June 1, 2012
The South Burnett has fared well in an audit of fire safety standards released today by Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg.
Mr Flegg released the findings of an audit of Queensland’s pre-2007 residential care buildings.
The South Burnett has 16 such buildings but only one still requires sprinklers to be installed to bring it up to standards that become mandatory on September 1, 2014.
“The recent Quakers Hill Nursing Home tragedy in Sydney highlights the risk that fire plays to the elderly and infirm,” Dr Flegg said.
“We need to make these existing buildings as safe as we can for those who live and work in them.
“To date, fire safety reforms have been implemented in budget accommodation buildings and ‘new’ RCBs built after June 2007.
“This audit included 926 RCBs built prior to June 1, 2007 and assessed what work, if any, was required to ensure they complied with new fire safety standards.
“Of the 926 existing RCBs assessed, 784 were found to be non-compliant. Of these, 644 of the non-compliant RCBs are built of fire-retardant materials or are only one storey in height and have until September 1, 2016 to comply.
“The remaining RCBs are built of more combustible materials and have more than one storey, so owners must ensure their building complies by the earlier date of September 1, 2014.”
Dr Flegg said the reforms would be phased in to give industry time to comply.
“The inspection of so many RCBs within a six-month period demonstrates the combined commitment of government and industry to improve fire safety standards for some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” he said.
Dr Flegg said depending on a building’s construction type and its associated fire risk, it may be necessary to install sprinkler systems, bedroom door closers or fire resistant walls in order to comply with the standard.
“Other buildings, with lower levels of fire risk, may be able to comply by changing their fire safety management plans or adopting higher staff ratios.
“This might involve a capital outlay for some operators but we will continue to work closely with the federal government and industry to help owners meet the requirements.”
- Download a copy of the Fire Safety Report (245kb PDF)