QLD – Essential Property Services advises that the maintenance of Special Fire Services and Fire Safety Installations (essential safety measures) emanate from the Building Act 1975, Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 (BFSR)  and Building Regulation 2006 and Queensland Development Code (QDC) and in particular QDC Mandatory Part 6.1 Maintenance of fire safety installations.

Current Situation

The BFSR contains provisions that direct owners, occupiers and persons to test and maintain “special fire services” and “fire safety installations” in existing buildings.

The building permit process through to the issue of a “certificate of classification” is dealt with by the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, Sustainable Planning Regulations 2009, Building Act 1975,  Building Regulations 2006 and Building Code of Australia.

If there is any fire safety installation installed in the building the certifier cannot issue a certificate of classification until a list of the fire safety installations and a drawing showing their location are provided (fire safety installations are defined in Schedule 2 of the Building Act 1975).

Further requirements for referral/ assessment and inspection of fire safety installations prior to approval are identified in Schedule 7 of the Sustainable Planning Regulations 2009.  Fire safety installations that are considered special fire services require referral to the QFRS (special fire services are defined in Schedule 2 of the Building Act 1975).

Once a building is occupied (or alterations complete) the legislation for maintenance and testing of “fire safety installations” is the Queensland Development Code and Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 and the BFSR, these regulations apply to all existing buildings.

MP6.1 of the QDC sets appropriate performance standards for the maintenance of fire safety installations and commenced on the 1 January 2009.

Performance criteria P1 of the QDC requires that prescribed fire safety installations are maintained by appropriately qualified persons. And that maintenance is carried out at intervals that are adequate to ensure the building’s fire safety installations perform to a standard no less than that which they were originally required to meet.

Performance criteria P2 of the QDC states that building occupiers must keep records of maintenance so that compliance with the code is achieved and can be confirmed. An Occupiers Statement must be issued yearly.

Part 4 of the BFSR sets out the requirements for evacuation planning, instruction and practice and requires the occupier to give general evacuation instructions to every person in the building at specified intervals. Further instructions and criteria are required for other types of buildings and particularly high occupancy buildings where a fire safety advisor must be appointed.

Fire and Evacuation Plan

The Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 sets out specific criteria for an occupier to instruct workers (occupiers) on means of escape, fire fighting equipment available and their use, in the form of an evacuation plan and sign(drawings).

Restrictions

An owner/ occupier must be aware that under the Building Regulation where a Certificate of Classification is issued, a building certifier may place restrictions on the use or the occupation of the building.  These restrictions may affect the method/ frequency of inspecting, testing and maintaining fire safety installations.  The owner/ occupier is to implement these conditions.

Application

Applicable to all Class 1b, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and budget accommodation buildings (in leased buildings, “the occupier” is responsible for compliance).

Recommendations

  1. Appoint a fire safety advisor for the high occupancy buildings.
  2. Obtain copies of lists of “fire safety installations” and location drawings provided to the certifier (council) for establishment of known “fire safety installations”.
  3. Ensure statutory requirements of the regulations are met to allow the ‘occupiers statement” to be issued, develop and implement a logbook that reflects the regulation requirements and record all pertinent information leading to the issue of the “certificate of maintenance”.
  4. Lodge a copy of the “occupiers statement” with the Commissioner of the Fire Authority annually.

Building Legislation Table

Refer to our Building Legislation table for further information on the building control process.