As a facility or property manager, it is a constant challenge to keep up with the various maintenance compliance aspects and interpretation within the built environment.  Modern managers have more than ever a common law duty of care to ensure the building is safe, maintained and compliant to the relevant requirements.

As requirements have variations from state to state, having a base level of understanding is important.  Below is a state by state description for the essential services maintenance requirements, what the annual compliance sign off is and the correct way to document and store/retain your maintenance records.

This ensures your maintenance contractor is completing the correct maintenance and providing compliant maintenance documentation so the building may be verified for compliance each year.  This also drives a professionalism and quality outcome aspect to ensure buildings perform to not only their design but maximise performance for tenants and owners.

State and Territory defined regulations and legislation.
The building blocks of the state-based defined maintenance regulations are in order of the following hierarchy.
Act – An Act of Parliament, a law or primary legislation.
Regulation – This is authorised by an Act and prescribes the methodology and onus of responsibility to fulfil the Act, noting any applicable penalties to enforce compliance.
Building Code of Australia (BCA) – This is referenced by Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation, setting minimum technical requirements, references to other codes and standards. Australian Standards – Required by law if referenced in regulations or through state authority e.g. AS 1851.2012 Routine service of fire protection equipment.

There is also a common law obligation, which has been promoted by the Fire Protection Association in support of the national adoption of AS1851.2012. In addition to statutory law provisions (Acts/Regulations, codes and standards) it is likely that an individual or a responsible entity (such as the owner, occupier, employer or manager of a building) will have a common law duty of care to maintain fire protection systems and equipment, and to be able to demonstrate that they have met their responsibility.

State-based overviews

Act: Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
Regulation: Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations 2000
Compliance Certificate: Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS), Changed 1 October 2017 –“Competent Fire Safety Practitioner (CFSP)”
Defined Term: Essential Fire Safety Measures
Maintenance Documentation Retention: The requirement of records is not specifically referenced in the EP&A Regs; although from a risk management perspective to cover the onus of the manager, owner and occupier of a building, retaining maintenance documents and logging egress and passive structure inspections fulfils EP&A Regulations.

Building Act 2004. Emergencies Act 2004
Regulation: Building Regulations 2008
Compliance Certificate: Fire safety policies currently under review
Defined Term: previously Essential Services
Maintenance Documentation Retention: Recommend that an Annual Fire Safety Statement be kept onsite.

Fire & Rescue Services Act 1990
Regulation: Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 & Queensland Development Code MP6.1
Compliance Certificate: Occupier Statement
Defined Term: Fire Safety Installations
Maintenance Documentation Retention: Section 55 of the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 specifies mandatory requirements for keeping records of maintenance.

Northern Territory
Northern Territory Building Act, Fire and Emergency Act
Regulation: Northern Territory Building Regulations, Fire and Emergency Regulations
Compliance Certificate: No specific document, reliance on yearly condition report as per AS1851-2012
Defined Term: Building Fire Safety Measures
Maintenance Documentation Retention: Applicable maintenance service records shall be available onsite. Yearly condition report be kept on site

Building Act 1993
Regulation: Building Regulations 2018
Compliance Certificate: Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (AESMR)
Defined Term: Essential Safety Measures (ESM)
Maintenance Documentation Retention: Building Regulations 2018, Part 15 Annual ESM Report (AESMR) to be produced annually and regulation 225 records relating to ESM’s must be made available onsite.  Recommend that the Annual Essential Safety Measures Report be kept onsite.

South Australia
Development Act 1993
Regulation: Development Regulations 2008, Ministers Specification SA76 (2015)
Compliance Certificate: Building Age Specific – Form 3
Defined Term: Essential Safety Provisions
Maintenance Documentation Retention: Minister’s Specification SA 76 part 3 states that in order to ensure every prescribed fire safety element has been identified, inspected and where appropriate any defects have been remedied, it is recommended that a site maintenance record book is retained onsite (covering the essential safety provisions).

Building Act 2016
Regulation: Building Regulations 2016
Compliance Certificate: Annual Maintenance Statement – Previously a Form 56
Defined Term: Essential Building Services
Maintenance Documentation Retention: Recommend that the annual maintenance statement with supporting maintenance records be available onsite.

Western Australia
Western Australian Building Act 2011.
Regulation: Building Regulation 2012. Division2A—Maintenance of Buildings
Compliance Certificate: Maintenance proof required and to support the general duty of care
Defined Term: Safety Measures
Maintenance Documentation Retention: To meet the WA Building Regulation 2012, Division 2A Maintenance; there is a requirement to ensure the safety measures in each part of the building are capable of performing.  To demonstrate this, it is recommended that annual maintenance statement with supporting maintenance records be available onsite.

There are requirements within each Australian Standards for fire associated equipment (AS1851.2012), emergency and exit lighting (AS2293.2) and mechanical systems (AS3666 and AS1851) to retain service records on site.

Compliant records -What is the key information?

  • Description of the installation
  • Confirmation of maintenance carried out by a qualified person (Licence numbers where applicable)
  • Date of works completed
  • Description of what was performed
  • Results of the maintenance –pass/fail, recommendations, repairs, installation in working order, defects
  • As per state regulations, an annual certificate/statement/ yearly condition report may be required

Guidelines for documentation storage

  • Records must available on site
  • Records must be kept for a minimum of 7 years
  • Note –QLD has specific documentation requirements above AS1851

Maintaining each essential safety measure is to ensure the reliability of each component by reducing the risk of failure between scheduled services and to ensure that the building performs to design when required.

Defects identified at the time of routine services should be declared by the appointed contractor as soon as possible, and rectified or resolved by the responsible entity as soon as required. Defect classifications are defined in AS1851-2012 to assist with prioritising defects and time frames to repair.

It is the contractor’s responsibility to declare the defects, and then the responsible entity (the owners, agents, managers) to have the faults repaired. Management transparency along with effective defect reporting is paramount in ensuring all defects and non-conformances are prioritised and actioned.

With all professional building services advice, it is always recommended that you seek specific clarification to any aspect you may be reviewed within your building or portfolio.