When the construction of a commercial building is complete, the building owner is responsible for its upkeep and maintenance, particularly its safety features. So if that relates to you, it is worth reading this section.

The maintenance of essential services will ensure that the safety measures mainly dealing with fire situations within the building, remain at the required operational level throughout the life of the building.  The type of maintenance depends on the complexity of the service, equipment or feature and the experience of the person carrying out the inspection or test.

As some examples, essential service defined under the Building Regulations 1994 (the Regulations) include the following safety measures


Air conditioning systems  

Fire hydrants

Emergency lifts and lighting

Fire windows

Ext doors and exit signs 

Mechanical ventilation

Emergency power supply

Fire isolated stairs, passages ramps

Fire control centres 

Fire rated materials

Fire curtains and doors   

Path of travel to exits

Emergency warning systems

Smoke alarms

Fire detectors and alarm systems

Smoke control systems

Fire extinguishers  

Sprinkler systems

Please refer to the Regulations for a full listing of essential services.

If your building was built or altered since 1 July 1994, the Regulations require you to keep a current copy of your buildings occupancy permit together with an annual services report in the building. All essential services reports, records of maintenance checks, services and repair work to the building must also be kept on the premises so it is easily accessible for a municipal building surveyor or Chief Officer of the relevant fire brigade to randomly check for compliance. These documents are important as collectively they ensure that you are fulfilling these obligations.

Although councils have a responsibility under building legislation for the enforcement of building safety in their area, you have an obligation to ensure that essential services, safety equipment, fitting or other safety measures are maintained and operate satisfactorily.

Each year you are required to prepare an annual essential services report on the building's essential services. This is where ADAPT ESSENTIAL SERVICES as a specialist maintenance contractor can assist you in the preparation of this report or if written delegation is provided, your agent may complete the report.

If your building was built before 1 July 1994, you are not required to prepare and display an annual essential services report. However, you are still responsible for ensuring that any safety equipment, safety fittings or safety measures are maintained and fulfilling their purpose. This includes exits and paths of travel to exits. It is also advised that your records of maintenance checks, service and repair work be kept so they can be made available for inspection by your municipal building surveyor or chief officer. And remember, if building work is carried out, these circumstances may change, so it is worth checking with your municipal building surveyor or private building surveyor to see what you need to do to comply with the Regulations or contact the Building Commission.