Essential Safety Measures Inspections & Auditing

Inspections & Auditing

Essential Safety Measures are the fire and life safety services and materials which are installed or incorporated into a building to ensure adequate levels of egress safety and fire resistance are maintained for the occupants of the building and neighbouring property.  Stakeholders and occupants of buildings have an expectation that Essential Safety Measures installed within their building/s will perform as they are intended and are undergoing required maintenance as applicable.
ESM infrastructure and services within buildings can be described as Passive and Active systems. An essential safety measure is defined under the Building Regulations 2006 as an item listed in Tables I1.1 to I1.11 of Volume One of the BCA, except the item in Table I1.4 relating to artificial lighting.
See below:

AIR HANDLING SYSTEMS (active)

Air Conditioning, Mechanical Ventilation Systems  (including Fire Dampers)
Smoke Control Measures
Stairwell Pressurisation Systems

LIGHTING (active)

Emergency Lighting
Exit Signs

BUILDING FIRE INTEGRITY

Fire Doors
Fire Indices for Materials
Fire Isolated Lift Shafts
Fire Isolated Passageways
Fire Isolated Ramps
Fire Isolated Stairs
Fire Protective Coverings
Fire Rated Control Joints
Fire Rated Materials Applied  to Building Elements
Fire Rated Access Panels
Fire Resisting Shafts
Fire Resisting Structures
Fire Shutters
Fire Windows
Lightweight Construction
Penetrations in Fire Rated Structures
Smoke Doors (fire passages)

BUILDING CLEARANCE AND FIRE APPLIANCES

Vehicular Access for Large Isolated Buildings

OCCUPANT WARNING SYSTEMS

Emergency Warning & Intercommunication Systems

SIGNS

Warning Systems Associated with Lifts
Evacuation Procedure

FIRE FIGHTING SERVICES & EQUIPMENT

Fire Control Centres
Fire Extinguishers
Fire Hose Reels
Fire Hydrants and Mains
Sprinkler Systems
Static Water Storage (sprinkler system only)

MEANS OF EGRESS

Exit Doors
Paths of Travel to Exits

STANDBY POWER SUPPLY SYSTEMS

Emergency Power Supply

AUTOMATIC FIRE DETECTION & ALARM SYSTEMS

Fire Detectors & Alarm Systems  & Fire Brigade Connections Fire Control Panels

ANNUAL FULL FUNCTION FIRE TEST

Testing and interfacing of all active systems


































What types of buildings are affected?

All buildings other than a house or outbuilding are affected.
These include the following Classes as defined in the Building Code of Australia:
Class 1b: Some boarding houses, guest houses or hostels
Class 2: Buildings containing sole-occupancy unit (e.g. apartments, blocks of flats)
Class 3: Backpacker accommodation, residential parts of hotels or motels, residential parts of schools, accommodation for the aged, disabled or children
Class 5: Offices for professional or commercial purposes
Class 6: Shops or other buildings for sale of goods by retail cafés, restaurants, milk bars, dining rooms, and bars
Class 7: Buildings used as car parks, for storage or display of goods.
Class 8: Laboratories or buildings for production or assembly of goods
Class 9: Public buildings such as health care buildings or assembly buildings, nightclubs, bars etc.

So I have ESM's within my Building, What are my obligations?

If you have identified ESM's within your building, the first step is to understand your obligations to comply with the legislation regarding maintenance of those ESM's.
An Owner of a building or place of public entertainment must ensure that an Annual Essential Safety Measures report is prepared in accordance with Regulation 1209 or 1215 to ensure any essential safety measure provided within that building has been maintained in accordance with the relevant Australian Standards and Codes.
In the case of the first report, it must be issued before 13th June 2009 and in the case of each subsequent report, before each anniversary of 13th June 2009.

What are my responsibilities?

Councils have a responsibility under building legislation for the enforcement of building safety within their municipality. Building owners, property managers, facility managers & maintenance contractors have an obligation to ensure that an essential safety measure, piece of safety equipment, fitting or other safety measure is maintained so that it operates satisfactorily.

Buildings built before 1 July 1994

(see below for renovations or alterations)
If your building was built before 1 July 1994, you are required to prepare an annual essential safety measures report. You are responsible for ensuring that any safety equipment, safety fittings or safety measures are maintained and fulfilling their purpose. This includes exits and paths of travel to exits. It is also advised that you keep records of maintenance checks, safety measure and repair work be kept so a municipal building surveyor or chief officer of the fire brigade can inspect them. These documents must be made available to the municipal building surveyor or the chief officer within 24 hours of notification.

Buildings constructed or altered since 1 July 1994

If your building was constructed or altered after 1 July 1994, the list of essential safety measures, including their performance level, frequency and type of maintenance required would be included with your occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection.
You are required to prepare an annual essential safety measures report on the buildings essential safety measures. You may choose to engage specialist maintenance contractors to assist in the preparation of the report. Owners are required to:
• Display all current occupancy permits. This document can be framed, placed in a sealed, transparent or glass covered notice board or for multiple pages, the pages may be laminated so they can be suspended or fixed to the building
• Place it in a prominent position as approved by the building surveyor
• Check with your building surveyor to determine when compliance is required
• The annual essential safety measures report is to be in accordance with the approved form (copies of this form are available from the Building Commission website)
• All essential safety measure reports and records of maintenance checks, safety measure and repair work are to be kept on the premises for inspection and must be made available for inspection with 24 hours of notification.
• The agent of the owner may complete the annual safety measures report if written delegation is provided.
By meeting these requirements you as the owner will have greater knowledge of the safety of your building and the system of building maintenance is transparent.

What happens if an owner doesn't comply?

The Municipal Building Surveyor or chief officer of the relevant fire brigade is responsible for the enforcement of these Regulations.
Non-compliance may result in an infringement notice issued by Council or the Fire Brigade up to $1000 and furthermore, non compliance may result in prosecution in which a fine may be imposed of $10,000 for an individual or $50,000 for companies for each breach of the Regulations. More importantly, non-compliance could place not only building occupants at risk but also those of passers-by and the occupants of adjoining buildings.
Adequate maintenance is the best means of ensuring that fire safety systems will operate reliably if an emergency arises.
Non-compliance may result in a fine of up to $10,000 for individuals or $50,000 for companies.

DJM Inspections & Auditing

Certification of ESM maintenance is required annually. DJM is well resourced with experienced personnel to both advise and undertake thorough audits of maintenance logbooks, maintenance recording systems and onsite inspection of passive building elements within any type of building listed above. We can also attend Full Function Fire Tests upon request to observe the interfacing of active fire systems within any facility.

DJM Certification

If all contractor documents are in accordance with the relevant Standards and the passive ESM elements within the building are maintained in good condition, DJM will issue a site specific Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (Regulation 1209/1215 sign off) on behalf of the Owner, stating that the building is in accordance with the Essential Safety Measures Requirements of the Building Regulations. This report must then be mounted in a prominent position within the facility and produced upon request by the Chief Officer or Municipal Building Surveyor.
Conversely if any non-compliance is noted throughout the audit, a preliminary or conditional report can be issued highlighting contractor maintenance shortcomings & defects noted within the building.

If your ESM record keeping systems do not allow you to manage maintenance requirements, contractors and compliance, DJM also offer a site specific ESM management manual which contains the latest ESM regulatory information, maintenance scheduling & contractor testing sheets to ensure maintenance tracking and the annual sign off for your facility are a smooth process each and every year.

Remember..

The Building Owner is ultimately responsible for the buildings upkeep and maintenance, particularly its safety features and essential safety measures.

DJM Building Consultants Pty Ltd
Suite 8, 24 Lakeside Drive Burwood Victoria 3125

Telephone: 9887 7990
FAX: 9887 9660
E-mail: djm@djmbc.com.au