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Essential Safety Measures (ESM)

If you own a commercial or industrial building, you are responsible for keeping it safe.

About Essential Safety Measures

The systems that keep people safe in your building are called Essential Safety Measures (ESM).

It's your responsibility to maintain them for the life of the building.

Some examples of ESMs are:

  • fire detectors and alarm systems
  • fire fighting equipment and sprinklers
  • exit doors and access to exits
  • emergency lighting and exit signs
  • mechanical ventilation.

These must be checked and maintained by appropriate contractors.

Owners must also ensure that an Essential Safety Measures Report is carried out every year. 

Essential Safety Measures and buildings

Unless your building is a house or outbuilding, ESMs are compulsory.

ESMs are required in:

  • boarding houses
  • hostels
  • residential accommodation
  • shops and offices
  • factories and warehouses.

What else should I know?

All buildings with required ESMs built after 1 July 1994 must display their:

  • occupancy permit
  • schedule of essential safety measures.

These must be in the building's main entrance or as listed on the occupancy permit.

You can find more information at the Victorian Building Authority.

Need help?

Contact Building Services and we will get back to you.

Or call our Building Services team on 9298 8000.


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