Does Victoria regulate for maintenance and why?

Yes there is a regulation to maintain the Essential Safety Measures within a building and this is prescribed in the Building Regulations 2006, appropriate standards and the BCA. Essential Safety Measures are regulated for maintenance to ensure the life safety of occupants in the event of an emergency or fire.

What items are regulated for maintenance?

The Essential Safety Measures that are required to be maintained are outlined in Part I of the National Construction Code but may also include any item a relevant building surveyor deems as required for life safety.

What type of buildings is this applied to?

The buildings that are required to be maintained in regards to Essential Safety Measures are buildings of Class 1b – 9 as outlined in Part A3.2 of the National Construction Code. This is irrespective of the size of the building.

What is the frequency of maintenance to be adopted for the Essential Safety Measures in my building?

The frequency and regime of maintenance for Essential Safety Measures is required to be identified by a relevant building surveyor and referenced in Occupancy Permits or Maintenance Determinations issued for the building. The frequency is generally outlined via relevant Australian Standards but can be varied if the relevant building surveyor deems it necessary.

How do I maintain the Essential Safety Measures within my building?

Once a list of Essential Safety Measures has been provided by a relevant building surveyor outlining the maintenance regime for each Essential Safety Measure then maintenance can be undertaken by a specialist contractor. How to maintain is currently not regulated but appropriate guidance documentation has been established. Guidance is provided using Australian Standards and other documentation. The most common standard being adopted is AS1851 – Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment. Approved, competent contractors can now be engaged to undertake maintenance for each Essential Safety Measure within the building.

Regulations require that Essential Safety Measures listed on the Occupancy Permit or Maintenance Determinations issued after 1994 must be maintained as listed. For a building built prior to 1994 Essential Safety Measures must be maintained to fulfil their purpose.

Are the maintenance requirements the same for new and existing buildings? As per the previous question there are separate requirements for pre and post 1994 buildings and this will be outlined by the relevant building surveyor via Occupancy Permits and Maintenance Determinations.

What are the triggers to apply these provisions to existing buildings?

There are separate regulations for pre and post 1994 buildings. Regulations require that Essential Safety Measures listed on the Occupancy Permit or Maintenance Determinations issued after 1994 must be maintained as listed. Essential Safety Measures for a building built pre 1994 must be maintained to fulfil their purpose. Alterations to existing buildings are dealt with through the Occupancy Permit and Maintenance Determination process.

Are there administrative controls for the maintenance of Essential Safety Measures and who is responsible for building maintenance?

Yes there are administrative controls for maintenance in Victoria and this is normally via the relevant council authority. The responsibility for ensuring that maintenance is carried out to a building rests with the building owner.

How often is verification required?

Verification is required annually via an Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (AESMR).  However, this document is only required to be kept by the building owner as there is no requirement to send the AESMR to council or other authority.

Who can provide verification and what does this consist of?

Verification can be provided by the building owner or an agent of the owner. This is verified by the completion of a form with the details of who has provided maintenance for a particular Essential Safety Measure item and meeting a number of statements when signing the form.  The owner or managing agent for the building request that an annual certification form is signed by each of the relevant contractors for the Essential Safety Measure item that they each maintain.

Are there prescribed statutory measures and can these measures be added to or subtracted from?

Yes these statutory measures are outlined within the Building Regulations 2006 and relevant building surveyor does have the power to add or subtract to an Essential Safety Measure.  Who is responsible for monitoring and enforcing maintenance?  The building owner is predominantly responsible for ensuring all Essential Safety Measures are maintained in conjunction with the local council.

What is the role of other bodies and authorities eg fire brigades, state and local governments?

Fire authorities currently have the power to inspect a building and the council has an inspection and enforcement role.

What penalty provisions can be enforced if my building does not comply?

If your building does not comply to the maintenance requirements set out then building notices and building orders can be issued by the municipal building surveyor. Infringement notices may also be issued. A building order could include work to be rectified and could also include prohibiting occupation of the building.

Who is empowered to serve and enforce non-compliance notices and actions?

Notices and actions are issued primarily by the local council, with the support of the fire brigade.

Are there any standardized processes or forms associated?

The standard form issued each year is an Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (AESMR) which has been detailed in the relevant questions above.

Once an order or notice has been issued are there any appeal provisions in relation to the compliance, enforcement and penalty requirements?

Yes through the Building Appeals Board for notice and orders.