About Occupiers’ Statements
July 31, 2020
Completing an Occupiers’ Statement and sending it to the Commissioner’s Office every year sounds easy enough to do, so why does this seemingly straight forward exercise tend to generate so much confusion and angst?
In this article, we have answered the most commonly asked questions from bodies corporate with regards to occupier’s statements.
I am often asked about Occupiers’ Statements in terms of what are they, who should sign them, what do you do with them, and so on? The below Q&A should provide clarity around the most commonly asked questions:
What is an Occupiers’ Statement?
An Occupiers’ Statement is a declaration from the Building Owner and Occupier to the Commissioner QLD Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) that all fire installations at the building are being maintained and that all critical defects notices have been rectified. An Occupiers’ Statement template can be downloaded from the QLD Fire & Emergencies Services (QFES) Forms and Templates webpage.
I find the easiest way to understand how an Occupiers’ Statement works, is to think of it as you would for a Vehicle Safety Certificate for a car; it is a declaration that the safety features (i.e. fire installations) are being maintained and that everything is working. In the case where a Vehicle Safety Certificate is unable to be issued because a headlight is broken, an Occupier’s Statement works in the same way should – say – there be no records to demonstrate the fire extinguishers are being maintained. And, like you would a Vehicle Safety Certificate, you would need to complete the exercise all over again once you did rectify the issue, because other issues may have come about in the meantime.
Is an Occupiers’ Statement a legal requirement?
Yes! Legislative requirements for occupiers’ statements are found in the QLD Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 (Section 55A), and also the QLD Development Code Mandatory Part 6.1 – Commissioning and Maintenance of Fire Safety Installations. An Occupiers’ Statement must be completed annually for all class 1b to class 9 buildings.
Who should sign an Occupiers’ Statement?
The building owner or occupier, or a QBCC licensed Fire Safety Advisor can be signatories on an Occupiers’ Statement, keeping in mind that an Occupiers’ Statement is a legal document. An Occupiers’ Statement cannot be signed if there are issues.
Can I submit an Occupiers’ Statement if something is not compliant?
QLD Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) will not accept any Occupiers’ Statement that is either not signed, not declaring all relevant fire installations are being maintained appropriately, or the Occupiers’ Statement is not accompanied by a copy of any issued Critical Defect Notices along with evidence demonstrating the issue has been rectified within the prescribed period on the Notice (e.g. an invoice).
Where do I send our signed Occupiers’ Statement?
Signed occupiers’ statements are emailed to the Commissioner QFES at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to keep the Occupiers’ Statement after I email it?
Yes! Occupiers’ statements form part of the building’s maintenance records and must be kept with the building’s Fire and Evacuation Plan either electronically or in hard copy for at least two years. The Statement must be produced upon request by an authorised Fire Officer.
Where can I find more information about this?
QFES has developed a useful Guide titled Building Fire Safety Management Tool and Advisory Notes which includes further information about occupier’s statements. The Guide, as well as other useful information, can be downloaded from the QFES Building Owners and Occupiers webpage.
This article was contributed by Sean Albert, General Manager – Strata Compliance Solutions.