What is an Essential Safety Measure?

In Victoria, an Essential Safety Measure ("ESM") is defined in Regulation 214 of the Building Regulations (Vic) 2018. In general, an Essential Safety Measure is provided for the safety of persons in the event of fire.
Russ Porteous
CEO, Firewize

Regulation 214 of the Building Regulations (Vic) 2018 defines an Essential Safety Measure as;

  1. a safety measure specified in column 2 of the table in each Part of Schedule 8 (listed below) that is required by or under the Building Act (Vic) 1993 or the Building Regulations (Vic) 2018 to be provided in relation to a building or place of public entertainment; or
  2. any other item that is required by or under the Act or Regulations to be provided in relation to a building or place of public entertainment for the safety of persons in the event of fire and that is designated by the relevant building surveyor as an essential safety measure; or
  3. any other item that is an essential safety measure within the meaning of regulation 1202 of the Building Interim Regulations (Vic) 2017 as in force immediately before its revocation; or
  4. any other measure (including an item of equipment, form of construction or safety strategy) required for the safety of persons using a building or place of public entertainment required to be provided in relation to that building or place by or under the Act, or any previous corresponding Act, before 1 July 1994.

 

Schedule 8—Essential safety measures

Part 1—Building fire integrity

  1. Building elements required to satisfy prescribed fire-resistance levels
  2. Materials and assemblies required to have fire hazard properties
  3. Elements required to be non-combustible, provide fire protection, compartmentation or separation
  4. Wall-wetting sprinklers (including doors and windows required in conjunction with wall-wetting sprinklers)
  5. Fire doors (including sliding fire doors and their associated warning systems) and associated self-closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms
  6. Fire windows (including windows that are automatic or permanently fixed in the closed position)
  7. Fire shutters
  8. Solid core doors and associated self-closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms
  9. Fire-protection at service penetrations through elements required to be fire-resisting with respect to integrity or insulation, or to have a resistance to the incipient spread of fire
  10. Fire protection associated with construction joints, spaces and the like in and between building elements required to be fire-resisting with respect to integrity and insulation
  11. Smoke doors and associated self-closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms
  12. Proscenium walls (including proscenium curtains)

Part 2—Means of egress

  1. Paths of travel to exits
  2. Discharge from exits (including paths of travel from open spaces to the public roads to which they are connected)
  3. Exits (including fire-isolated stairways and ramps, non fire-isolated stairways and ramps, stair treads, balustrades and handrails associated with exits, and fire-isolated passageways)
  4. Smoke lobbies to fire-isolated exits
  5. Open access ramps or balconies for fire-isolated exits
  6. Doors (other than fire or smoke doors) in a required exit, forming part of a required exit or in a path of travel to a required exit, and associated self-closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms

Part 3—Signs

  1. Exit signs (including direction signs)
  2. Signs warning against the use of lifts in the event of fire
  3. Warning signs on sliding fire doors and doors to non-required stairways, ramps and escalators
  4. Signs, intercommunication systems, or alarm systems on doors of fire-isolated exits stating that re-entry to a storey is available
  5. Signs alerting persons that the operation of doors must not be impaired
  6. Signs required on doors, in alpine areas, alerting people that they open inwards
  7. Fire order notices required in alpine areas

Part 4—Lighting

  1. Emergency Lighting

Part 5—Fire fighting services and equipment

  1. Fire hydrant system (including on-site pump set and fire-service booster connection)
  2. Fire hose reel system
  3. Sprinkler system
  4. Portable fire extinguishers
  5. Fire control centres (or rooms)

Part 6—Air-handling systems

  1. Smoke hazard management systems—
    1. automatic air pressurisation systems for fire-isolated exits;
    2. zone smoke control system;
    3. automatic smoke exhaust system;
    4. automatic smoke-and-heat vents (including automatic vents for atriums);
    5. air-handling systems that do not form part of a smoke hazard management system and which may unduly contribute to the spread of smoke;
    6. miscellaneous air-handling systems serving more than one fire compartment to which Sections 5 and 6 of AS/NZS 1668.1 The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings—Part 1: Fire and smoke control in buildings, as in force or as re-issued or as published from time to time;
    7. other air-handling systems.
  2. Car park mechanical ventilation system
  3. Atrium smoke control system (see item 1(d) for smoke and heat vents)

Part 7—Automatic fire detection and alarm systems

  1. Smoke and heat alarm system
  2. Smoke and heat detection system
  3. Atrium fire detection and alarm system

Part 8—Occupant warning systems

  1. Sound system and intercom system for emergency purposes
  2. Building occupant warning system

Part 9—Lifts

  1. Stretcher facilities in lifts
  2. Emergency lifts
  3. Passenger lift fire service controls

Part 10—Standby power supply system

  1. Standby power supply system

Part 11—Building clearance and fire appliances

  1. Open space around large isolated buildings
  2. Vehicular access around large isolated buildings

Part 12—Mechanical ventilation and hot, warm and cooling water systems

  1. Mechanical ventilation systems incorporating cooling tower systems (other than a system serving only a single sole-occupancy unit in a Class 2 or 3 building or a Class 4 part of a building)
  2. Mechanical ventilation systems incorporating hot and warm water systems (other than a system serving only a single sole-occupancy unit in a Class 2 or 3 building or a Class 4 part of a building)