AUST – Essential Property Services advises building owners and managers that there are a number of checks and balances required when selecting and engaging maintenance contractors to undertake maintenance and testing of essential safety measures nominated in a building surveyor‘s determination/schedule. While sound maintenance contractor selection processes will not generate revenue, mistakes in selecting the wrong contractor for maintaining and testing your essential safety measures like fire protection systems could be costly.

Owners and managers should make themselves fully aware of the minimum standards for essential safety measures and engage suitable specialist maintenance contractors (SMC) to provide inspections and testing at their buildings or facilities. The first step is to implement a system that specifies your requirements of the contractor.

Implement a system for essential safety measures:

Always verify that the SMC you consider for engagement has the credentials to protect your interests:

References

Check that the SMV has references from current contracts at similar scale buildings. Not all SMC’s have the experience or capability to test and maintain essential safety measures in larger scale industrial or high rise commercial buildings, especially full function fire tests.

Licensing

Ensure that the SMC has the appropriate trade licenses for the maintenance of the systems in your buildings or facilities.

Insurance

Ensure that the SMC has sufficient insurance coverage and provide certificates of currency for:

  • Public and Product Liability
  • Professional Indemnity
  • Workers Compensation

One Stop Shop Approach

Avoid using SMC’s that claim they can test, inspect, repair and certify all essential safety measures. It is advisable to always ensure repairs and certification of essential safety measures is independently verified. Many companies will primarily use sub-contractors for the delivery of maintenance services. The risk exposure situation with using SMC’s that use sub-contractors is often unclear – for example, the insurances of the primary contractor may not be valid when sub-contractors are engaged.

Annual Statements for Essential Safety Measures

Ensure that your SMC is contractually required to provide an annual fire safety statement sign-off for the level of testing and standards in order to ensure compliance, and to provide the documented evidence necessaru to support your Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS), Annual Occupiers Statement, or Annual Essential Safety Measures Report.

Contracts

Contracts or service agreements need to be drafted to include maintenance service delivery over a 12 month period.

Further Advice

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