One of the main objectives of the Building Act 1993 (the Act) is “to protect the safety and health of people who use those buildings and to enhance the amenity of buildings”. The relevant building surveyor ("RBS") issuing an Occupancy Permit, has a duty of care to ensure that buildings are safe and habitable.
An occupancy permit issued in accordance with section 46 of the Act is evidence that the building or part of the building is suitable for occupation:
BUILDING ACT 1993 - SECT 46
Effect of occupancy permit
(1) An occupancy permit under this Division is evidence that the building or part of a building to which it applies is suitable for occupation.
(2) An occupancy permit under this Division is not evidence that the building or part of a building to which it applies complies with this Act or the building regulations.
An occupancy permit is typically issued with a section outlining the conditions of occupation in the form of a table that includes categories of equipment and safety installations that include;
These categories are a historical reference to Part I1 of the 2013 edition of the National Construction Code ("NCC"), Volume One. In the 2014 edition and all following editions of the NCC, Part I1 was removed, however its legacy continues to remain in wide use today.
AS1851 is a complex document that demands experienced and competent people to deliver. We have been helping building owners, agents of owners and occupiers for 30+ years manage their fire protection maintenance.
The Victorian Building Authority ("VBA") is the Victorian Government department responsible for the administration and application of building legislation such as the Building Act & Building Regulations in Victoria. The VBA produce a range of documents including "Practice Notes" to help industry professionals and the community to interpret and apply legislation.
Practice Note 23 and 24 are documents that the VBA have produced and amended from time to time that describe the Maintenance of Essential Safety Measures (PN 23) and Occupancy Permits (PN 24).
For a new building, the Relevant Building Surveyor will issue an Occupancy Permit. An occupancy permit is a document that confirms your building surveyor is satisfied the building is suitable for occupation, and also details any conditions that relate to the occupation. These conditions of occupation will typically list the following in the form of a table that states;
*Conditions to which this permit is subject
Occupation is subject to the following conditions—
- Essential safety measures
The following essential safety measures must be inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with the maintenance requirements set out in the following table;
Essential safety measures required to be provided in the building or place of public entertainment Provision of the Building Regulations 2018 applicable to installation and operation of essential safety measure The level of performance that each essential safety measure must achieve to fulfil its purpose The frequency and type of maintenance required for each essential safety measure The frequency and type of testing and inspections required for each essential safety measure
- *Other conditions
The Relevant Building Surveyor will issue Certificate of Final Inspection ("COI") for the alteration or addition to an existing building or structure. An alteration or addition to an existing building or structure do not require an occupancy permit, as the existing building should already have an occupancy permit.
There are a number of key concepts covered by this article, some of which may be new to you or are simply confusion. Below, we have provided an overview of some of these terms and definitions;