Fire safety emerges as hot topic for councils

Grant District Council will establish a building fire safety committee, with Mayor Richard Sage to sit as presiding member of the group for up to three years.

Alongside Mayor Sage on the committee will be fire experts from the Limestone Coast, including Julian Aggiss, Colin Paton, and Darren Chapman as independent Country Fire Service representatives.

It comes after changes in legislation saw building fire safety matters fall under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (PDI Act), which does not require councils to establish building fire safety committees.

However, advice received from the Local Government Association said councils were “obliged to establish” them.

Locally, the committee will include Daryl Sexton as its representative building surveyor, John Best as its staff representative from council, and Councillor Barry Kuhl as Mayor Sage’s proxy.

According to the committee’s operating procedures, it will be responsible for inspecting buildings to assess their fire safety and will generally notify the building’s manager or owner in writing of the building that it wishes to inspect.

The committee will prioritise responding to requests for inspection from the SA Metropolitan Fire Service and the CFS, and any complaint received in relation to a building.

It will also prioritise responding to advice from building officers on the fire safety of buildings in the council jurisdiction.

According to its operating procedures, committee will meet behind closed doors with deliberations to remain confidential, while agendas and minutes of the meetings are not required to be published.

After being presented in a report by council’s director of environmental services in early August, the operating procedures and committee appointments were moved by Cr Brad Mann and seconded by Cr Peter Duncan.

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