Essential Fire Safety for New Builds: Three Key Steps

Do You Have the Right Documents and Information at Handover?

The importance of having the right information for your Fire Contractors cannot be overstated!

Increasingly, buildings are being built using alternate solutions, and this has meant that Fire Engineers and Building Surveyors can interpret and apply codes/standards in different ways, or use ‘performance solutions.’ This means that the inspections, testing and behaviour of asset may not line up directly with an Australian Maintenance Standard (such as AS1851-2012) – this can include doors opening or closing, reversal of airflow, operation of dampers, distance between assets, effects on fire resistance, lift operation and lighting requirements, just to mention a few.

Baseline data including Occupancy Permits/Occupancy Certificates, Fire Engineers Reports, Building Plans, Plans of Subdivision, Asset Manuals, and Asset Schedules are all incredibly important to understand how your building should behave during a fire. Having this information at hand also reduces the chance of an incorrectly produced or delayed production of your AESMR (Annual Safety Measures Report) or AFSS (Annual Fire Safety Statement).

Check the Fine Print: No warranties? Equipment warranties? Warranty testing?

It is incredibly important for an OC Manager to understand what types of warranties are in place and what items they cover. Not all Essential Safety Measures (ESMs) will be covered by a warranty – for instance, how do you warranty paths of travel or the AESMR, for example?

For items that do have a warranty, in some cases it may only be for the repair or replacement of physical equipment if it becomes defective during the Defects Liability Period (DLP) of 12 months. In other cases, the installer of the equipment may also be completing the required routine inspections and maintenance on the equipment during this warranty period. Not understanding or confirming these details can leave you with a non-compliant, and more importantly, unsafe building.

On the subject of the DLP, it is also critical to ensure that you engage a fire contractor to commence inspections, testing and maintenance of your ESMs before it concludes. You should allow time for complete testing to occur, so that any defects or issues can be passed on to the builder before the 12-month mark, and while they are still holding contractor payments.

Get Help!

If you work with developers before/during construction, a trusted ESM provider can assist you in preparing your first year OC budget by providing an estimate of maintenance costs.

If you take over management of a new development and want to identify all ESM defects before expiry of the warranty period, then some maintenance companies can undertake a full annual suite of services and provide you with a findings report prior to the end of the warranty period.

Chris Chatham

Sales & Marketing Manager

Vic:1300 669 439 / Newcastle :1300 683 823 / LinkedIn

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