Certifier legislative obligations

Certifier legislative obligations in regard to providing documentation to Queensland Fire & Emergency Services (QFES) & Compliance with Planning Scheme Provisions

In March 2016, the QBCC issued a reminder to building certifiers, through a number of communication strategies, of their mandatory obligation to provide prescribed documentation to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).

This message was communicated through newsletters published by industry organisations such as RICS and AIBS, including the current edition of the national magazine, Australian Building Surveyor. The legislative obligations are mandatory under section 107 of the Building Act 1975 and section 63 of the Planning Act 2016.

Advice is still being received by the QBCC that despite giving building certifiers ample opportunity to correct their administrative processes, mandatory documentation is not being given to QFES. In particular, but not limited to, copies of certificates of classification and the lists of all fire safety installations, including drawings showing the location of the fire safety installations.

The QBCC views these breaches as significant and is concerned this is a safety issue which has the potential to cause injury and even death to building occupants and rescue personnel.

The QBCC has been informed that QFES now has technology which will identify those building certifiers who do not comply with their legislative responsibilities.

Audits

To ensure compliance, as of July 1 2017, the QBCC will be carrying out concentrated audits from information provided to the QBCC. Should breaches be identified and proven by the QBCC, high end enforcement action such as fines, prosecution or disciplinary will be taken.

Certifier obligations

The QBCC would remind certifiers that prior to issuing any building approval, one of your obligations as a private building certifier is to ensure your client has obtained the relevant planning approvals from a local government or has met any self-assessable criteria in the local government’s planning scheme. It is important to ensure that you are not issuing approvals for building work that may require Council planning approvals such as demolition in some character areas of the Brisbane local government area.

Resources

The QBCC has been informed that Brisbane City Council website provides extensive information and tools about planning and development in Brisbane to assist the building industry with planning enquiries. In addition, Council has dedicated town planners who can answer your questions at no cost and further aims to provide verbal advice within five business days of receiving an enquiry. However, Council officers will generally be able to respond to your enquiry sooner. You can contact Brisbane City Council 24 hours a day, seven days a week by phone (07) 3403 8888 or by visiting www.brisbane.qld.gov.au and navigating to the ‘how to get advice’ webpage.

For areas outside Brisbane please contact your local authority.

More information

 For further information, please contact Tony Townshend Manager Certification on 07 3613 3507 or email tony.townshend@qbcc.qld.gov.au.