Annual Essential Safety Measures
Essential safety measures (ESM) are the fire, life safety and health items installed or constructed in a building to ensure adequate levels of fire safety and protection are maintained.
Essential safety measures can be described as either active which includes fire extinguishers, fire hose reels, detection systems, sprinkler systems, mechanical services, emergency lighting etc or passive devices such as paths of travel, exit doors, fire rated elements, fire doors to name a few.
The Building Regulations 2018-Part 15 require the building owner to maintain essential safety measures so that they operate as per their design. There are varying obligations under the Regulations dependent on the date the building was constructed. To ensure your property is compliant with the current Building Regulations, you are required to prepare an Annual Essential Safety Measures Report as per the revised requirements of the Victorian Building Authority.
Under Building Regulations owners have an obligation to ensure that;
- ESM’s are Inspected, maintained and repaired in accordance with the required Australia Standards.
- Record the maintenance inspections of the essential safety measures.
- Prepare an Annual Essential Safety Measures (AESM) Report.
Non-compliance may result in an infringement notice being issued by Council or the Fire Authority, along with a fine. It may also result in prosecution and more substantial fines. More importantly, non-compliance could place building occupants at risk, as well as passers-by and the occupants of adjoining buildings when fire safety systems do not operate as designed during an emergency.
Our AESM report clearly identifies all Essential Safety Measures installed within the building, audits the current testing/servicing contractors and describes any non-conformances so that the owner can take swift corrective action.
Our inspection includes:
- Inspect the property and site the existing ESM measures installed and any relevant service records available on site.
- Review the contractor service documentation to determine if all ESMs are being maintained in accordance with the applicable standards and where applicable defect repairs are being arranged.
- Issue a compliance report (AESMR) that will clearly describe any non-conformances so that the owner can make informed decisions and take action.
Essential Safety Measure Audits are required to be completed annually. Non-compliance can result in an infringement notice and fines issues by a local council or Fire Authority.
Development Building developed before 1 July 1994 vs post 1 July 1994 (in most circumstance) won’t have an available Occupational Permit. Where this is the case, there are guidelines for the items that need to be identified and what is already installed on the site.
Building constructed or altered from the 1 July 1994 will have an Occupational Permit stipulating the safety fitting or safety measures, frequency and type of maintenance required. An Occupancy Permit is required to be displayed at the development for building Classes 2-9.
If you have a non-compliant item and need further information on how to rectify it our team are happy to assist you. There are many reasons that items can be listed as non-compliant which may include the service history or a defect.
This comes down the specific item in question. Some essential safety measures may be located within another OC however the services it provides extends beyond that. An example of this is a sprinkler system and the sprinkler heads located around the property. Its important to ensure that all plant related to that system are being serviced regardless of the OC they pertain to.
Essential Safety Measure Audits are required to be completed by all Building Classes with the exception of Class 1.
Passive items such as ‘Paths of Travel,’ Exit Doors and ‘Egress’ can be inspected and signed off by a competent person. All other items are required to be signed off by a Service Provider. Mabi can provide the log sheets for a competent person to fill out if required.
Class 2 Buildings are required to have smoke alarms installed in areas audible to sleeping areas outlines in the Victorian Building Authority practice note 27.
Where possible, Mabi can assist with guidance on a defect or non-compliant report that has been issued. We do not however undertake defect works, this can usually be done through the service providers.
Mabi completes independent Essential Safety Audits. We do not maintain any of the fire equipment installed, when an audit is completed by Mabi, you are receiving an independently assessed report of the fire contractors servicing the development.
Where possible it is important to have all or some of the following;
- Plan of Subdivision
- Occupancy Permit
- Fire Contractors List
- Fire Service Reports
- Building Plans
Where possible, items should be maintained as per the Occupancy Permit. Properties that do not have one are required to service items are per the guidelines. Mabi does not have the authority to remove items that are listed on an Occupancy Permit. These are outlined by the Building Surveyor at the completion of the build.
Items located within a lot such smoke detectors and portable fire extinguishers are required to be maintained by the lot owner. These items won’t be audited within the same report.