Technical Advisory: Chris Scully | Author: Kieran Balmaceda

Many hands work diligently to keep buildings operational, safe and efficient. As a result, regulations and guidelines are needed to tightly control standards of quality across any and all work and maintenance carried out.

These rules however are not static. Laws, codes, regulations and guidelines at all levels of the building and construction industry are updated regularly to reflect our understanding of best practice.

To complicate matters further, states may also make changes to State Specific iterations or rules and regulations. This is exactly what South Australia has recently done to Form 3 requirements. Let’s break down what that means for you.

What is Form 3?

Safety Measures, or Essential Safety Provisions in South Australia, present one of the largest burdens of proof when it comes to certifying maintenance and resting carried out across the myriad of systems and structures a given building contains.

The Form 3 is an annual requirement, specifically for buildings built after 1991. Ministers Specification SA76 specifies that building owners or an agent acting on behalf of the owner “must provide annual maintenance verification to council not later than 60 business days after the end of each calendar year that the required maintenance and testing have been carried out.”

If a building is built before 1991, owners are still required to maintain a “Logbook pursuant to Part 59 of the Building Regulations 1973.”

Each maintenance contractor must list on the Form 3 all outstanding defects pending rectification, inclusive of critical defects, non-critical defects and non-conformances as of the 31st of December each year.

Ministers Specification SA76, first published in 2015, Form 3 applies for all Class 1b–9c buildings with a gross building area greater than 500sq.m. Without a current Form 3, buildings must not be used, so any gaps or inconsistencies in your submissions could leave your premises potentially unoccupied for some time.

What’s new to Form 3?

First of all, to maintain transparency; each maintenance contractor must individually fill out the Form 3(s) and sign a declaration for the measures they have maintained, including details of their competency to conduct the maintenance, such as educational, training and/or licencing details.

Previously, owners could place responsibility for the engagement of contractors and the rectification of defects onto their tenants. The new Form 3 process mandates that owners remain fully informed of the compliance status of their buildings by signing the building owner’s verification on each and every Form 3 document issued for their building

Whilst owners can still delegate the responsibility by engaging maintenance providers and payment of fees associated with Essential Safety Provisions, the ultimate responsibility for the compliance of the building still lies with the property owner. The buck, therefore, stops with them and only the owner, building manager or authorised representative of the owner are permitted to sign the Form 3 owners verification statement.

Playing by the rules

If you’re involved in any aspect of the construction or maintenance of a building, you’ll know the importance of ensuring that your work and the work of your colleagues and contractors will stand up to scrutiny not only now, but in the long term.

Hendry recommends that property owners and their building managers consider engaging independent experts in Essential Safety Provisions compliance to conduct annual onsite audits of their facilities. This will help to ensure that the requirements of the Form 3 process are being adhered to by all parties, with the Form 3 signed off on the owners’ behalf by a competent person and submitted to the LGA to satisfy legislative requirements.

Contact Mike Jones, Head of our National Safety Measures team, to get started.

Mike Jones
National Operations Manager:
Safety Measures