VIC – Essential Property Services advises that maintenance requirements for essential safety measures over successive generations of Building Regulations have been almost non-existent until a major amendment occurred to the Victoria Building Regulations 1994 by the inclusion of Part 11 “Maintenance” with subsequent amendments.

Current Situation

Part 12 of the Building Regulations 2006, effective 13 June 2006 categorises all buildings (excluding houses or out buildings) as either Subdivision 1, Subdivision 2 or Subdivision 3 buildings for the purpose of maintaining essential safety measures.  This Part places obligations on the owner/ agent of a building to ensure “essential safety measures” are being maintained to a prescribed standard.

Subdivision 1

Subdivision 1 buildings are either new buildings constructed after 1 July 1994 (existing buildings which have undergone alterations since 1 July 1994, these buildings are classified as Subdivision 1 and 2).  Subdivision 1 buildings have each individual essential safety measure specified by a building surveyor when occupancy permits or maintenance determinations are issued listing each essential safety measure with their inspection frequencies and maintenance performance requirements.  Records of these functions should be kept in a “logbook” which then allows the owner/ agent to compile and sign the Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (AESMR).  Occupancy permits must be displayed in a prominent location or as directed by the relevant building surveyor.  Building owner/ property manager must supply evidence of maintenance (i.e. logbooks, test reports, etc.) once 24 hours’ notice has been received by council or the Fire Brigade.

In a number of buildings, multiple AESMRs will be required – one for every determination issued.  The municipal or private building surveyor can now amalgamate the maintenance conditions of the occupancy permits/ certificates of final inspection/ determinations to create one anniversary date for the entire building.

Subdivision 2

Subdivision 2 buildings are buildings that existed prior to July 1994 and have not been altered since.

The owner must decide the method each essential safety measure is maintained to fulfil its purpose and must ensure each essential safety measure is not removed from its approved location except for the purpose of maintenance or in accordance with the Building Regulations.

Subdivisions 1 and 2

Existing buildings which have undergone building works since July 1994 are classified as Subdivision 1 and 2 buildings and the legislative provisions for Subdivision 1 and Subdivision 2 apply to these buildings.

Subdivision 3

The occupier of a building can now be fined in addition to the building owner should the exit doors, paths of travel to exits and any exit path of travel on the allotment from exits to a road, not be readily accessible, functional and clear of obstruction.

Also an occupier of a Class 2 (apartment) or Class 3 residential building (not a house or apartment) such as boarding house, hostel, accommodation for the aged/ people with disabilities and residential parts of hotel, motel, school and detention centre, require associated swimming pool and spa safety barriers to be maintained and operational at all times.

Application

Essential safety measure provisions are applicable to all Class 1b, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 buildings (in leased premises the owner and tenant is responsible for compliance under the regulations).

Recommendations

Subdivision 1 Buildings

i. Obtain all relevant certificate of occupancy permits, determinations, Certificate of Final Inspections and display in the approved location nominated by the relevant building surveyor if stated as such.

ii. Record all inspections, maintenance works performed, name and address of person performing maintenance work on an essential safety measure in a general logbook which is to be provided with 24 hours’ notice to the relevant authority (council or chief officer).  (An individual essential safety measure may require its own specific logbook under a specified Standard).

iii. Arrange for AESMR to be signed by the owner/ agent and be available to a municipal building surveyor or chief officer at any time within receiving 24 hours’ notice.

Subdivision 2 Buildings

i. Record all inspections and maintenance works performed in a form of a logbook similar to above.

ii. Arrange for AESMR to be signed by the owner/ agent and be available to a municipal building surveyor at any time within receiving 24 hours’ notice (first AESMR is due 13 June 2009 and yearly after that).

Subdivision 1 and 2 Buildings

i. Buildings classified as Subdivision 1 and 2 must comply with provisions of both Subdivisions 1 and 2.  Logbooks must reflect the statutory regulations applicable under each Subdivision.

Subdivision 3 Buildings

i. Record all inspections and maintenance works performed in a form of a logbook similar to above.

ii. Arrange for AESMR to be signed by the owner/ agent and be available to a municipal building surveyor at any time within receiving 24 hours’ notice (first AESMR is due 13 June 2009 and yearly after that).

Fire Safety Compliance: Essential Safety Measures

Refer to our Essential Safety Measures Identification table for further information on individual Essential Safety Measures including AS 1851 requirements for As Built Drawings.

Further Advice

For further advice, please contact the Essential Property Services office by clicking here.