Essential Fire Safety Measures (ESM) are defined as the fire and life safety systems installed or constructed in buildings to ensure adequate levels of safety for occupants in the event of a fire or emergency. When the construction of a building is complete, the building owner is responsible for the integrity and maintenance of the safety features and essential safety measures.
Each State and Territory has defined building regulations and legislation designed to ensure the safety of occupants and the public throughout the life of the building. Varying levels of mandatory maintenance, testing, or inspection of active and passive fire systems are required to ensure operational performance in the event of an emergency.
Act: Development Act 1993.
Regulation: Development Regulations 1993, Ministers Specification SA76.
Compliance Certificate: Certificate of compliance with maintenance procedures for essential safety provisions Form 3 (for some buildings prior to 1991, SA 59 applies & relates to on-site documentation).
The Development Regulations 2008 Regulation 76 (Essential Safety Provisions) states the relevant authority’s and owners’ responsibilities and applies in relation to a building in which essential safety provisions are installed and to be inspected, tested, or maintained under the Building Code or any former regulations under the Building Act 1971.
The building owner and or occupier has a responsibility to ensure all Essential Safety Provisions are being properly maintained and tested.
An annual Certificate of Compliance (Schedule 16 Form 3) should be provided when the owner or an agent of the owner can ensure that each essential safety provision is being tested and maintained in accordance with the Schedule of Essential Safety Provisions (Schedule 16 Form 1) issued for the building.
Act: Building Act 1993.
Regulation: Building Regulations 2018
Compliance Certificate: Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (AESMR)
Under the Victorian Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2018, building owners, have the responsibility, regardless of the age of the building, to ensure that all essential safety measures, pieces of safety equipment, fittings, or other safety measures that relate to their building are maintained in order to perform as designed.
To qualify this maintenance requirement, an Annual Essential Safety Measures Report is required to be issued by the owner. The owner may elect to appoint an agent to complete the AESMR on their behalf.
An AESMR shall be prepared annually before the anniversary date of the building’s occupancy permit.
For buildings constructed before 1 July 1994, an AESMR shall be prepared within 28 days before 13 June each year.
Local Councils and fire authorities have the responsibility under current legislation to enforce building regulations for increased safety. Under the Building Regulations 2018, penalties have increased for non-compliance.
Act: Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Regulation: Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations 2000
Compliance Certificate: Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS)
Under the requirements of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, a building owner or building owners representative is required to prepare and submit an AFSS for the building to the Local Council and the NSW Fire Brigade. Ther AFSS certifies that all installed Essential Fire Safety Measures have been inspected, have been assessed by a competent fire safety practitioner and was found, when it was assessed, to be capable of performing to a standard no less than that specified in the schedule, or to which the measure was originally designed and implemented, and the building has been inspected by a competent fire safety practitioner and was found, when it was inspected, to be in a condition that did not disclose any grounds for prosecution under Division 7.
Councils can impose fines for failing to submit an AFSS by the required due date and for each week thereafter until the AFSS is received.
Act: Fire & Rescue Services Act 1990.
Regulation: Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 & Queensland Development Code MP6.1- Maintenance of fire safety installations. (Amended 1 July 2014)
Compliance Certificate: Occupier Statement.
State Legislation and Regulations relating to the maintenance of fire safety installations were regulated in Queensland in 1992.
Queensland Development Code MP6.1 was introduced in 2008 and introduced on 1/1/2009 to set appropriate performance standards for maintenance of fire safety installations for the safe occupation of buildings and specify the maintenance records required.
Building owners, managers, and tenants must have a current Occupier Statement which ensures that the fire safety installations are maintained in order to operate as designed and for the safe occupation of buildings.
Penalties for failure to comply with the maintenance code remain in the Building Act 1975 and the Fire and Rescue Act 1990.
Act: Building Act 2016.
Regulation: Building Regulations 2016.
Compliance Certificate: No formal annual certification required.
The (Tasmanian) Building Act 2016, the Building Regulations 2016, and Plumbing Regulations 2016 made under the Act, commenced on 21st December 2016.
With the introduction of the Building Regulation 2016, the requirement of having an annual assessment and display of an Annual Certification (Form 56) has been removed.
The requirement that has been introduced is building owners are responsible for making available or having created a maintenance schedule for each site. With new or altered buildings the new schedule would normally be a Form 46. For older buildings or instances where a schedule cannot be located, a Building Surveyor will have to be engaged to create a schedule in line with the Directors Maintenance of Prescribed Essential Services Determination December 2016
The alteration has been made to ensure all building owners are aware of what essential safety measures are required to be maintained, in place of signing off on a document that gave no guidance to the owner as to what needs to be maintained and to what standard or frequency.
AESC continues to undertake inspections to fulfill the owner’s obligations for 3 monthly inspections of egress and annual passive structural items, with an annual certificate issued to qualify the owner’s obligations in fulfilling the Building Regulations 2016.
Currently, in WA/NT/ACT there is no requirement for an annual certification for essential safety measures installed in buildings. Although; it should be noted that current applicable O.H. & S legislation does apply and building owners and managers are responsible for the health and safety of all occupants and visitors in their buildings.
Therefore the owner and or the occupier of a building (or place of public entertainment) should ensure that all essential safety measures are maintained in a state which enables them to fulfill their designed specification and functionality.