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Building Regulations for Fire Safety

Looking for where to get fire extinguishers inspected? OTS Fire Protection Services is equipped and ready to assist you in meeting and maintaining your obligations under the Essential Safety Measures Building Regulations (administered by the Building Commission, and enforced by Local Government), for buildings post and prior to July 1994.

When the construction of a commercial building is complete, the building owner is responsible for its upkeep and maintenance, particularly its safety features.

The maintenance of essential safety measures will ensure that the safety measures mainly dealing with fire situations within the building, remain at the required operational level throughout the life of the building. The type of maintenance depends on the complexity of the service, equipment or feature and the experience of the person carrying out the inspection or test.

As an example, essential safety measures defined under the Building Regulations include:

Air conditioning systems Fire hydrants
Emergency lifts and lighting Fire windows
Ext doors and exit signs Mechanical ventilation
Emergency power supply Fire isolated stairs, passages ramps
Fire control centres Fire rated materials
Fire curtains and doors Path of travel to exits
Emergency warning systems Smoke alarms
Fire detectors and alarm systems Smoke control systems
Fire extinguishers Sprinkler systems

Please refer to the Regulations for a full listing of essential services.

If your building was built or altered since 1 July 1994, the Regulations require you to keep a current copy of your buildings occupancy permit together with an annual essential safety measures report in the building. All essential safety measures reports, records of maintenance checks, services and repair work to the building must also be kept on the premises so it is easily accessible for a municipal building surveyor or Chief Officer of the relevant fire brigade to randomly check for compliance. These documents are important as collectively they ensure that owners are fulfilling these obligations.

Although councils have a responsibility under building legislation for the enforcement of building safety in their area, owners have an obligation to ensure that essential safety measures and other safety measures are maintained and operate satisfactorily. Each year owners are required to prepare an annual essential services report on the building's essential safety measures. An owner may choose to engage specialist maintenance contractors to assist in the preparation of this report or if written delegation is provided, an agent may complete the report.

If the building was built before 1 July 1994, owners are also responsible for ensuring that any safety equipment, safety fittings or safety measures are maintained and fulfilling their purpose. Owners are also required to prepare and display an annual essential safety measures report. This includes exits and paths of travel to exits. It is also advised that records of maintenance checks, service and repair work be kept so they can be made available for inspection by a municipal building surveyor or chief officer. And remember, if building work is carried out, these circumstances may change, so it is worth checking with a municipal building surveyor or private building surveyor to see what is needed to do to comply with the Regulations or contact the Building Commission.