Commercial Tennancy Responsibilities | QBM Brisbane

The introduction of the Workplace Health and Safety Act and Regulations in 2012, changed the manner in which many businesses operated. Commercial tenancy responsibilities are now imposed upon all persons in a business for the safety of all persons, not just employees.

Major changes also now impose responsibilities upon all within the supply chain, and many can be responsible at the same time.

New Terms

New terms were introduced that impact upon everyone in business.

PCBU    – “Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking”

  • A person or business is still a PCBU even if the undertaken is not for profit.
  • But does not include volunteer organisations unless they employ any person to carry out work for the organisation.

Person with Management or Control of the Workplace

  • A person conducting a business or undertaking that has whole or part control of their workplace.

Workplace

  • A place where work is carried out by a business or undertaking and includes a place where a worker goes.

Commercial Rental Properties

A commercial rental property is a “workplace” as described in the legislation. Plus, all parties involved with a commercial rental property fall under the definitions of “Person in Control of Workplace” and generally a “PCBU”.

Thus the following parties have clear and defined responsibilities both independently and at the same time as the other parties.

  • Building Owner
  • Property Manger
  • Lessee of the property
  • Business operating within the property

Commercial Property Responsibilities under WHS Act

The following lists in broad terms the responsibilities each party holds. Depending on the property and lease arrangements, these may alter or increase, but this is provided as a general guide.

The Owner

  • Identify all asbestos within the buildings and site of the property/ complex;
  • If asbestos is identified, develop an Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan;
  • If building constructed > 2003 in NSW and >1990 in Queensland, no register is required if there is no asbestos on site.
  • Issue Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan to the Property Manager to distribute to tenants and any contractor working on site;
  • Update the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan in accordance with the recommendations of the Assessor;
  • Update the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan whenever there is a change of any type to the asbestos on site;
  • Develop an Emergency Management Plan for the common areas of the property / complex including Evacuation Diagrams;
    • Only applicable if there are multiple tenancies with the property/ complex;
  • Issue Emergency Management Plan to the Property Manager to distribute to tenants to allow them to prepare theirs based upon this complex wide plan, and any contractor working on site;
  • Conduct an evacuation drill for the complex to test the Emergency Plan;
    • Only applicable if there are multiple tenancies with the property/ complex;
  • Ensure that all common areas within the complex are safe for use by tenants, contractors, and the general public, plus any person who may come onto the site;
  • Pass the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan to any purchasers of the property should it be sold;

The Property Manager

  • Obtain copies of Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan;
  • Copies of Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan to be held on site;
    • The installation of an “Emergency Procedures Cabinet” is a good choice to store documentation.
  • Obtain copies of Emergency Management Plan;
  • Copies of Emergency Management Plan to be held on site;
  • Evacuation Diagrams to be installed on site;
  • Obtain copies of any safety report to ensure site is safe;
  • Have any works required to make the site safe completed;
  • Do not send any staff or contractors to site unless it is safe to do so;
  • Do not send any staff or contractors to site without them acknowledging that they have read and understood the contents of the Emergency Management Plan, plus the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan;
  • A copy of the common area Emergency Management Plan, plus the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan is to issued to each tenant within the property /complex;
  • Ensure regular inspections are conducted to keep the property/complex safe for use and abide by the WHS Act;

The Tenant

  • Ensure you receive a copy of the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan;
  • Engage a professional to conduct an Asbestos inspection of all plant and equipment that you bring to site and prepare a separate Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan as required;
  • Keep copies of all Asbestos Registers and Asbestos Management Plans on site;
  • Train all staff in Asbestos Awareness and the contents of the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan;
  • Update the Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Plan whenever there is a change of any type to the asbestos within your plant and equipment;
  • Ensure no staff interferes with asbestos on site unless fully trained and licensed;
  • Ensure you receive a copy of the common area Emergency Management Plan;
  • Develop your own Emergency Management Plan for your business;
  • Install Evacuation Diagrams within your business;
    • Qld – only required if floor area > 250m2
  • Train all staff in the use of fire equipment and the Emergency Procedures – Yearly;
  • Appoint a Responsible Person to manage the Emergency Management Plan and conduct training and drills;
  • Depending upon the size of your business, develop an Emergency Control Organisation (team);
  • Conduct an evacuation drill for your business and test the Emergency Plan – Yearly;
  • Check your lease to see if you are responsible to maintain the fire equipment within your tenancy;
    • Maintain fire equipment as required
    • Complete and issue an annual fire safety statement;
  • Keep all records for Asbestos and Emergency Management on site is a safe place;
  • Ensure your workplace is a safe place to work and no hazards are present. Conduct regular safety inspections, or engage a professional to identify any hazards and immediately rectify.

ABOUT QBM (QUALITY BUILDING MANAGEMENT)

Quality Building Management (QBM) formed by Donald Pitt, has been an active professional within the Building and Strata Industries since 1970.

Specialising in everything to keep Commercial, Industrial and Residential Complexes safe and legally compliant, QBM provide the full range of Asbestos, Fire and Building inspections, reporting and training services for Property Owners and Managers, as well Real Estate Agents.

By doing all the required services and investing in systems and our people, we can confidently give cost saving guarantees where you will save money.

If you’d like to find out more about commercial tenancy responsibilities, then contact us today!