Week 4 no.1 – Sump Pump Cleaning and Draining Melbourne

Sump Pump Repairs And Cleaning

What are sump pumps?

Sump pumps are located in the basement of buildings and are used to drain ground water or leaking water away from the building. Building sump pumps are generally electric and are operated by a float switch; when the water rises, the float switch triggers, the pump starts and drains water from the sump for discharge into the storm water system.

Key Places You Find Sump Pumps 

  1. Car Park Basements
  2. Lift Shafts
  3. Machinery Rooms
  4. Basements of Buildings
  5. Bin Rooms on lower levels
  6. Utility rooms
  7. Near your fire pump

You will find them in

  • Low level buildings
  • Apartment Buildings
  • High Rise Buildings

Key Parts That Need Service 

The sump pump system includes a number of components and all of these need to be kept in working order. Here are the components which typically require periodic servicing.

  • Sump pump – including inlet basket and the discharge pipe (usually flexible)
  • Float switch – this turns the pump on and off
  • Secondary float switch – optional (sits at a higher level, may be connected to an alarm, to indicate the normal operating system has a problem

We often get call-outs to check the electrical systems associated with Sump Pumps.

How can we help? 

We can help you manage your sump pump through ongoing inspection and periodic testing of the sump pump. This generally means we will clean the sump pit, fill the sump pit with water, check the pump float is working and pump is able to handle water.

These pictures show a pair of sump pumps we inspected last week in Melbourne CBD. The first image is typical of the grimy location of some sump pumps – in this case under a false floor in a disused lift well. The second picture shows a rather smarter set-up in a basement utility room.

Sump Pumps Melbourne

Sump Pumps Melbourne

Sump Pumps Melbourne








Watch this space as we give a bit of a face lift to the one on the left.

Week 3 no.1 – Classes of Buildings

Often we get asked what class of building do we have? All classes of buildings are referenced in the NCC/BCA. Below is an extract of what each class of building is.

Classes of Building 
Class 1 Class 1a A single dwelling being a detached house, or one or more attached dwellings, each being a building, separated by a fire-resisting wall, including a row house, terrace house, town house or villa unit.
Class 1b A boarding house, guest house, hostel or the like with a total area of all floors not exceeding 300m2, and where not more than 12 reside, and is not located above or below another dwelling or another Class of building other than a private garage.
Class 2 A building containing 2 or more sole-occupancy units each being a separate dwelling.
Class 3 A residential building, other than a Class 1 or 2 building, which is a common place of long term or transient living for a number of unrelated persons. Example: boarding-house, hostel, backpackers accommodation or residential part of a hotel, motel, school or detention centre.
Class 4 A dwelling in a building that is Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 if it is the only dwelling in the building.
Class 5 An office building used for professional or commercial purposes, excluding buildings of Class 6, 7, 8 or 9.
Class 6 A shop or other building for the sale of goods by retail or the supply of services direct to the public. Example: café, restaurant, kiosk, hairdressers, showroom or service station.
Class 7 Class 7a A building which is a car park.
Class 7b A building which is for storage or display of goods or produce for sale by wholesale.
Class 8 A laboratory, or a building in which a handicraft or process for the production, assembling, altering, repairing, packing, finishing or cleaning of goods or produce is carried on for trade, sale or gain.
Class 9 A building of a public nature.
Class 9a A health care building, including those parts of the building set aside as a laboratory.
Class 9b An assembly building, including a trade workshop, laboratory or the like, in a primary or secondary school, but excluding any other parts of the building that are of another class.
Class 9c An aged care building.
Class 10 A non-habitable building or structure.
Class 10a A private garage, carport, shed or the like.
Class 10b A structure being a fence, mast, antenna, retaining or free standing wall, swimming pool or the like.
Class 10c A private bushfire shelter.
Type of Construction
Rise in storeys Class of building
2, 3, 9
Class of building
5, 6, 7, 8
4 or more A A
3 A B
2 B C
1 C C

Week 1 no.3 – Smoke Alarms Melbourne

Smoke Alarms Melbourne

We often get called to inspect smoke alarms in Melbourne. We inspect them in homes, apartments and townhouses.

Whilst we mainly work in the commercial space, we do enjoy helping people in their homes with their smoke alarms.

There are two types of smoke alarms used in homes, one type is the “ionisation smoke alarm” the other is a “photoelectric smoke alarm”.

Whilst the photoelectric  is a little more expensive that the ionisation type we only install the photoelectric. They are superior to ionisation as they are more sensitive to larger particles which tend to be produced in greater amounts by smouldering fires. Fires can smoulder for a long period of time before they burst into flames. By alerting occupants at the smouldering stage, the occupants may be able to evacuate before the fire begins.

AS3786 (the standard for domestic smoke alarm installations) requires that all smoke alarms be interconnected. Interconnection means if one alarm goes off, they all go off.

MFE electrician checking exit and emergency lights

Electrician working on switchboard

Replacing outdated smoke alarm









In situations where smoke alarms are not interconnected we are able to use wireless sounder bases so that both smoke alarms will activate in the event of an alarm.

What do we do when we service your smoke alarms?

  1. Check they are under ten years old. If they are over 10 years old they need to be replaced.
  2. Clean the smoke alarm
  3. Replace the 9 Volt battery
  4. Spray some smoke under the alarm and check it operates
  5. Check the smoke alarms are in the correct position within the home

How can we help?

If you need your smoke alarms checked give us a call on 1300 134 971 and we make a booking to attend your home and check your smoke alarms. If they are out of date or not interconnected we will have replacement interconnected smoke alarms in stock, to take care of the replacement for you, on the spot.



Week 1 no.2 – Hydrant Flow Testing

Fire Hydrant Flow Test

Annual Flow Testing of Hydrants

If you are adopting the new AS1851 (2012) in your building and require your annual fire hydrant  flow test we are able to help. We have been flow testing hydrants with highly accurate and calibrated flow testing equipment for many years, including at high rise buildings, factories, schools, health care buildings, apartment blocks & any many others! We are able to flow test your hydrant, produce a report and short video on the spot recording your hydrant performance against the required flow rates; then schedule the test to be done again in 12 months ensuring your piece of mind that it will be done!

We are also able to flow test hydrant pump sets if required. We have the latest in sonic flow testing equipment, making the process simple and pain free. I have attached a quick video (taken on my phone) flow testing a hydrant at a school, to show you how easy flow testing a single fire hydrant on a small building can be.

Five Yearly Flow Testing of Hydrants

We are also able to undertake hydrostatic testing on fire hydrant services. This is generally required every 5 years when a boost test is also required. We own and operate an urban fire pumper truck, ex NSW, allowing us to boost some of the largest buildings in Melbourne. When a boost test is undertaken the truck boosts water from a feed hydrant, into the booster at the “booster point” in front of your building, flowing to the most disadvantaged point, at which location the “assisted pressure and flow” reading is taken.  The assisted pressure and flow is generally 700  kPa @ 10 l/s. Depending on the size of the building a larger flow or additional hydrants may need to operate.

How can we help?

Call us today for your hydrant and hose reel flow testing needs! Ph 1300 134 971

Week 1 no.1 – Fire Alarms

Check out our latest brochure below!

Here is the brochure – REV-05

Fire Alarm Experts Melbourne

We often get calls in relation to the upgrades, maintenance and repairs of fire alarms. This is one of our services. We are specialised electricians who have had years of experience working specifically on fire alarms, whether that is programming, installation or repairs.

Essential Service Building Permit Requirement

In Victoria the replacement, upgrade or repair of any essential service (including fire alarms) requires a building permit. You can read about the requirement for a building permit here



Fire Alarm Melbourne

Fire Alarm Panel, Melbourne CBD

What does this mean if I want to upgrade my fire alarm?

This means that if you want to move some smoke detectors, upgrade your evacuation system or even change the location of a fire panel you need to get a permit. To get a building permit to alter any essential service is a very straight forward process. You will need to either engage a builder or open the permit yourself as an owner builder, engage a drafting contractor or engineer to prepare documentation to support the permit. There can seem like a bit of messing around getting everything lined up to open the permit, but the process is important and contributes to the work itself. It helps ensure that the little details are not missed, and all of the interested parties can be sure they have covered their bases, in the event something goes wrong.


What happens if I don’t get a building permit?

A good example of this we have seen was a client who requested a quote for the upgrade of a non functioning fire panel. We advised the potential client to engage a drafting contractor to document the work that needed to be done, open a building permit and we could quote on this work once the permit process had been undertaken. We offered to project manage this for him, so he didn’t have to do anything. However he choose to take an “easier” route and engage an electrician just to change the fire panel. This all went fine for a few months. But faults started appearing on the fire panel, and we were engaged to investigate. Unfortunately the electrician had done a quick and cheap job and hadn’t quoted to change the old conventional detectors, and these were not listed with the new fire panel. We advised the client of the actions required and that he should call back the original installer to sort this issue out.

There had been quite a bit of messing around and a staff member had advised the council of these issues. The client was consequently issued with a building notice for undertaking work without a building permit. Whilst a building notice is not the end of the world, the client now has to bring the building up to current Australian Standards, requiring the occupant warning system & various other matters to be addressed.

All of this could have been avoided if the client had of sought proper approvals from the start.

Looking to upgrade your essential services?

Why not call MFE and ask us for an obligation free proposal on your upgrade or maintenance requirements! Ph 1300 134 971