Safety measures within buildings, such as fire protection systems and equipment, should undergo regular testing, servicing, and maintenance to guarantee their proper functioning in times of necessity. AS 1851, the Australian Standard, outlines the protocols for routine servicing of fire protection systems and equipment. The majority of building owners are obligated to adhere to AS 1851-2005 or the most up-to-date version of the Standard, which is AS 1851-2012.
AS 1851-2012 is meticulous in its approach to inspection requirements. It not only mandates regular inspections but also specifies the components that need scrutiny. When applied to water tanks, this means a thorough examination of not only the tank’s structural integrity but also the condition of valves, pipelines, and related equipment.
This comprehensive approach ensures that all elements of the water storage system are regularly assessed, minimizing the risk of unnoticed issues that could compromise safety and functionality.
To comply with Australian regulations, you must inspect all of your firewater tanks on a regular basis. In addition, maintenance should adhere to AS1851-2012.
- The Standard structure has been simplified to make it easier for stakeholders to understand.
- Reporting documentation requirements have been restructured (logbooks, tags, labels & summary records)
- A clearer distinction between initial installation, routine service, and annual regulatory compliance.
As the Standard establishes a systematic basis for minimum routine service activities, it can be used to develop specific routine servicing regimes. The Standard requires documentary evidence in the form of records and reports, with the documentary evidence designed to assist responsible entities in meeting regulatory obligations.
Currently, the responsibility for defining the maintenance standards for fire protection systems and equipment in buildings and land falls upon the respective State and Territory Governments in Australia. This extends to properties under their jurisdiction, as well as privately owned ones.
The Federal Government, on the other hand, holds the responsibility for overseeing fire protection standards on Commonwealth land and buildings, regardless of their location within a State or Territory.
This control is established by each state or territory through an Act of Parliament (Act), which is their primary form of legislation. These Acts, in turn, can authorize the creation of Regulations to implement the Act. Simply put, the Act establishes the principles and goals for compliance, while the Regulations detail how these goals are to be met.
Regulations, in turn, can make full, partial, or modified references to external documents such as Codes or Standards. This allows documents such as the National Construction Code (Australian Building Code) and Australian Standards to become part of the regulatory regime of State or Territory governments.
An Act may “refer” to Regulations, which may “refer” to Codes or Standards. When Regulations, Codes, or Standards are referenced (or partially referenced), there is a legal obligation to follow the provisions or those that are referenced. Codes and Standards are not mandatory unless specifically referenced. This is commonly referred to as the legislative hierarchy.
Because each state and territory has its own legislative and regulatory framework governing safety measures (of which Fire Protection Systems and Equipment are a part), each state and territory has its own terminology.
The significance of regulatory requirements in this domain are:
- AS 1851-2012 (Routine Service of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment): This standard sets clear guidelines for the frequency, scope, and documentation of inspections and maintenance.
- Local Building Codes and Regulations: Building codes and regulations serve the purpose of guaranteeing the safety of individuals within structures and safeguarding property.
- Environmental Regulations: These regulations aim to protect natural resources and ecosystems by ensuring responsible water usage, containment, and spill prevention.
- Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations: Water tank maintenance often requires workers to access confined spaces or work at heights, posing various risks.
- Industry-Specific Standards: These standards ensure that water tanks meet the unique needs and safety requirements of the industry in question.
Implementation of AS 1851-2012
Based on the primary legislation in your jurisdiction, the following provides a summary of your local adoption and use of AS 1851-2012. Note: This is only general information; for complete details, contact the relevant regulatory authority in your state or territory.
The ease with which the States and Territories formally adopt AS 1851-2012 will be critical to its success. At present, Tasmania, Queensland, and South Australia are at the forefront, and the acceptance of this Standard across the entire country remains to be seen.
The property industry experiences significant financial losses annually as a result of variations in regulatory compliance practices across different jurisdictions. It is high time for national harmonization in regulatory compliance to address this issue.
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Whether you’re a building owner in Sydney, a facility manager in Melbourne, a farmer in Dalby, or a business operator in any of our diverse Australian cities, having a firm grasp of and adhering to these regulations can significantly impact safety, compliance, and peace of mind.