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Fire Safe: Essential Fire Safety Measures

Each year, Fire & Rescue NSW responds to many fires in apartment buildings – reinforcing the need for effective, reliable and up-to-date Essential Fire Safety Measures. Essential fire safety measures are the fire safety systems required by the Building Code of Australia to be installed in commercial, industrial and public buildings, boarding houses, hostels and bed & breakfasts to ensure the safety of occupants within the building in the event of a fire or emergency. They perform a vital function in protecting life, property and preventing injury in the event of fire.

A fire safety schedule, interim/final fire safety certificate or annual fire safety statement issued for the building lists all the essential fire safety measures that are installed in the building and the performance standard to which each of those measures must be capable of operating. Building owners and managing agents need to be aware of these vital fire safety requirements. Failure to comply is an offence and will render the owner liable to substantial penalties. More importantly, a failure to meet these requirements can significantly affect the levels of fire safety afforded to the occupants of the building, which may threaten their life safety, as well as having significant liability implications for the building owner.

“At BMAUS we have over 30 years in building management and know that the efficacy of all fire safety measures depends largely on their management and maintenance,” says Ben Mees, BMAUS General Manager. “Our building managers prioritise fire safety and ensure their building’s fire safety measures are not overlooked and operate as they should in the event of a fire. And while this gives residents peace of mind, their knowledge of the relevant legal requirements relating to fire safety measures makes obtaining Annual Fire Safety Statements a smoother, less stressful process for Owners Corporations and Strata Managers.”

Annual Fire Safety Statements
The Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) is basically proof that your building’s Essential Fire Safety Measures have been checked and maintained to the Australian Standards and Regulations over the past 12 months.

Once an AFSS is secured, it is lodged and displayed rather than filed away. BMAUS building managers ensure their buildings stay compliant by submitting 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, and displaying a copy of the statement and building fire safety schedule in their building where it can be easily viewed by everyone. These steps are crucial as they are a legal requirement of building owners, and those who overlook this responsibility face fines.

Is your building’s fire safety in good hands?
Forgetting to submit your building’s AFSS and putting its fire safety measures, such as smoke detection and alarm systems, in the hands of incompetent and deceptive contractors and inspectors risks the health and safety of residents and can affect insurance payouts in the event of a fire.

“In a typical apartment building there is a variety of fire safety measures that all need maintaining and monitoring, such as smoke detectors, alarm systems, fire doors, automatic sprinkler systems, and emergency lights and exit signs,” explains Ben Mees, BMAUS General Manager. “Our building managers ensure a building’s AFSS is current and all its fire safety measures are in good working condition, by scheduling routine maintenance and inspections by qualified, competent and accredited contractors. The AFSS is a condition for insurance coverage – without the insurance coverage you cannot occupy a building.

Competent Fire Safety Practitioners
Building owners and Managing Agents are required by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 to select Competent Fire Safety Practitioners (CFSP) to assess their building’s fire safety measures to obtain an AFSS.

As selecting a CFSP can be challenging because their competence is largely based on individual experience and skill, the NSW Government recommends the following to help determine competence:
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.

Navigating the fire safety requirements maze
At BMAUS, we know how expensive, frustrating and time consuming it can be navigating the NSW government’s complex fire safety requirements, ensuring your building’s fire safety measures are maintained to a high standard by the right contractors, and securing and lodging the AFSS on time.

“Our building managers are skilled in obtaining AFSS certificates for lodgement to local councils and the FRNSW, assisting with determining the competence of maintenance contractors, reviewing condition reports and quotes, managing contractors, and inspecting their work,” adds Mees.

If you would like to know more about how our Building Managers help enhance the safety of your residents, contact us on (02) 8356 7127 or email info@bmaus.com.au.  

What are statutory fire safety measures?

The legislation lists statutory fire safety measures as:
• access panels, doors and hoppers to fire-resisting shafts
• automatic fail-safe devices
• automatic fire detection and alarm systems
• automatic fire suppression systems
• emergency lifts
• emergency lighting
• emergency warning and intercommunication systems
• exit signs
• fire control centres and rooms
• fire dampers
• fire doors
• fire hose reel systems
• fire hydrant systems
• fire seals protecting openings in fire-resisting components of the building
• fire shutters
• fire windows
• lightweight construction
• mechanical air handling systems
• perimeter vehicle access for emergency vehicles
• portable fire extinguishers
• safety curtains in proscenium openings
• smoke alarms and heat alarms
• smoke and heat vents
• smoke dampers
• smoke detectors and heat detectors
• smoke doors
• solid core doors
• standby power systems
• wall-wetting sprinkler and drenching systems
• warning and operational signs

BMAUS Proposal Request

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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.

The costs of employing a single building manager can be significantly smaller than contracting individual roles simultaneously. Additionally, the costs of maintaining a building are additionally less than repairing problems. Having a service that helps preserve and enhance your most valuable asset is a smart investment.

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.

Strata Managers take direction from a building’s strata committee and their role involves duties similar to those of a banker, administrator and lawyer. Strata Managers manage the funds of the building’s owners, issue levy notices, pay contractors, and ensure the owners are complying with strata laws.

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.

Bmaus can provide a full-time or part-time Building Manager. Your building’s size, amenities and management requirements, as well as your budget, largely determine whether you require a full-time or part-time Building Manager.
Bmaus’s building management contracts are for a minimum of two years.

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.

Yes, our Building Managers are experienced in managing buildings that have a mix of residential and commercial lots. Each of our managers has a strong understanding of the different tenant and operational requirements of mixed-use buildings.
Yes. All building management contracts can be redetermined as needed. Changes quite often occur in the first year of management as the building’s requirements become more fully known.
Ultimately, our Building Managers report to the strata committee, usually via the Strata Manager. Bmaus provides a comprehensive and thorough report on the building’s activities, which is issued either monthly, quarterly or biannually depending on the Strata Committee’s needs. In addition to the reports and the Building Managers, we also have a relationship manager and general manager who are always on-hand to provide support.
Bmaus has managers who work on the weekends, and some buildings have split shifts with two managers performing a total of 12 hours of onsite management. As always, we adapt services to meet the needs of the building and our clients.

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!

Address:
Level 1, 23-25 Bay Street
Double Bay, NSW 2028.

Phone:
02 8356 7127

General Enquiries:
info@bmaus.com.au