ESM-06

Critical Defect Reporting under the BFSR

QLD  Hendry advises that Part 53 of the Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008, and the Queensland Development Code (QDC), makes it mandatory for specialist maintenance contractors or responsible persons to notify commercial building occupiers of a critical defect affecting the fire systems they maintain and test. Occupiers also have obligations under the QDC.

/ DEFINITION OF A CRITICAL DEFECT
Fault/defect/impediment affecting a prescribed fire safety installation for a building that is:

  • Likely to render the installation inoperable; or
  • Reasonably likely to have a significant adverse impact on the safety of occupants of part or all of the building if a fire or hazardous materials emergency happens.

/ EXAMPLES OF A CRITICAL DEFECT

  • A defect making a fire detection and alarm system inoperable
  • A defect in a pump making the fire hydrants for a building inoperable.

/ FAILURE TO NOTIFY IS AN OFFENCE
Under the building legislation it is an offence for a specialist maintenance contractor or responsible person who is undertaking, or has undertaken, maintenance or testing of a prescribed fire safety installation for a building who becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, of a critical defect and does not notify the occupier.

The responsible person or specialist maintenance contractor must give the occupier of the building a notice about the critical defect in the approved form (a critical defect notice) within 24 hours after the person undertakes the maintenance or testing of the prescribed fire safety installation. Ideally the occupier of the building should initially be notified of the critical defect prior to contractor or person inspecting leaving the site.

/ OBLIGATIONS UNDER BFSR AND QDC
Under the BFSR the rectification of any critical defect must be undertaken within 1 month from notification unless there is a reasonable excuse. Without a reasonable excuse, occupiers may be liable for substantial statutory penalties for not rectifying a critical defect.

In accordance with the Queensland Development Code, part MP6.1, the occupier of the building must attach to the relevant Annual Occupier Statement any critical defect notices given within the preceding 12 month period.

An occupiers statement is a prescribed form detailed in the QDC, part MP6.1 and legislated in part 55A of the BFSR.

The occupier of a building must, annually in compliance with QDC, part MP6.1, prepare a statement about the maintenance of each prescribed fire safety installation for the building.

The occupier must, within 10 business days after the relevant anniversary date for the building give the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service a copy of the statement.

The occupier must keep a copy of each occupier statement with the record of maintenance for 2 years after the statement is prepared at a location on site.

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