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Department of Justice

Complying with the laws on maintenance

There are three steps that building owners or occupiers need to perform to comply with the Building Act 2016 to maintain safety and health features and measures and other prescribed features and measures in a building:

1. Regular maintenance of features or measures

Building owners have a legal duty to ensure that every essential safety or health feature installed in a building, any essential safety or health measure or any other prescribed features or measures applying to a building are maintained so that they continue to operate to the standard to which they were originally required to perform.

Building occupiers may have a duty to maintain features or measures where they have a contractual duty to maintain features and measures within their control.

A body corporate for a strata title property has a duty to maintain the features and measures on the common property and also the duty to ensure that every feature within a private lot (flat or unit) is also being maintained.

Frequency and type of maintenance required

Maintenance is an on-going responsibility with different inspection periods for different types of features.

The frequency of inspection, testing and maintenance of the prescribed features and measures is specified in the Director's Maintenance of Prescribed Essential Building Services Determination (pdf, 208.5 KB).

For all buildings constructed since July 2004 a schedule (prepared by the building surveyor) of essential safety and health features and measures, including their performance level, inspection frequency and type of maintenance required would be included with your occupancy permit.

All commercial and public buildings built before July 2004 must also be maintained. A maintenance schedule must be prepared for the owner or occupier by an appropriately qualified person.

The type of maintenance required depends on the complexity of each safety feature or measure.  For complex features specialist contractors will be required to check and maintain them.

2. Keep records of inspections and maintenance performed

You must keep records of maintenance checks, inspection reports, repair work and contractor's invoices so that an authorised person can inspect them. The owner is required to keep all maintenance records for ten years:

  • One set (the original) is to be kept off-site.
  • One set (copy) is to be kept on-site.
  • These documents must be made available on request.

When the building is sold, the owner must provide sufficient information to the purchaser so that they can continue to maintain the building's safety features and measures.

If new building work is carried out, the safety features of a building may have to be upgraded. A building surveyor should approve all works so that the operation of existing safety features is not affected by these changes. A new maintenance schedule will be provided.

3. Produce records on request

There is no longer a requirement to display a maintenance certificate, but owners (or occupiers with contractual responsibility for maintenance) are required to provide evidence that maintenance has been carried out, according to the maintenance schedule, if requested to do so by the Director of Building Control or his or her delegate.

Owners or occupiers are required to display a current occupancy permit in a prominent position (for example inside the main entrance). An occupancy permit can be obtained from a building surveyor. That permit does not need to renewed unless new building work is carried out.

What happens if an owner or occupier doesn't comply?

Authorised persons include the building safety officers of Tasmania Fire Service, the Director of Building Control and Council compliance staff.  They have powers to enter and inspect buildings, request documents and maintenance records and interview owners or occupiers.

Offences under the Building Act or Building Regulations in relation to essential maintenance include:

  • Failure to maintain the prescribed features or measures
  • Preventing maintenance of features or measures
  • Failure to keep records, including a failure to keep them in a secure place away from the building

Non-compliance may result in infringement notices, or prosecution in which a fine may be imposed for each breach, up to a maximum of $13,000 for an individual or $65,000 for companies.

Where there is a failure to maintain the safety features or measures, and there is a risk to users of that building, Building Orders may also be made to:

  • Evacuate a building
  • Prohibit the occupation of a building
  • Direct the owner to carry out building work (including the repair or maintenance of any prescribed safety features)
  • Direct the owner to carry out a program of work to eliminate a fire hazard.