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Essential safety measures

The Building Regulations 2006 requires the building owner to maintain all fire safety fittings, fire safety equipment and safety features installed in a building, irrespective of when the building was constructed, for the life of the building.

The purpose is to ensure the safe evacuation of all occupants in an emergency and to control the spread of fire so the building and the adjoining buildings can be saved.

It is an on-going responsibility for the owner to maintaining the fire safety features of a building during its lifetime; not the responsibility of the tenant or lessee. 

What buildings are affected?

  • Class1b – small boarding house, guesthouse.
  • Class 2 – flats, block of apartments.
  • Class 3 – boarding houses, lodging houses, residential part of a school, hotel, and aged accommodation.
  • Class 5 – office for professional or commercial purpose.
  • Class 6 – shop or other building for sale of goods by retail, café, restaurant, milk bar, dining room, bar.
  • Class 7 – building used as a public building used for a car park, storage or display of goods.
  • Class 8 – laboratory or a building for production or assembly of goods.
  • Class 9 – a public building, such as a health care building or assembly building. 

What are essential safety measures?

Essential safety measures are defined under regulation 1202 as:

  • air conditioning systems                   
  • emergency lifts and lighting
  • fire windows
  • exit doors and exit signs
  • mechanical ventilation systems
  • emergency power supply
  • fire isolated stairs, passageways, ramps
  • fire control centres
  • fire rated materials
  • fire and smoke doors
  • path of travel to exits
  • emergency warning
  • smoke alarms
  • inter-communication system
  • smoke control systems
  • fire detectors and alarm system
  • sprinkler systems
  • fire extinguishers.

What do the building regulations require the building owner to do?

For buildings constructed after 1 July 1994, Part 12 of the Building Regulations 2006 requires the building owner to:

  • Display the occupancy permit for the building.
  • Prepare an annual essential safety measures report before each anniversary of the relevant anniversary date and make the report available at the building or place for inspection by the municipal building surveyor or chief officer at any time on request after 24 hours notice. (The relevant anniversary date means the date of issue of the occupancy permit or the date of making of the maintenance determination OR if more than one occupancy permit or maintenance determination or both is issued or made, the earliest date of issue or making of those documents.)
  • Keep on the premises, details of the annual essential safety measures reports and records of maintenance checks, service and repair work. (Logbooks)

Note: The municipal building surveyor or the chief officer of the relevant fire brigade will randomly check this documentation and penalties for non-compliance apply.

What about buildings constructed before 1 July 1994?

For buildings constructed before 1 July 1994, Part 12 of the Building Regulations 2006 requires the building owner to:

  • Ensure that all safety equipment, safety fitting and safety measures required in that building are regularly maintained.
  • Ensure that all exits and paths of travel to exits are maintained and kept clear of all obstructions. (This is also the responsibility of the occupier.)
  • Ensure an annual essential safety measures report is prepared and made available for inspection by the municipal building surveyor or chief fire officer.

For more detailed information please refer to the VBA website.