Council monitoring of fire safety for buildings
Local councils play an important role in protecting the safety of building occupiers and users, whether they are residents and workers who use the buildings regularly, or clients and visitors who use them occasionally.
The role of a building fire safety committee
The local council must appoint a building fire safety committee under the Development Act 1993 to ensure adequate fire safety in buildings. The role of a building fire safety committee includes:
- developing appropriate building fire safety inspection policies
- examining the adequacy of fire safety provisions in buildings
- issuing fire safety defect notices for building owners to upgrade to a reasonable level of safety for occupants
- negotiating with a building owner for a cost-effective solution to reduce fire safety risks to an acceptable level
- issuing notices of building work that must be carried out in order to raise the building fire safety to a reasonable level
- ensuring a building owner complies with a notice of building work required by initiating enforcement or other action
- revoking or varying fire safety notices.
An authorised officer from a council can inspect existing buildings to check fire safety.
Building owner rights
A building owner served with a fire safety defect notice has two months to develop an upgrading proposal and report to the building fire safety committee on the proposed measures to make the fire safety of the building adequate.
A building owner can:
- make representations to the building fire safety committee about the fire safety of the building and the work that needs to be carried out
- apply to the building fire safety committee to have a fire safety notice varied or revoked
- appeal to the Environment Resources and Development (ERD) Court against the service of a notice.
An owner must comply with a fire safety notice or risk prosecution and/or enforcement action through the ERD Court.
On completion of any work required by a fire safety notice, the owner must notify the building fire safety committee in writing.
For an alternative version of this document contact Building services.