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Queensland building legislation changes could see owners fined

International construction consultants Davis Langdon say that the changes, part of which were made law in January and a second change which is due on April 23, will put an additional financial burden on building owners and that many are unaware of their obligations.

State Manager for Davis Langdon – Building Certifiers, Daniel Davrain said the Queensland Government's changes are responsible and designed to improve safety, but information about the changes and what they mean for owners is not getting through.

"In speaking to many buildings owners we act for the big majority have no idea of what is occurring and they are shocked when we tell them that they could be liable for fines of up to $16,500 for failing to comply," said Mr Davrain.

"The economic downturn and the global financial crisis is hard enough to deal with for many of these owners and they are not getting the message about what came into law in January and what is about to become law on April 23."

Mr Davrain said from January this year new laws stipulated that building owners need to display a Certificate of Classification as near as practical to the main entrance to the building which outlines what the legal occupation of that building can be.

The building owners must also include a list of fire safety installations within the building.

"They must also have records of maintenance for installations such as fire hydrants and sprinklers and are to lodge an annual report with Queensland Fire and Rescue Services," he said.

"In addition all maintenance must be carried out by an appropriately qualified person and the occupants of the building are to complete an annual statement , known as an ‘occupiers statement'  which lists what fire safety equipment is in the building and details on how it is being maintained."

Failure to comply with the Certificate of Classification signage can result in fines of up to $16,500 and individual on the spot fines of between $2000 and $5000 can be imposed by Queensland Fire and rescue Service where there have been fire safety equipment maintenance breaches.

"From our discussions with building owners it would appear many are in the dark and they should be looking at their individual circumstances now to ensure they comply with all new legislation" he said.

"Local councils are sending out information outlining what the new rules are, but we do not think it is getting through to the majority.

"It probably won't hit home until there have been some fines issued unfortunately."
Mr Davrain said Davis Langdon can provide full details on what is required to building owners who are unsure.