AUST – HENDRY building surveyors advise that the Building Regulations and Building Code of Australia (BCA) under Part G1, Clause G1.2 ‘Refrigerated chambers, strong rooms and vaults’ sets out safety criteria for the safe operation of refrigerated chambers (cool room/freezers). These provisions are ignored by building owners and building managers frequently during occupation but are required at the building permit stage.

Building Compliance System

During a building audit and various building regulation inspections (such as essential safety measures, BCA audits, due diligence audits or fire safety audits) undertaken by HENDRY and Essential Property Services, our staff become aware of situations in a number of buildings that are unsafe for the occupants of a building.

While legislation concerning the maintenance of essential safety measures around Australia does not allow for ‘directions’ to be used to force an existing building to comply with the current Building Code of Australia, a statutory authority (in most instances, the local council) can force the owner of an existing building to comply with current building regulations, usually via a building notice or similar instrument under the building regulations.

The following photographs depict various situations that don’t comply with the current building regulations and provisions of the BCA under clause G1.2.

Building Code of Australia

In part clause G1.2 states:

G1.2 Refrigerated chambers, strong-rooms and vaults

(a) A refrigerated or cooling chamber, strongroom or vault which is of sufficient size for a person to enter must have –

(i) a door which is capable of being opened by hand from inside without a key; and

(ii) internal lighting controlled only by a switch which is located adjacent to the entrance doorway inside the chamber, strongroom or vault; and

(iii) an indicator lamp positioned outside the chamber, strongroom or vault which is illuminated when the interior lights required by (a)(ii) are switched on; and

(iv) an alarm that is –

(a) located outside but controllable only from within the chamber, strongroom or vault; and

(b) able to achieve a sound pressure level outside the chamber, strongroom or vault of 90 dB(A) when measured 3m from the sounding device.

Summary

The building owner and occupier may be at risk to statutory (building regulations) and civil litigation if someone using the refrigerated chamber is unable to escape due to the presence of locking devices; also an inadequate audible sound system contributes to their injuries or worse. Civil litigation would easily reveal that the refrigerated chamber does not comply to current safety standards (community expectations) when compared with the current BCA provisions of the building regulations, especially when signing the Annual Statement certifying compliance.

Building Legislation Table

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Fire Safety Compliance: Essential Safety Measures

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