The Victoria Building Authority (VBA) has issued a building order to a group of property owners in response to fire safety concerns at their three-storey residential building. The owners of the Noble Park apartment building are now facing a bill of almost $500,000 to fix the problems.

The order was issued after an inspection revealed that the building did not have adequate fire safety measures, such as portable fire extinguishers, suitable fire exit doors, a compliant fire hydrant system and sufficient smoke detection and alarm systems.

Constructed by a developer, the three-storey residential building with 55 apartments sold to individual owners is mostly occupied by international students from a nearby university.

The VBA’s Director Compliance and Performance, Murray Smith said nearly all buildings in Victoria, including houses, must meet fire safety requirements under the Building Regulations 2006. The problems identified with the building meant that there was a risk to life and safety for the occupants.

According to Mr Smith, the owners will be required to install appropriate fire safety equipment and systems to ensure compliance with the order. Building permits for the initial stages of the rectification work have been issued, with temporary safety measures in place while the work is being executed.

Mr Smith explains that when the plans for the building were developed, there was little consideration for fire safety. As a result, the owners are now fixing the problem at a cost of almost $500,000. However, the owners have been very cooperative throughout the process though it would have saved everyone a lot of money and time if the developers had made sure the required safety measures were installed when the building was constructed.

He adds that this case acts as a reminder about the importance of doing proper checks when purchasing a property including arranging for a professional inspection to make sure it is safe and meets the building regulations.