after it was determined that sub-standard foil was still being sold despite being declared dangerous by the Ministry of Trade and Commerce  in October 2008 under Section 32 of the Trade Standards and Quality Control Decree 1992.
The sub-standard foils are cheaper but do not comply with the Building Code of Fiji’s requirement of “flammability index of less than 5”.
These sub-standard foils contribute to the rapid spread of fire in the roofs and ceiling as observed by fire officers. NFA chief executive Officer John O’Connor said sub-standard foils are specified as dangerous goods.
“Building foils consist of two layers of aluminium foil bonded to a high density kraft paper using special adhesives. The type of adhesive determines the flammability of the laminate. The majority of building foils imported into Fiji are not made using fire retardant adhesives.
The most common adhesive used is bitumen, a derivative of petroleum, and therefore highly flammable. Any ignition source would result in the rapid spread of fire,” Mr O’Connor said.
Mr O’Connor advises those planning to replace existing ceiling foils and/or to build new buildings to buy foils that comply with Fiji’s Building Code even though they are more expensive than non-compliant sub-standard foils. Consumers can request hardware suppliers to provide labelling or a certificate (MSDS) to confirm the properties and the quality compliance of the foil.
The NFA CEO also highlighted that they are is working with Fiji Electricity Authority and the Ministry of Trade to ensure only quality electrical products, which meets the required standards, are imported into the country.
“Three commercial fires this year resulted from the tube light melting and causing the fire to spread.
“We also have concerns on the standard of firefighting equipment being imported into the country,” Mr O’Connor said.
“NFA is working with fire agents to ensure that only quality firefighting equipment which meet the required standards are imported and sold to consumers.
“NFA would like to advise members of the community to contact NFA’s Structural Fire Safety Department if they are suspicious that these sub-standard equipment are sold at the various outlets.




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