New planning reform shares maintenance responsibilities

A completely new Form 3 – ESP Maintenance Certificate calls for maintenance contractors to co-sign reduces building owners’ risk of legal liabilities

The SA State Government has initiated a new planning reform which has updated the development application process for new buildings in metropolitan Adelaide.

A major part of the reform is a new version of the Form 3 – ESP Maintenance Certificate used for the maintenance of essential safety provisions. The new version differs from the previous version in a number of ways:

  • The new form has a due date and has to be delivered to the council before the end of the first quarter every year. The old form was required to be delivered on the anniversary of a building being occupied.
  • The new form needs to be signed by both the building owner (or representative) and the maintenance contractor. Previously it was often just signed by the owner of the building, who may have signed without realising the risk they were taking on. E.g. if they sign off on an old form and the fire system is not working appropriately and there is a fire, then they could be deemed liable for the impact of the fire and potentially sued for noncompliance by the council or their insurance company. The co-signing ensures that this can no longer happen as a competent person now wears the risk of having done the maintenance and the owner bears less liability.
  • Also new is any defects of essential services need to be listed on the Form 3 and can only be removed from the list if work is in progress to fix them. Having a complete list of issues requiring attention in a single report is a vast improvement compared to the previous way of handling this issue. Until now the Form 3 did not include any defects, these were reported to the owner in various different formats, compared with now where they are ll in one location giving the building owner a better overview.

The requirement for this new building regulation is only for buildings that have been approved from March 2021. For buildings approved and built before March 2021 either version of the Form 3 may be used. It is not compulsory to change to the new form for older building stock.

Old form: Here

New form: Here

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