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Building Systems, Maintenance & Compliance

As a building/facility manager, you are responsible for ensuring compliance with numerous legislative requirements. Today, we wanted to have a quick review of some of the lesser known requirements and situations where building managers have been caught out. Towards the end of the article is a useful checklist to assist with identifying the common compliance items.

Most facilities managers are undertaking the obvious maintenance items like air-conditioning and mechanical services, fire panels and electrical safety switch testing, but there are apartment buildings and commercial properties that haven't considered or are unaware of compliance in regards to emergency and exit lighting, fire stair pressurisation systems and car park ventilation, and many don't ever realise the fact. If you’re unsure about the regulations Able AES can assist. Our company provides testing & compliance for all regulated services in buildings including;

Emergency and exit lighting, stair pressurisation systems, fire damper certification, electrical switch board maintenance, all mechanical ventilation systems including car parks and exhaust systems, air conditioning servicing, maintenance and repairs.

Recent results from compliance checks commissioned to Able: Case study 1.

A recent inspection (the first in some time) in a prominent apartment tower situated on the Gold Coast – A simulated power outage to test the emergency and exit lighting proved that only 20% of the available lighting worked throughout the building. The fire stair lighting failed to operate along with the car park emergency lighting, on both levels. This situation can be disastrous when people are trying to evacuate a building in the dark and also could result in significant fines if subjected to a QFES spot audit. The lesson – routine 6 monthly testing of all emergency and exit lighting is essential for the safety of building occupants and also, and is a compliance requirement stipulated in AS2293. Spot fines for failing to maintain an emergency evacuation lighting fixture start at $5500.

Case study 2.

Testing of the mechanical exhaust systems in a prominent apartment tower on the Gold Coast – Inspection and testing of the main exhaust systems (serving the bathrooms & laundry areas of the apartment tower) with over 20 floors of ducting found extensive contamination of the main duct risers with serious buildup of dust and foreign materials which, coupled with the moist conditions, can harbor harmful contaminants including mould and mildew. It was evident that the ducts had never been cleaned and also that more than 50% of the internally installed fire dampers were non-operational due to corrosion or mechanical failure due to the heavy contamination.

Case Study 3.

A recent test of stair pressurisation systems in a multi-story apartment tower – Able was approached to test the stair pressurisation systems in a 40 storey apartment tower after an incident where the fire alarm had been raised and all occupants requested to evacuate. One third of the top floors fire stairs became almost inaccessible due to the over-pressurisation of the fire doors leading to the stairs and excessive force was required to open the doors causing panic amongst the evacuees. Upon testing it was found the systems mechanical components had seized making the auto-relief non-operational. Replacement of the components rectified the faults & certification was issued once the systems passed testing.

Are you compliant? Use this quick checklist to help you identify issues you may have missed.

Please contact us for an obligation free appraisal of your client’s buildings services or if you require a free quotation for any of the above mentioned items. Don’t be caught out when it comes to building compliance.

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