Council may require safety upgrades to a premises if a building does not comply with fire safety regulations.
Fire safety audits
Council may undertake Fire Safety Audits to ensure buildings within the Byron Shire meet an acceptable level of fire safety. The purpose of this audit program is to:
- increase the safety of occupants within the building in the event of a fire
- ensure compliance with statutory requirements
- make sure that the maintenance and use of a building do not constitute a fire hazard.
Council conducts random fire safety audit inspections, with priority given to buildings that pose the greatest risk to human life because of the way the buildings are used and the number of people using it (e.g. hotels, boarding houses and residential flat buildings). Council will also conduct fire safety inspections when fire safety issues are brought to our attention.
Council will conduct a fire safety audit inspection in conjunction with the manager/owner/agent of the building. We will liaise and consult with the property owner about any issues identified during the inspection.
A notice to upgrade the building will be issued if it is Council's opinion that:
- the provisions for fire safety or fire safety awareness are not adequate to prevent fire, suppress fire or prevent the spread of fire or ensure the safety of the people in the building in the event of fire
- essential fire safety measures are not being maintained
- use of the premises constitutes a significant fire hazard.
In cases where the owner/occupier has shown a disregard for fire safety, a fine may be issued.
The draft order will indicate a schedule of works to be carried out within a specified time period.
A fire safety assessment report of the building by an independent and qualified building consultant or fire safety engineer may also be required. This report must compare the level of fire safety in the building against the current requirements of the Building Code of Australia. Where deficiencies are identified, recommendations will be made on how to achieve acceptable levels of fire protection.
In many cases, it is not practical to achieve strict compliance with the current requirements of the Building Code of Australia. Assessment using the performance clauses of the Building Code of Australia may provide a means of determining an acceptable level of fire safety.
Once the notice/order has been issued
The owner of the building is responsible for complying with a notice or an order. Where there is more than one owner, Council may direct each owner to carry out the works specified in the order.
Penalties, of up to $1.1 million, can be imposed by the courts when the work listed in a fire safety order is not carried out.
We will inspect the premises upon completion of the works, as noted in the notice/order. The owner or an agent will be required to submit a Final Fire Safety Certificate for any ordered works. Upon receipt of certification and if satisfied the works have been completed, Council will advise in writing of the completion of the works.