Annual fire inspection of common property. When do we needs to do this? | Common Property | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered
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I am a EC member of a large strata scheme, the fire inspection on the common property is done each year with a list of repairs.
I have asked the Fair Trading help line and the say sec 65 (c ) does not state a time period like annual.
I have spoke to the strata agent the say is in the EPA Act that annual fire inspection has to be done. The local council also says that an annual inspection on the unit block has to done annually. Who is right please?
Your Strata Manager is right! The initial Inspection is undertaken before Council issues the Occupation Certificate for your building, and future inspections must be undertaken annually, and typically on the anniversary of the date that the initial Inspection was completed.
The requirements are spelt out in the NSW Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation (2010) – most of what you require may be found here.
I appreciate that those parts of the building are common property but I’ve yet to find the bit of the black letters that says I’m to make them available for an inspection, and on what terms.
Since moving in I’ve encountered many instances when the long-standing bods have told me something is ‘the law/by law etc’ when I’ve found it not to be so. They were either trying to maintain the status quo because it suited them or because someone had told them it was the law etc and it was never questioned. I’m trying to build my own knowledge of what’s what.
I have no issue with the concept of inspections but I like to know the grounds on which they start and finish.
Our good friends at Strataman.com.au (which is great if you want the letter of the law without the nuances and side issues we get into) say this about fire safety issues.
The NSW Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000 requires that “the owner of a building, to which an essential fire safety measure is applicable, is required to maintain each essential fire safety measure in the building”. Failure to comply with this legislation can lead to significant fines and possibly serious legal ramifications for those responsible.
Fire Safety measures include smoke detectors and alarms, fire dampers, doors and automatic sprinkler systems.
Moving on to the strata Act, it says this:
65C What are the duties of an owners corporation in relation to fire safety inspections
(1) A person authorised to carry out an inspection under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 of a building or premises for purposes relating to fire safety may give a notice in writing to an owners corporation for a strata scheme requiring the owners corporation to ensure that access is provided, within a period or at a time specified in the notice, to the common property of the strata scheme and, if so specified, some or all of the individual lots in the strata scheme.
(2) An owners corporation must comply with a requirement of a notice given to the owners corporation under this section.
Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.
(3) It is a defence to a prosecution for an offence against subsection (2) consisting of a failure to ensure that access is provided to a lot in a strata scheme if the owners corporation establishes that the owner or occupier of the lot refused to allow the access or could not be contacted by the owners corporation.
(4) For the purposes of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, access to a building or premises or part of a building or premises given to a person in accordance with this section, or in accordance with an order of an Adjudicator made under section 145 for the purposes of this section, is taken to be a permission given to that person by the occupier of the building, premises or part to enter the premises and carry out the inspection concerned.
If you refuse access, they can get a CTTT order forcing you to do do and then will probably charge you for a personal call-out fee to the fire inspector – which won’t be cheap.
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