VIC Building owners and tenants are governed by the essential safety measures provisions contained in the Building Regulations. Some building owners and occupiers are unaware of the obligations that have been enacted in June 2009, namely that all buildings old and new will require the owner to sign an ‘Annual Essential Safety Measures Report ’ for the previous 12 months every year. All buildings (except houses) require the Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (AESMR) every 12 months, for the proceeding 12 months, regardless of when it was built stating that all essential safety measures have been inspected and are functioning.
/ WHO MANDATES ESSENTIAL SAFETY MEASURES?
When a building is constructed or altered, upon completion of the building works, the building surveyor will either issue an Occupancy Permit or a Certificate of Final Inspection. Both of these documents will contain a list of essential safety measures.
/ WHERE DO ESSENTIAL SAFETY MEASURES COME FROM?
The Building Regulations 2006 in Part 12 nominates Table I1.1 to I1.11 of Volume 1 (Commercial Buildings) of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) as the essential safety measures applicable for all buildings except for artificial lighting. Also included are mechanical ventilation systems, items specified in alternative solutions by the building surveyor and items nominated under previous regulations.
/ WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL SAFETY MEASURES?
Essential safety measures can either be active or passive. Examples of active systems are sprinkler systems, emergency lighting, mechanical ventilation and smoke alarm systems. Examples of passive systems are fire resisting materials, fire windows, paths of travel to an exit and fire isolated stairs. Most passive essential safety measures items in a building are not well known, since there can be design safety features or structural elements built into the fabric of the building such as fire control joints and fire indices, or building element safety features such as discharge from exits into a public space, that are not often used, but are still incorporated in the AESMR.