Essential fire safety measures are measures, including equipment, construction and strategies, that are implemented in a building to ensure safety in the event of fire.
It is important that building owners are aware of these fire safety requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements is an offence and the owner will face substantial penalties. But more importantly, a failure to meet these requirements can significantly affect the fire safety of the occupants of the building, which may then threaten their lives as well as having significant liability implications for the building owner.
As the owner of the building, am I required to do anything?
For new buildings prior to construction
If you intend to construct a new building a Construction Certificate is required. The Construction Certificate must have a fire safety schedule attached where fire safety measures are required. The fire safety schedule will nominate those essential fire safety measures and the Australian Standard and/or other standards to which they must be installed.
For new buildings prior to occupation
Before the Principal Certifying Authority can issue an Occupation Certificate for the building, the owner or agent must issue an Interim or Final Fire Safety Certificate stating that the services have been inspected by a properly qualified person and installed to the relevant standards.
Prior to the occupation of a new building or part of a building and upon completing works required under a Council Fire Safety Order, a Fire Safety Certificate is required to be submitted to the Council. The owner of a building must also submit a fire safety statement to the Council on an annual basis.
For existing buildings
The owner of a building The building owner must have the inspection carried out by a person who is qualified to assess the particular items concerned and submit a fire safety statement to the Council on an annual basis.
A supplementary statement is for critical fire safety measures only. These are measures that are important enough to warrant certification on a more frequent basis of less than 12 months, such as every three months. The critical measures are identified in the Fire Safety Schedule and the intervals at which Supplementary Fire Safety Statements are required are also nominated in the Schedule.
If there are essential fire safety measures installed in your building, and you intend to carry out building work, change the use of the building for which approval is required, have been issued with a Fire Safety Order; or continue occupying the building, you will be required to engage a properly qualified person to check the design standards to which those measures were installed. After this, a Fire Safety Certificate is to be completed, signed by you or your agent, and forwarded to Council.