There is a misconception about those involved in all levels of Government and instrumentalities that they are exempt from having to conform to the Building Code Requirements and ongoing performance of essential services in buildings.
While “Crown/ Prescribed Persons” do have some exemptions regarding shortcuts to development approvals (projects of state significance. There are no exemptions under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act’79, Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, Amended Regulation 2014 or Amended Regulation 2017, for Crown/ Prescribed Persons (such as Public Hospitals, Universities, Local Councils, Utilities, etc.). So there are NO exemptions from those requirements associated with annually attesting to the performance of all essential fire safety measures to a performance value not less than that of the performance standard of the installed measure when installed. This takes the form of an Annual Fire Safety Statement.
Australian Standards are referred to as minimum best practice and the minimum best practice for the service and repair of fire protection measures is Australian Standard AS1851-2012, emergency lighting & exit signs AS2293.2-1995 (but hopefully soon we’ll see a 2019 version which is sorely needed), emergency lifts servicing to AS1735.2-2001, and standby power systems to AS/NZS3010-2017.
Therefore the minimum best practice for the assessment of performance of these systems is AS4655-2005 Audit of Fire Safety Systems in Buildings. We suggest that there is a need to conduct these audits at a minimum to Level 2 audit routines which requires physical at site assessment as well as (Level 1 audit, which is) review of documentary evidence associated with service & repair.
For complex buildings having performance solutions and /or complex fire interfaced systems, we suggest Level 3 audits which consist of witness testing for the full function interface test.
It is imperative that the AS4655 assessor/ auditor has reasonable knowledge of the EP&AR2000 Div.7, NCC/BCA Vol.1 Part C, D & E (and variances from 1990 version to date), relevant Australian Standards for installed essential services measures (and the variances versions associated with the time of construction), plus the servicing standards. For older buildings earlier building codes such as Ord.70 and associated Ministerial Specifications would be necessary.
AS4655-2005 identifies that such audits need to be independent of the incumbent service providers.
Yes, we are somewhat biased being “independent fire safety assessors” who’s principal has been doing such assessments since AFSS’ were first introduced in NSW in 1987. We are still doing them and continually adding to our knowledge of all essential (fire safety) services as well as other issues associated with building services compliance in buildings.
FIRE ASSESS can be contacted by phone on 1300-AS4655 / 1300-274655 / 02-9594-4477