Do I have to have my building fire safety equipment serviced/maintained?
Yes. In Queensland, it is required by law. The Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990, Section 104D states that "The occupier of a building must maintain at all times every prescribed fire safety installation to a standard of safety and reliability in the event of a fire."
How do you maintain fire safety equipment?
Prescribed fire safety installations need to be maintained to Queensland Development Code (QDC) Mandatory Part (MP) 6.1. The equipment must be maintained by an appropriately qualified person at intervals that are adequate to ensure the building's fire safety installations perform to a standard no less than that which they were originally required to meet.
What happens if I don't maintain fire safety equipment?
Penalties may be imposed by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES). These penalties might include fines and/or imprisonment. In cases where there are significant breaches and occupant safety is compromised, the QFES have the authority to close a building until the issues are rectified.
How often is maintenance performed?
This depends on the type of equipment installed. Australian Standard 1851 and QDC MP6.1 stipulate the time-frames for inspection, testing, maintenance and survey services. Different tasks and checks are performed at different intervals which can be monthly, six monthly, annual, two yearly, five yearly and ten yearly.
- A site with Fire Extinguishers and Emergency and Exit Lighting would be inspected and tested every six months. The fire extinguishers also require Pressure Testing every five years and more frequently if they are installed in harsh environments.
- An Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm System is inspected Monthly, Six Monthly and Annually. Additional tests and checks are also required to be performed at two yearly and five yearly intervals.
Who can maintain fire safety equipment?
These works must be performed by an appropriately qualified person. This is someone who holds a specific Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) Fire Occupational Licence to carry out work on that particular prescribed fire safety installation. That person must also work for a company that holds the relevant QBCC Company Licences.
An appropriately qualified person is defined in Schedule 3 of the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.
Why does my building have fire safety equipment?
When a building is built, the law requires the design to meet the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC). Based on the size, use and structure of the building, the NCC will nominate the fire safety features and equipment that needs to be installed. This is the Prescribed Fire Safety Installations.
Prescribed Fire Safety Installations are installations that were required to be maintained in the building by or under any Act, including as a prerequisite to the granting of any approval or the issue of any notice, certificate or instrument (Section 104D 3(a) of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990).
Older buildings would have been built to comply with the building code requirements that applied at that time. If the building layout has changed or the use of the building has changed, then the building would need to have been re-certified.
How long do I have to repair defective fire safety equipment?
It is the building occupier's responsibility to ensure they maintain at all times every prescribed fire safety installation to a standard of safety and reliability in the event of a fire. Repair or corrective action must be taken no later than one (1) month after the maintenance of the installation was carried out, unless the occupier has a reasonable excuse.
- No appropriately qualified person was available to attend the occupier's premises to carry out the repair or take the corrective action because of the remoteness of the building's location.
- The repair or corrective action was not able to be finished because of the complexity of the work involved or delay in obtaining parts required for the repair or corrective action.
Essentially, building owners and occupiers must ensure every reasonable effort is made to ensure Building Fire Safety Equipment and Building Elements are maintained in a functional and operational condition at al
Can I keep my Fire Doors open?
Fire Doors are installed in buildings to prevent fire and smoke progressing through a building. Fire Doors provide for the safe movement of the building occupants and emergency services in the event of a fire. They are designed to be self closing and self latching with minimum gaps around the edges of the door. A Fire Resistant Doorset must never be impaired by being chocked or held open. A Fire Door can only be held open where the door is fitted with an automatic closing device in conjunction the activation of smoke detectors, fire alarm System or sprinkler system.