Welcome to Part 2 of our 4 part series on Essential Safety Measures 101. In this post we talk about building owners obligations, what are the obligations in relation to building compliance, and what Owners (or Managers responsible for the management of Essential Safety Measures) can do to ensure they are protecting occupants, their building asset and themselves from risk.
In our experience, have found that a significant percentage of building owners aren’t aware of their mandatory obligations under the Building Regulations regarding Essential Safety Measures (ESM), don’t know what it means, and don’t understand the risks. Our goal is to make Essential Safety Measures easier to understand, to explain in plain English and also to provide an opportunity for owners and managers enhance their understanding of ESMs, helping them meet their obligations, minimizing their risk and ensuring building occupants are safe.
Essential Safety Measures 101 – Your Obligations
Some building owners or managers learn the hard way about Essential Safety Measures, through fines or penalties for non compliance. Take a proactive approach and learn more about your obligations as a building owner or manager. Many building owners do not know that they are obligated to maintain the ESMs in their building, and don’t realise that an Annual Essential Safety Measures Report must be prepared every year.
So, what are your obligations?
As the building owner, your number one obligation is to be aware of your Essential Safety Measures requirements and to actively maintain them to the required standard. Essential Safety Measures specific to your building can be found on your Occupancy Permit, Certificate of Final Inspection or Maintenance Determination, which must be prepared by a Registered Building Surveyor. This will list the ESM’s that relate to your building, it will also record information on how often the maintenance/testing or inspection is required. Essential Safety Measures awareness can often fall through the gaps of building owners’ busy schedules, unknowingly causing owners to be at risk both financially and legally, and placing building occupants at significant risk of injury or death.
Many Essential Safety Measure items require inspection, testing or maintenance by a licensed or specialist contractor to ensure they meet the required standards. Some items require annual inspection and some require testing 6 monthly, 3 monthly, monthly or even weekly. Other inspections (that don’t require a licensed or specialist contractor) can be conducted by professionals with relevant experience. As the building owner, you are responsible for ensuring each ESM inspection is conducted when it’s due and relevant details recorded, this information flows into the Annual Essential Safety Measures Report (AESMR). The Annual ESM Report lists the Essential Safety Measures that have been maintained compliantly for the previous 12 months, and it should be displayed in a prominent position in the building, usually next to the Occupancy Permit which is displayed in the foyer or just inside the main entry of the building.
Local Council have the responsibility to monitor building compliance of Essential Safety Measures within their area, and they have authority to request the Annual ESM Report and relevant log book information from Owners, so it’s important that this information is capably and accurately managed. Your Insurer may also seek a copy of the Annual ESM Report to ensure you’ve met all the obligations and requirements of the relevant authorities, and therefore minimizing the risk the insurer is exposed to.
It’s important that all building owners are aware of their mandatory Essential Safety Measures obligations up front to avoid potential safety risks of occupants as well as financial risks. The next part in this series will highlight the risks building owners face when their buildings’ Essential Safety Measures aren’t kept up to standard requirements.
If you think you could be at risk of non-compliance, call the Essentials Team today.
In our next Post we’ll talk about Essential Safety Measures and the risks of non compliance.