Fire equipment testing you can rely on
As a building owner, the possibility of fire is the last thing on your mind — but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it. In Victoria, under the
Victorian Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations 2018, building owners have the responsibility, regardless of age of the building, to ensure that all essential safety measures, pieces of safety equipment, fittings or other safety measures that relate to their building are maintained in order to perform as designed. If you are the owner of a building other than a Class 1 (domestic or residential building) you as the owner are responsible for maintenance of the essential safety measures.
Fire equipment is installed and maintained with the plan being to hopefully never to use it; however, that doesn’t mean you can ‘set and forget’. To ensure your building remains compliant — and to make sure that equipment is functioning correctly in the event of an emergency — it’s important to ensure it is properly maintained, ready for use and will function as intended, protecting people’s lives and property.
Failure to maintain fire equipment not only puts occupants at risk, but also neighbouring buildings.
What does equipment testing involve?
Fire safety equipment covers everything from extinguishers, emergency lighting, fire hose reels, fire hydrants, fire sprinklers, through to fire door sets, fire alarms and more. This equipment needs to be checked at regular intervals — some items, such as fire detection and alarm systems and fire sprinkler systems need to be inspected monthly in accordance with AS1851-2012.
Depending on the building’s age, the Occupancy Permit or Maintenance Determination will specify conditions on the use of the building (building class) and list the essential safety measures that must be maintained, to what performance level and the frequency of maintenance.
Routine servicing of fire protection systems must be carried out by competent persons. There is a nationally recognised occupational licensing scheme (FPAS) and some systems such as fire sprinkler systems require maintenance to only be conducted by a licenced tradesperson.
When it comes to testing and maintaining this equipment, there are four steps:
- The inspection needs to be carried out in line with the Occupancy Permit or Maintenance Determination using competent and licenced trades. AS1851 provides a systematic basis for minimum routine service applicable to fire protection systems and equipment.
- Records are critical! We create and keep records for each inspection carried out. All records are documented in line with AS1851 and utilise our sophisticated online CRM reporting system. AS1851 requires evidence, in the form of records and reports of completion of the periodic inspections, testing and preventive maintenance activities required by this Standard.
- Any issues need to be documented and rectified. We issue electronic reports that covers any problems that need to be rectified. Service records are also left on site as proof of maintenance. Under AS1851-2012, defects are required to be distinguished between critical defects, non-critical defects and non-conformances. Our reports provide comprehensive details of each non-conformance or defect (with photo evidence) including its classification, location and any details of what is required to rectify the issue.
- An Annual Essential Safety Measures Report is issued. The Annual Essential Safety Measures Report is required to confirm that, for the preceding 12 months, the owner has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that each essential safety measure is operating at the required level of performance or is fulfilling its purpose. It is a legal document that states all essential safety measures that relate to the building are maintained in order to perform as designed.
Get in touch with Essential Safety Solutions today
As a building owner, it is your responsibility to ensure you comply with fire safety regulations and uphold your duty of care to tenants and customers. The best way to achieve this is to enlist expert help.
At Essential Safety Solutions, we keep up to date with the ever-changing regulations and codes so you can rest assured that your building is compliant. No two buildings are the same; as a boutique company with years of experience, we can offer the flexibility to tailor our services in accordance with your needs and budget.
For more information regarding fire equipment testing — and complete fire safety system inspections — get in touch with Essential Safety Solutions today by calling 1300 151 056 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org