With winter fast approaching – the season of heaters and electric blankets – now is the time for Building Owners and Managing Agents to check their building’s fire safety measures and ensure the Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) is up to date.
What is an AFSS and where is it kept?
Put simply, this statement is proof the Essential Fire Safety Measures within a building have been maintained to the Australian Standards and Regulations over the past 12 months. An AFSS states that a building’s fire safety measures have been assessed and inspected and their performance verified.
Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, Building Owners or their Managing Agents must also submit a copy of the AFSS to the local Council and Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), along with a copy of the building’s fire safety schedule. A copy of the AFSS and building fire safety schedule are also required to be displayed in a building where it can be easily viewed by everyone. This is a legal requirement of building owners and those who overlook this responsibility face fines.
Is your residents’ fire safety in good hands?
Forgetting to submit your building’s AFSS and putting its fire safety measures, such as equipment and systems, in the hands of incompetent and deceptive contractors and inspectors can not only affect insurance payouts in the event of a fire but cost lives/risk the health and safety of your residents.
Who can assess a building’s fire safety measures for the AFSS?
The 2017 changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 introduced to improve the rigour and checking in the approval, design, construction and maintenance phases of the building lifecycle led to the legal requirement of Building Owners and Managing Agents to select Competent Fire Safety Practitioners (CFSP).
The NSW Government has prepared a guide to assist Building Owners to determine competence. The steps are:
1. Identify tasks that the fire safety practitioner will need to perform.
2. Consider the fire safety practitioner’s competence to perform those tasks, including knowledge, skills, and experience.
3. Establish and record an opinion of the practitioner’s competence.
Helping you navigate the fire safety requirements maze
At Building Management Australia, we know how expensive, frustrating and time consuming it can be navigating the NSW government’s complex fire safety requirements and ensuring your building’s fire safety measures are maintained to a high standard by competent and experienced contractors and assessed by CFSPs.
Our experienced Building Managers understand that fire compliance is a vital requirement to keep everyone safe. They make obtaining your Annual Fire Safety Statement simple and stress free, as they coordinate and work with competent and accredited fire safety practitioners. They also source quotes from several fire safety practitioners and provide our recommendations.
Our Building Managers have many years of experience in obtaining AFSS certificates for lodgement to local councils and the FRNSW and have assisted in the following areas:
• Determining competence of maintenance contractors
• Managing contractors
• Reviewing condition reports and quotes
• Inspecting works on site
If you have any queries about the legislation and requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us on (02) 8356 7127 or email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Are the maintenance requirements the same for new and existing buildings?
Yes. The legislation in NSW applies to both new and existing buildings.
What is a fire safety measure?
Fire safety measures include items of equipment, forms of construction or fire safety strategies that are provided in a building to ensure the safety of persons using the building in the event of fire. It can include items such as portable fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, fire sprinklers, fire detection and alarm systems and lightweight construction. Fire safety measures include both essential fire safety measures and critical fire safety measures as defined in clause 165 of the Regulation.
• Essential fire safety measures are often identified in the building’s fire safety schedule, where a schedule was required to be issued, or they could be included in the essential services list attached to an approval or order issued under the Local Government Act 1919 or the Local Government Act 1993. Essential fire safety measures are the fire safety measures that form part of an annual fire safety statement.
• Critical fire safety measures are the fire safety measures that are of a nature or installed in a manner which requires periodic assessment and inspection at intervals of less than 12 months.
These measures are specifically identified on the fire safety schedule and form part of a supplementary fire safety statement. A critical fire safety measure is also an essential fire safety measure.
What is a fire safety schedule?
A fire safety schedule specifies each of the fire safety measures that apply to the building premises. The fire safety measures specified in the fire safety schedule will vary for each building and can be both essential fire safety measures and critical fire safety measures. The schedule also specifies the minimum standard of performance for each of the measures. This standard reflects the standard to which each measure is designed, installed and capable of operating.
What are the building owner’s responsibilities in relation to fire safety measures?
The building owner is responsible for maintaining each fire safety measure to the required minimum standard of performance contained in the fire safety schedule. For fire safety measures that apply to buildings by means other than a fire safety schedule, the measures must be maintained to the standard to which each measure was originally designed and implemented.
What is an annual fire safety statement?
An annual fire safety statement is a declaration by or on behalf of a building owner that an accredited fire safety practitioner has:
• assessed, inspected and verified the performance of each existing essential fire safety measure that applies to the building, and
• inspected the exit systems serving the building and found that the exit systems within the building do not contravene the provisions of Division 7 of Part 9 of the Regulation.
A building owner must ensure that an annual fire safety statement for the building is issued each year and that a copy of the statement is provided to the local council and the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW.
What is the purpose of a fire safety statement?
A fire safety statement is a declaration from the building owner(s) that the fire safety measures that apply to a building have been checked and continue to perform to the relevant standard. This assists in demonstrating that building owner(s) are complying with the requirement that they maintain fire safety measures in accordance with clause 182 of the Regulation. As such, it is the responsibility of the building owner to issue a fire safety statement, however the Regulation allows an agent to do this on their behalf.
In issuing a fire safety statement, the building owner(s) or agent is declaring that an accredited fire safety practitioner has assessed each fire safety measure that applies to the building and confirmed that the measure meets the required standard of performance. For annual fire safety statements, the building owner(s) or agent is also declaring that a competent fire safety practitioner has inspected the building’s fire exit systems for compliance with the regulation.
As the person issuing the statement is not certifying the performance of the fire safety measures, they are not expected to have the specialist expertise to verify that they meet the minimum standard.
Who do the requirements for annual fire safety statements apply to?
The requirements apply to the owners of buildings that contain Essential Fire Safety Measures and are required by the Regulation to issue an Annual Fire Safety Statement.
Does New South Wales regulate for maintenance and why?
Yes, there is a regulation to maintain the Essential Fire Safety Measures within a building and this is defined in the EP&A Regulations and appropriate standards. Maintenance is regulated to ensure the Essential Fire Safety Measures serving an effected building are always in place and in a working condition. The Essential Fire Safety Measures are to be in an operable condition throughout the year.
What penalty provisions can be enforced if my building does not comply?
If your building does not comply to legislation then penalty infringement notices (on the spot fines), orders and court action may be handed down by Council or Fire & Rescue NSW.
Please fill in the details as follows;
Building Managers provide a variety of services that help create a more convenient, efficient and cost-effective building. Strata buildings that have numerous lots – residential, commercial, retail – have an increased amount of traffic and activities which require a professional building manager to oversee and mitigate.
Building Managers organise, control and delegate the strategic and operational management of a building. They are based on-site with a dedicated office from where they manage contractors and suppliers carrying out maintenance and upgrades and provide services such as security, cleaning, and property maintenance. Building Managers can issue keys, accept parcels and manage the adherence of the occupants to the registered by-laws.
Bmaus can assist the owners’ corporation with:
– The management of common property
– Controlling the use of common property by tradespersons and other non-residents
– The maintenance and repair of common property
– Duties such as concierge, security and cleaning
Building Managers usually manage strata buildings greater than 70 lots, however, they can manage smaller strata on a part-time basis at the Strata Committee’s discretion.
Building Managers are appointed by members of a Strata Committee. They are appointed at an AGM or EGM and are administered by the Strata Committee via a Strata Agent.
The Strata Committee of the owners corporation represents owners or owners’ nominees. It is responsible for the day-to-day running of the strata scheme and is elected at each annual general meeting (AGM). The owners corporation decides the number of strata committee members for the coming year at each AGM. An owners corporation may also employ a Strata Managing Agent and/or Building Manager to carry out some, or all, of the responsibilities of the strata committee.
We create a tailored quote by discussing your tenant’s requirements and by conducting an on-site scope of work to assess your building’s maintenance and management requirements such as security, cleaning, coordinating/overseeing repairs and renovations, provision of valet parking, concierge, and/or mail/parcel management, and facilities maintenance such as gardening and maintenance of amenities such as gyms and/or swimming pools.
Bmaus has managers who operate as full-time managers, part-time managers and, in some instances, a combination of remote and onsite managers. As with all our services, we tailor the manager’s hours to meet the needs of your building.
Bmaus employs several ‘floating’ / ‘relief’ Building Managers who are acquainted with your building and its operation and maintenance requirements. This ensures a continuity of quality service during times of leave.
Taking Building Management to a new level
Professionalism is key
Bmaus is an integrated building and facilities management company that has evolved to meet the needs of today’s strata buildings.
Most importantly, we understand we are a services company entrusted with the care and comfort of your homes.
With this in mind, we offer highly professional Building Managers with the necessary skills and aptitudes to meet the needs of your strata, from the simplest to the most complex.
Bmaus is the solution you’ve been looking for.
Our team members have strong expertise and experience in the following:
• Compilation of building defects
• Control of key and access systems
• Management and audit of security operations
• Supervision of communications systems
• Operation of concierge and reception service
• Reporting and advising the owners corporation of all building issues
• Supervision of contractors
• Control of furniture and goods entry and exit
• Enforcement of by-laws and rules relating to the property
• Attending owners corporation and other relevant meetings
To find out more about our services and how we can improve your building’s management, please contact us on 02 8356 7127 or email info@Bmaus.com.au
We look forward to being an integral part of your building’s success!