Interview With An Experienced ESM Inspector
We recently had a chat with experienced ESM professional Damien Purcell, a registered Building Inspector, as he walks us through what you need to know with Essential Safety Measures.
Damien has been carrying out ESM audits and inspections since 2004 and holds a Diploma of Building Surveying as well as a Diploma of Building Construction. He was always interested in fire safety when studying Building and after graduating from RMIT, began to work as an Essential Services (as Essential Safety Measures was previously known) Officer at local Council. In this position, he was inspecting existing buildings within the municipality to establish their level of Essential Safety Measures compliance. This was and is pursuant to the overall safety of the buildings and primarily the safety and health of the occupants of these buildings.
Frequently asked questions from an Owner:
- Why is it essential to have an ESM program in place? What are the benefits for me as the Owner?
It is a requirement by law for all buildings with Essential Safety Measures be maintained so that their required ESM’s fulfil their purpose. The benefits include that primarily the safety and health of the occupants of the building is provided and that the building itself is not a risk to neighbouring properties among other benefits. In addition, the owner will fulfil their responsibilities under building law and avoid penalties. The compliance that the owner is required to achieve will also enable the owner to ensure their building insurances are not compromised and remain intact. Ensuring that a well-designed and functional ESM maintenance program is in place will assist in the owner in achieving compliance with the Building regulations.
- What happens if I don’t comply with my obligations to have an ESM program in place?
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA), Municipal Building Surveyor or Chief Officer of the fire brigade can issue on the spot fines for not maintaining Essential Safety Measures of a building. Also, an owner can be issued with building notices and orders to compel them to maintain their ESM and make safe their building. In some cases, owners have been prosecuted in court for non-compliance and have been caused to evacuate the building until such time as their Essential safety measures compliance requirements has been satisfactorily met.
- What are my responsibilities with ESM’s?
Put simply, the owner is required to maintain the ESM’s of their building so that the ESM’s can function properly and fulfil their purposes. The owner is also required on an annual basis to provide a report and statement displaying and proving that these ESM’s have been maintained and that appropriate records of maintenance, service and repair work are kept.
Frequently asked questions from a Tenant:
- Why is it essential to have an ESM program in place? What are the benefits for me as the Tenant?
ESM maintenance is a requirement for tenants also. In addition to the ESM maintenance requirements for building owners, there are also requirements for the building occupier to ensure exits and paths of travel are maintained in an efficient condition and kept readily accessible, functional and clear of obstruction so that egress from the building is maintained.
- What happens if I don’t comply with my obligations to maintain these?
Penalties apply to occupiers of these buildings that do not comply with their obligations under the Building Regulations.
More detailed information can be found on the VBA website regarding the responsibilities Owners and Occupiers with maintaining the ESM’s of their Buildings and Places of public entertainment.
In our 5-step process, we help you establish a maintenance program that will assist in understanding your essential safety measures requirements. For more information regarding what’s involved in our service, click here.
Contact SPI Property Inspections for a quick free quote or phone us directly on 1300 721 032 and we can help you out with your ESM needs.