Hi there again, and welcome back to Part 3 of our 4 part series on Essential Safety Measures 101, our attempt to de-mystify the requirements, obligations, risks and other topics that relate to Essential Safety Measures. In this post we talk about the risks of ignoring your obligations to maintain ESMs
Non-compliance of Essential Safety Measures could put you and your property at risk of financial and legal penalties. By law, the ESM’s of your building need to be maintained to the required regulation level.
As usual, if you need more information before our new Post is published, we’d welcome your call.
Why is Essential Safety Measures compliance important?
The importance of maintaining compliance with regulations is to keep the building, its occupants and the general public safe. Under Building Regulations, a building owner can face penalties if the Essential Safety Measures are not maintained to the required standard. In the worst possible situation, if your building isn’t maintained compliantly, and there was an injury or death as a result of your non compliance, the building owner could face charges in a court of law.
Another risk faced by property owners who aren’t compliant occurs when an insurance claim is made. In the event of a fire or destruction of the building, the insurer may request to see the Annual Essential Safety Measure Report for the property. If you do not have a current Annual Essential Safety Measures Report, your insurer may have grounds not to pay out your claim, based on the fact that you have not met or complied with all the mandatory obligations and responsibilities as required by the relevant Authorities.
If you are faced with fines, penalties, a declined insurance claim, or the destruction of the building by fire, it is also important to understand the financial risks associated. As the building owner, you may face considerable financial risk, if you have financed the purchase of the property with your retirement savings, your superannunation fund or your own savings, there are significant implications and threats to your financial position.
Here’s some questions worth considering:
- Would you still have to make loan repayments, even if the building was destroyed by fire?
- How would you financially recover from such a devastating situation? What would this mean for you and your family? How would your life change?
- Could you live with yourself if your inaction on Essential Safety Measures caused injury (or worse) to another person?
These are questions and answers not often thought about, but when weighing up the implications and risks of owning a non compliance building, it’s important
to acknowledge that risks to exist. The cost of maintaining the Essential Safety Measures in your property is a drop in the ocean when it comes down to what’s at stake for you, your family, the safety of building occupants, and the building asset itself.
We’ve had experience with a property owner whose building was destroyed by fire. Fortunately, this happened overnight and the building wasn’t occupied, so there were no injuries. As part of the insurance claim process the Insurer requested a copy of the Annual ESM Report (which was promptly provided), after investigations by the Insurer the large claim was paid out. This owner was diligent in meeting their ESM obligations and had actively maintained the ESMs within their building.
Importantly, if the Owner did not have a current Annual ESM Report, the Insurer may have had grounds not to pay out the multi million dollar claim! This risk is easily avoided by maintaining the Essential Safety Measures and keeping everything compliant.
Depending on when your building was constructed, you will have specific ESM’s to adhere to, as prescribed by a Registered Building Surveyor. The final part in this series will help you to take action early and be prepared for your Essential Safety Measures obligations.
If you think you could be at risk of non-compliance, call the Essentials Team today to book a free 30-minute no-obligation consultation to discuss your needs.