New Fire Safety Rules for QLD Businesses

Trina at EVAC Services forwarded a press release on the new Fire Safety Rules now in effect in Queensland.

EvacuationRevised building fire and safety regulation came into force on 1 July 2009 with stricter responsibilities placed on building and body corporate management companies and commercial tenants.

As of 1 July 2009, a greater onus has been placed on Queensland businesses to comply with the new mandatory evacuation requirements under the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.

Queensland businesses now face on-the-spot fines starting at $3,000 for non-compliance and Ben Swan, Director of Evacuation Services Australia (EVAC), believes many businesses are not even aware of their new responsibilities under the amended legislation.

“A large majority of businesses we have had dealings with are not even aware of the legislative changes and their obligations to comply with the revised evacuation procedures, despite being at risk of fines starting at $3,000,” Ben said.

“We recently undertook an audit of a major Brisbane shopping centre – of the 80 businesses surveyed only one was compliant; from the remaining 79, 18% had non-compliant diagrams and the remainder had no evacuation diagrams at all.”

“Becoming compliant is a relatively easy process which EVAC specialises in; businesses have a responsibility to ensure they are up-to-date with their evacuation plans in the case of a fire or emergency – the ramifications of non-compliance are far greater than a financial penalty, in the worst case scenario many lives can be at risk.”

Major changes under the regulation see an increasing number of parties responsible for implementing mandatory evacuation procedures than was previously the case, including tenants in commercial buildings, retail centres and accommodation unit owners.

“Businesses tenanted in commercial and retail buildings are now required by law to have their own evacuation procedures and diagrams in place; no longer can they rely on the common area plan provided by the building management,” Ben said.

“Owners of premises used for long and short term accommodation must also have a specific evacuation plan for their lodging – again, the general complex’s evacuation plan no longer is sufficient under the new laws.”

Ben provides that this is a significant change under the amended legislation and “our experience is suggesting that the majority of businesses and operators are predominately unaware of their new obligations.”

“For businesses that already have evacuation diagrams in place and assume they are compliant, they need to check the new provisions to ensure that the positions of fire extinguishers, fire reels and other vital safety equipment are indicated clearly on the diagram,” Ben said.

EVAC offers a straight-forward, one-stop solution to ensure that the relevant bodies affected by the revised legislation comply with the Regulation in a cost-effective and speedy manner.

EVAC’s experience and extensive resources enables it to produce high quality evacuation diagrams using Computed Aided Design (CAD) software technology. EVAC also offer the ability for clients to customise their design by incorporating company branding in accordance with individual requirements and preferences.

In the event that up-to-date floor plans are not readily accessible, EVAC can also conduct a survey of the business premises to mark up the drawings in preparation for the development of a compliant plan.

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Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Comments (2)

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  1. Mick England says:

    Wow! I don’t think most people realise how this affects them! Very useful, thank you!

  2. We are pleased we have received a number of queries relating to this article. A common theme is the confusion surrounding body corporates and multi tenanted sites, as to how the new regulation impact these sites, if at all.

    Given the Regulation is written in terms of building safety, it is absolutely necessary that all high occupancy buildings need to be updated to new compliance requirements. Body Corporates, Other managing entities and building Owners are responsible under the regulation to take necessary action to achieve compliance.

    This does not negate responsibilities that also apply to individual tenants/occupiers in multi tenanted buildings.

    The goal is for the building managing entity, whether it be a body corporate, owner or other, to liaise with all individual occupiers or tenants in the interest of assisting individual occupiers/tenants in creating diagrams, plans and procedures by every individual tenant to complement the overall building diagrams, plans, and procedures, thereby achieving a standard coherent level of compliance and emergency preparedness throughout the building.

    The implementation of the requirement of the newly introduced role of Fire Safety Adviser is also mandatory, required in a building determined to be a high occupancy building as outlined within the regulation.

    Keep in mind that apart from existing legislation, safety preparedness structures and the addition of a Fire Safety Adviser, there are three main areas that need to be addressed individually on a site by site basis.

    These are
    1/ Emergency Evacuation Diagrams, also commonly called Fire Exit Maps or Signs
    2/ Evacuation Plans, which are NOT maps, are a separate document and are mandatory
    3/ Emergency Evacuation Procedures, in many cases taking the form of a manual, which is a comprehensive Procedure Document to cover ALL aspects of Emergency and Evacuation Management Procedures.

    Having existing evacuation diagrams does not by any means guarantee compliance. The regulation imposed stricter requirements these diagrams must adhere to. This may trigger an update of your site diagrams to achieve compliance.

    Given the vast scope of scenarios that this applies to, we recommend you visit our website where you can view the regulation, legislation, and keep up to date with our blog service.

    We are updating our website to include topics detailing explanatory articles on parts of the regulation, and will soon have a free downloadable self assessment guide which you may use to inspect your own building to ascertain if action is required to achieve compliance. There is also a guide prepared by QFRS available from our website which details many scenarios whilst clarifying what is required to achieve compliance for each of these.

    Please email us or call us at any time for assistance with your individual requirements, alternatively post a question on our blog. This is a fantastic way to share information with others in the community.

    We thank you for reading this information, for participating via your enquiries, and happily encourage any query in that we may assist.

    info [at] evacservices [dot] com [dot] au

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