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Maintain to contain: the importance of servicing fire sprinklers

For building managers, ensuring the safety of a building’s residents is a top priority – and that includes protecting occupants and the building from fire. Automatic fire sprinklers are one of the most effective methods of putting out fire, which is why it’s vital – and legally required – that they are regularly inspected and tested. Which is where BMAUS building managers play a crucial role.

“They might be small but fire sprinklers can help save lives, reduce harm and minimise property damage in the event of a fire,” says Building Management Australia (BMAUS) General Manager, Ben Mees. “Our team of building managers prioritise the maintenance of their building’s fire safety system, because a fully functioning fire sprinkler system can automatically put out a fire before it spreads. Building managers monitor the system throughout the year and regularly bringing in specialist contractors to check, test and maintain sprinkler systems to ensure they automatically activate and operate without a hitch.”

BMAUS building managers monitor their building’s fire safety systems and ensure only fire safety practitioners accredited by the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) inspect, assess and test the sprinkler systems. “Fire safety practitioners can identify any issues and wear and tear, replace parts, and conduct annual system tests. Their assessment is also needed for the issuing of the building’s Annual Fire Safety Certificate,” says Mees.

Benefits
There are several financial benefits for regularly testing and maintaining a sprinkler system:
– if insurance companies find that a fire sprinkler system hasn’t been regularly tested and maintained, they may void your property insurance.
– avoid the risk of receiving an infringement notice and fines.
– you’ll avoid costly false-alarm fire brigade call outs. By regularly maintaining the sprinkler system, you’ll help identify potential issues that may cause such call-outs.

“And, of course, having experts to frequently maintain and test fire sprinkler systems helps reduce the risk to human life and also property loss,” says Mees.

How effective are sprinklers?
Fire sprinklers are recognised by fire safety and protection organisations worldwide as a vital part of a building’s fire safety system. According to Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW), automatic sprinklers significantly improve the safety of a building’s occupants in the event of fire and can “prevent a fire from escalating, which may mean the difference between a minor incident and a major tragedy”.

In the event of a fire, a well-maintained automatic fire sprinkler system in an apartment building can:
– reduce the spread and intensity of the fire
– extinguish a fire
– use considerably less water than firefighters’ hoses, which means less water damage
– impede the spread of smoke, as the water sprays act as a barrier to smoke travel, which is vital, as smoke inhalation is a major cause of death during a fire.

Accidental activation
Although sprinkler malfunctions are extremely rare, FRNSW explains they can be activated as a result of human interference, both accidental and intentional via vandalism, resulting in considerable damage to the property and to the sprinkler parts.

“Occasionally, a fire sprinkler head is accidentally activated following a knock to its exposed plug or cap as a result of an accident, for example by nearby renovation work, by a vehicle’s roof rack or top part of a truck, or by a person throwing a heavy object at it, like a rock,” explains Mees.

BMAUS building managers know the steps to take when a fire sprinkler is accidentally activated to keep everyone safe, reduce damage, and quickly bring the water affected areas back to their former condition with minimum financial cost and inconvenience. These steps include:
• shutting off the water supply to the affected sprinkler via the isolation valve in the sprinkler system
• turning off the power to the area to keep residents and fire safety practitioner who will conduct the repair work safe
• taking action to dry the affected area as quickly as possible, which can include using a broom and mop and bringing in large air dryers and blowers
• informing the Strata Manager and Owners Corporation of the event and keeping them up to date with the progress of repairs and reparations
• liaising with the insurance company to organise an assessor to visit the building and to provide dryers and dehumidifiers
• preparing a list of all damaged fittings and fixtures for the insurance company and the Strata Manager and Owners Corporation
• sourcing and coordinating fire safety practitioners and contractors to repair the damage

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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