Hi there, and welcome to the first part of our 4 part series of Posts on Essential Safety Measures 101. Over this series we hope to provide useful information to property owners and those managers who are responsible for the management of Essential Safety Measures within their properties. Oh, and if you can’t wait for the next Post, and need to know more – don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Essential Safety Measures 101 – Introduction
Purchasing a commercial property is a process that can be tricky to navigate, and once you’ve purchased it – there’s the ongoing safety and compliance management of the building, to protect occupants and protect yourself. Whether you own an office, shop, warehouse, factory, hotel/motel, apartment building or are responsible for the safety of a public building you, as the building owner (or the Manager responsible for it), have obligations to maintain the safety of your building and its occupants. The Essential Safety Measures in a building are required, by law, to be maintained to the required level to ensure compliance with regulations and safety of occupants.
Although all buildings (other than a residential dwelling) are required to have an Annual Essential Safety Measures (ESM) Report prepared, the majority of building owner’s do not know about their obligations to complete and maintain this report under Building Regulations. The Annual ESM Report is not a requirement of the Section 32 when a property is sold, so it’s understandable that many prospective buyers don’t know about Essential Safety Measures, and therefore don’t know to enquire about ESMs when considering the purchase of a property. This is why it’s important for all building owners, new and existing, to be aware of their mandatory Essential Safety Measures obligations upfront to avoid potential safety risks of occupants as well as financial risks.
Essential Safety Measures are the fire and safety items in your building, including fire safety equipment, sprinkler systems, alarm systems, exit and emergency lighting, air conditioning systems, paths of travel to exits, signs and lifts to name a few. We regularly see fire extinguishers and basic fire safety equipment in buildings and the green Exit Signs above doors, but there’s are a raft of other items that relate to the structure of the building that we can’t see or are not obvious, like fire rated walls, and other safety elements that are required in the building and are included during the construction of the building. All Essential Safety Measures are required to be inspected, tested and maintained regularly.
The Building Act (1993) and Building Regulations detail the requirements for owners to maintain the Essential Safety Measures within their buildings. Each property, depending on when it was constructed, and what Essential Safety Measures have been prescribed by the Registered Building Surveyor, will have specific ESM’s to adhere to so, an acute awareness of your building’s requirements is important.
Through this series of posts, we will breakdown what your obligations are as an owner, what risks you and your company could face if the ESM’s in your building aren’t compliant and how to take action when it comes to understanding Essential Safety Measures requirements relevant to your property.
In our next Post we’ll talk about Essential Safety Measures and your obligations.
If you need more information before our next Post is published, please give us a call – we’re more than happy to talk with you.