Minimise Building Risk Through Servicing and Accreditation
As a result of recent concerns over combustible cladding, there is heightened concern over building safety, containment and occupant safety. Particularly concerning building fires. Additionally, you may desire an encompassing view of a building’s risk profile. This includes safety features maintenance and assurance of reliable, competent service delivery.
In this breakdown, we’ll walk through key responsibilities of building owners and facility managers to effectively fulfil legal obligations to building safety. Ultimately, you must guarantee that all safety measures and features throughout your buildings can reliably fulfil their intended purpose. Fulfilling these obligations ensure that you maximise your occupants’ life safety.
Table of Contents
Your responsibilities in maintaining your building risk profile
Consider the following:
- How confident are you in the reliability and readiness of your building’s fire safety systems?
- What happens if or when there is a fire?
- Is your contractor reliable? Are you confident of their competency or qualifications?
- Where are your buildings exposed to liability? Can you rectify that?
- How are you optimising processes to minimise disruption and cost?
These questions feed into your responsibilities as a facility manager or building owner. Responsibilities include maintaining your risk profile and mitigating risk and emergency factors.
Testing requirements for building risk
The bulk of your preventative response is in the regular inspection, testing and certification of safety features and equipment throughout your site. This includes:
- Building fire integrity
- Means of egress
- Fire-fighting services and equipment
- Air handling systems
- Automatic fire-detection and alarm systems
- Occupant warning systems
- Standby power supply systems
- Building clearance and fire appliances
- Building use and application
Inspection and testing are crucial processes designed to cover wear and tear, reliability, general housekeeping and documenting and addressing faults.
Testing intervals for building risk
Inspection, testing and maintenance of safety elements can occur at any interval. Australian Standard AS 1851-2012 specifies the intervals between monthly and 30-yearly. Intervals depend on the element undergoing inspection or testing.
Requirements may differ to a certain degree between states. As a result, we recommend getting in touch with a registered safety measures practitioner, fire safety technician or building assessor. A good practitioner can help you understand your obligations and devise an optimal way to manage your obligations under the law.
Guaranteeing competency and quality
Contractors are an important resource to coordinate. Moreover, it is in your best interest to find a provider that can prove their competency. In addition, your provider should guarantee the reliability of their work and assessment.
This may not appear simple. But guidelines give you a framework to satisfy these concerns. Like the following from the Victorian Building Authority.
They state that a ‘competent person’ is an individual ‘who has acquired – through training, qualification or experience (or a combination of them) – the knowledge and skills enabling the person to perform the task correctly.’
However, not all qualifications are the same. So you should consider their qualifications, training and experience relevant to the task you’d like them to perform.
A membership with and accreditation by the Fire Protection Association of Australia is another strong indicator of competency and a reliable track record.
Effectively coordinate people and resources
Risk management and response occurs across 3 key participant groups. Of these, 2 are dependent on the actions of building owners and facility management.
Building owners and managers
You have a responsibility to ensure you follow all procedures and applicable legislation. You must also coordinate technicians and occupiers to aid in meeting these responsibilities.
Technicians are contractors or service providers that test, maintain and report on the integrity of safety elements. They work according to building regulations or legislative criteria, including the Building Code of Australia (BCA). As a building owner or manager, you must guarantee that your supplier can meet a demonstrable standard of competency and quality.
Occupiers are tenants, staff and other groups who utilise or frequent the building. You’ll need to coordinate with them according to emergency management plans in an emergency. Training is also a major factor here. Life safety depends on emergency preparedness and the ability to direct occupants.
It is your responsibility to develop and maintain robust safety systems that align with leading industry practices. No matter the circumstance. Hendry’s registered practitioners can conduct the range of necessary inspections, testing and verification. We guarantee reliable and efficient safety features for the long term.