What is the Building Fire Safety Regulation (BFSR)?
The Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 was introduced after a review of the 1991 regulation identified several areas that required changes and improvements to ensure public safety.
The main objects of this regulation are –
(a) To ensure persons can evacuate buildings safely and quickly if a fire or hazardous materials emergency happens; and
(b) To ensure prescribed fire safety installations for buildings are maintained.
If you are an owner, business or person that is occupying or managing a building in Queensland you have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of any person in that building in the event of a fire or other emergency.
Compliance for Low Occupancy Buildings
A Low Occupancy Building (under 8 floors) can meet compliance in six easy steps:
1) Maintain prescribed Fire Safety Installations. Prescribed safety installations can include:
Fire Hydrant and Fire Hoses
Fire Sprinkler systems
Exit and other signs
2) Keep defined evacuation routes clear and safe
3) Complete a Fire and Evacuation Plan (including evacuation diagrams) and review it annually
4) Appoint and train an Evacuation Coordinator annually
5) Have an evacuation practice at least annually
6) Complete and lodge an occupier’s statement annually
Compliance for High Occupancy Buildings
As well as the above, a high occupancy building (over 8 floors or with more than 30 workers in an individual workspace in the case of commercial properties) will have an additional requirement to appoint a Fire Safety Advisor (FSA).
A FSA is a qualified person who is familiar with all aspects of building fire safety. Their primary duties are to provide advice to the occupiers to ensure that appropriate emergency planning has taken place.
The FSA does not need to work or live in the building as their primary role is to provide advice on planning and training.
Requirements to keep documentation and records
The regulation also includes additional requirements to maintain and store documentation and records to prove all of the requirements have been met. Records that must be kept include:
Maintenance of prescribed Fire Safety Installations
Copies of the Fire and Evacuation Plan and Diagrams and records of annual review
Records of training for the Evacuation Coordinator
Records of the evacuation training and evacuation practice conducted
Records of annual occupier statement
These documents must be kept in the building in a way that it is reasonably unlikely not to be damaged in the event of a fire or hazardous materials emergency. A lockable metal cabinet will meet this requirement.
Requirements to display Certificate of Classification
When a building was constructed after 1997, it is required to display the Certificate of Classification in the foyer of the building.
For Bodies Corporate, some properties may be exempt
For residential bodies corporate, buildings may be exempt from some of these requirements if the building is classified as 1, 1A, 10A or 10B.
If you are unsure what class a building is, the Certificate of Classification can indicate this.
A detailed list of building classifications can also be referenced on the QBCC (formerly the BSA) website (www.qbcc.qld.gov.au).
What are the fines for non-compliance?
In 2009 the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service introduced on the-spot fines for breaches of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 1990 and BFSR. Fines for each breach increase in severity, with a maximum fine of $200,000 or 3 years imprisonment for a breach that causes multiple deaths.