Hefty fines for breach of new building laws

Written on the 10 March 2009

 

SWEEPING changes to building legislation in Queensland could result in hefty fines for developers who fail to comply.
State Government legislation concerning certificate of classification signage and fire safety equipment installation and maintenance are expected to put an additional financial burden on building owners, many of whom are unaware of their obligations.
International construction consultants Davis Langdon say the new raft of changes will be implemented on April 23. State manager for the firm’s building certifiers arm Daniel Davrain, says while the changes have been designed to improve safety, information to date has been ambiguous.
“In speaking to many building owners, the big majority has no idea of what is occurring and they are shocked when we tell them that they could be liable for fines of up to $16,500 for failing to comply,” he says.
“The economic downturn and the global financial crisis is hard enough to deal with for many of these owners and they are not getting the message about what came into law in January and what is about to become law on April 23.”
Davrain says the new laws stipulated that building owners must display a certificate of classification as near as practical to the main entrance to the building outlining the legal occupation of the building’s use. Building owners must also include a list of fire safety installations within the building.
“They must also have records of maintenance for installations such as fire hydrants and sprinklers and are to lodge an annual report with Queensland Fire and Rescue Services,” he says.
“In addition, all maintenance must be carried out by an appropriately qualified person and the occupants of the building are to complete an annual statement , known as an ‘occupiers statement’ which lists what fire safety equipment is in the building and details on how it is being maintained.”
Failure to comply can result in fines of up to $16,500 and individual on the spot fines of between $2000 and $5000 can be imposed by Queensland Fire and Rescue Service where there have been fire safety breaches.
“From our discussions with building owners it would appear many are in the dark and they should be looking at their individual circumstances now to ensure they comply with all new legislation,” says Davrain.
“Local councils are sending out information outlining what the new rules are, but we do not think it is getting through to the majority. It probably won’t hit home until there have been some fines issued unfortunately.”

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