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.
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.
Act: 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.
Act: 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.
Act: 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
Act: 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.
Act: 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).
Act: 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.
Act: 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.
In the wake of the NSW Government’s announcements of major reforms to the state’s fire safety and building regulations last month, FPA Australia has prepared a set of Frequently Asked Questions that explain what the reforms are, and what fire protection professionals need to do as a result.
A key point of confusion for many is what will happen after the reforms come into force on 1 October, but before the NSW Government recognises an accreditation scheme for ‘competent fire safety practitioners’. The FAQ answers this question.
The NSW reforms are still evolving, and there are several key developments yet to come. The FAQ will be continually updated to reflect the latest information as it becomes available.
These reforms are possibly the most important change to the fire protection industry in decades, and FPA Australia is working closely with government and industry to ensure the reforms both improve fire safety outcomes and are practical for the industry.
Upcoming changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (the regulations) that become effective 1 October 2017, will impact building owners who are required to issue fire safety statements for their buildings.
The attached fact sheet outlines the current and proposed systems for the preparation of fire safety statements in NSW.
Building owners still has the option of engaging a “Competent Fire Safety Practitioner” (CFSP)
Rest assured, AESC is working with all Government and Industry bodies to ensure we continue to encompass all of the required competencies and aim to achieve the newly proposed accreditation.
Should you require any further advice or guidance in this matter please contact our office on 1300 237 200.
Victorian Building Regulations have been amended (Building Amendment Regulations 2016) to enable the adoption of the Standard AS1851-2012, at the discretion of the building owner.
With the amendment; Part 1205A, building owners and managers are now enabled in a simple and cost effective manner, to adopt the latest fire protection maintenance standard. The amendment allows AS1851-2012 to be adopted and supersede all other referenced AS1851 editions listed in issued occupancy permits or certificates of final inspection.
The Victorian Building Authority has not yet released an amended Practice Note to qualify the implementation of the amendment.
The Standard AS1851-2012 has been amended as of November 2016, removing some baseline requirements that were not required at the time of installation or alteration of fire services or at time of construction.
- The adoption of AS1851-2012 is not mandatory.
- Once adopted, a building owner must continue to apply AS 1851-2012.
- The process of adoption, relevant documentation required and annual contractor certification requirements are described under Section 1 and in each other relevant part of the Standard.
- Where an essential safety measures (ESM) schedule does not list AS1851 as a referenced standard for maintenance, the adoption is not relevant. This would include egress items, measures relating to evacuation procedures, emergency and exit lighting and in some cases, passive items.
- As a part of the amended regulatory requirement, the adoption of AS1851-2012 has to be noted on the issued Annual Essential Safety Measures Report; a relatively simple process given pending cost savings (e.g. for sprinkler systems and fire doors) and simplicity of adoption.
- The Standard is performance based – to the approved design of the system. If the system performance requirements are unknown, they will have to be established.
- There is no requirement to upgrade plant and equipment to comply with the Standard routine service lists.
- All service records have to be left in hard copy on site on completion of each service routine.
- Some additional data that was required such as valve and gauge registers, passive FRL drawings and an interface diagram have been removed with the As1851-2012 amendment
- Individual contractors are required to supply an annual condition report, to assist with annual building regulatory compliance.
- The Standard has been re-structured to remove regulatory and compliance ambiguity, and qualifying the terms critical defects, non-critical defects and non-conformances.
- Where static water systems are installed, there is a separate section of AS1851-2012 which should be implemented. While static water systems may not be a specifically listed item on an ESM schedule, they form a component of the hydrant or sprinkler systems.
- There is now a dedicated section for Emergency Planning in Facilities. Utilising this part of the standard is not mandatory as yet. Mindful there is still an obligation to have evacuation management in place in line with OH & S obligations
- Particular attention should be made to Section 1 – Scope and General Information for processes of adoption and clarification of points is clarified.
If you require any further advice or guidance please contact our office on 1300 237 200.
Amended December 2016
The Victorian Building Regulations have been amended.
S.R. No.33/2016 dated 26/4/2016
A new Building Regulation 1205A has been inserted.
“Compliance with As1851-2012 taken to be compliance with earlier standards”
Finally in Victoria, we have a single maintenance standard that can be applied against all buildings regardless of age and references in previously issued occupancy permits or determinations.
The method of adoption has yet to be clarified by the Victorian Building authority, but watch this space for further developments!
Victoria Building Authority Practice Note 2016-23 Update
Victoria Building Authority Practice Note 2016-23 was released in February 2016. This key guidance note on the maintenance of Essential Safety Measures has been updated to introduce AS 1851-2012 – Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment, and advises on its adoption in the State of Victoria. Readers should take caution in automatically adopting the Standard as Victorian Building Regulations require owners to utilise maintenance Standards as specified in the building Occupancy Permit or Maintenance Schedule/Determination. Further information including Practice Note 2016-23 can be obtained from VBA website http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/
Building Regulations – Update
Building owners, practitioners and managers eagerly awaiting the Building Regulations 2006 ‘’sunsetting’’ completion are to continue waiting. Due to system reforms and ongoing amendments to strengthen the regulatory framework in the State of Victoria, the Building Regulations have been extended to 5 June 2017. Further information including the Extension Regulations issued, can be obtained from VBA website http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/
Essential Safety Measures Update for South Australia
South Australia. Ministers Specification SA76 – Essential Safety Provisions 2015 amendments
South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure has released an updated Ministers Specification that enables new buildings to adopt and existing buildings over 500m2 a process to adopt the latest versions of AS1851.
The South Australian Government has released a revised Ministers Specification ,SA76 – 2015, that requires new buildings (of classification 2 to 9) to adopt and the option for existing buildings over 500m2 a process to adopt, the latest versions of AS1851.
The new Ministers specification has a mandated adoption date of 1st May, 2015.
With existing buildings, with no alterations and or change of classification, there is a provision to retain existing processes for proving the adequate maintenances of building (part 59 log book being the most common) but; there is now an option and a defined process to adopt the new Schedule.
The released Essential Safety Provisions Schedule is great step forward for South Australian building owners and managers with increased occupant safety, accountability from contractors, maintenance cost savings and system reliability being the expected outcomes.
For further information please contact AESC
For a copy of the Minister’s Specification SA 76 2015 edition: www.sa.gov.au