Safety and emergency measures
Building maintenance doesn't just stop at the condition of the paint, windows or bricks and mortar.
Ongoing maintenance should also include a discussion by the owners committee and strata manager of the emergency procedures as well as the occupational health and safety issues that may exist in the building.
A lot of newer builds are offering mixed use – that is residential, commercial and retail – and this can complicate matters, but professional maintenance companies can offer assistance and solutions. Some offer a complete health check of a building from the condition of the structure to health and safety assessments, risk assessments and so on.
Regular checks for potential safety hazards are essential and if minor issues are discovered early and immediately rectified they can save the owners corporations a great deal of money.
All strata-titled properties including residential buildings are required to carry out a fire safety inspection of the common property. This should be carried out at least annually to identify issues relating to the fire services within the building.
A thorough inspection involves ensuring evacuation routes are clear of obstructions, all fire safety installations are tested at regular intervals and a log of these tests is kept (in commercial buildings), checking that exit doors have the correct hardware, documentation is complete and available, staff are trained, a Fire and Evacuation Co-ordinator is appointed for the site and the certificate of classification is displayed on the building.
Typical safety measures in a commercial building include evacuation signage, fire and emergency evacuation plans, emergency safety plans and staff training. This can be applied to a residential building as well if the owners committee believes it's a good idea and that it would get co-operation from the lot owners.
A fire and evacuation plan lays out the roles, responsibilities and required actions for a building's key personnel, employees and tenants. It should be simple, effective and generic in nature. The intent of the plan is to provide coordinated and key emergency services but it is not a be all for every emergency.
Situations can arise that are often unforeseen but at least being prepared for a disaster can provide a focus and some direction should one occur.