Building fire regulations for bodies corporate

Building fire regulations

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Building fire safety regulations for bodies corporate

Fire safety is a primary concern in any community, ensuring the protection of lives & property.  

In Queensland, the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 (BFSR 2008) stands as a crucial framework designed to govern fire safety measures within buildings. This regulation plays a pivotal role in maintaining the safety of occupants and structures, outlining the responsibilities of building owners and managers, as well as the standards that must be upheld to prevent and respond to fire incidents effectively. 

Queensland’s strict fire legislation is a key contributor to the very low risk of fire-related injury and death in multi-residential properties. 

Overview of the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008

The Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 was established under the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990, which is administered by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES). The BFSR 2008 is a comprehensive legal document that covers various aspects of fire safety within buildings, ranging from the installation of fire safety equipment to the development of fire evacuation plans. 

The main objectives of this regulation are: 

(a) Guaranteeing a safe and swift evacuation for all in the event of fires or hazardous materials emergencies, and 

(b) Ensuring that designated fire safety installations within buildings are diligently maintained. 

Fire safety regulations for low occupancy buildings

Low occupancy buildings, such as residential apartment complexes or townhouses, often house fewer people and have less complex fire safety needs compared to high occupancy buildings.  

However, this does not diminish the importance of fire safety measures. The BFSR 2008 mandates that even in low occupancy buildings, essential fire safety installations, regular maintenance, and proper management practices are upheld. 

A low occupancy building can meet compliance with: 

Smoke Alarms: Ensure that functional smoke alarms are installed in common areas and within each residential unit. Regularly test and replace batteries to guarantee their effectiveness. 

Fire Extinguishers and blankets: Place fire extinguishers and fire blankets in accessible locations like hallways. Train residents or staff on their proper use. 

Clear evacuation routes: Develop clear evacuation routes that are prominently displayed in common areas. These routes should lead residents to safe assembly points away from the building. Conduct regular fire drills to familiarise occupants with the evacuation procedures. 

Emergency Lighting: Install emergency lighting in hallways, stairwells, and other escape routes for occupants to safely navigate the building even in the event of a power outage during a fire. 

Regular Maintenance: Frequent maintenance of fire safety equipment is crucial: 

  • Smoke alarms 
  • Fire Extinguishers and blankets 
  • Emergency lighting 

Education and training: Appoint and train an evacuation coordinator, and train residents on fire safety measures: 

Fire Safety Information: Provide residents with written information about fire safety protocols, evacuation routes, and the proper use of fire safety equipment. 

Training: Organise fire safety training sessions or workshops to familiarise occupants with the actions they should take in case of a fire emergency. 

Compliance Documentation: Maintain necessary documentation to demonstrate compliance: 

Fire safety regulations for high occupancy buildings

In addition to the above regulations, high occupancy buildings, defined as those exceeding 8 floors or accommodating more than 30 workers in a single workspace for commercial properties, are subject to an additional stipulation – a designated a Fire Safety Advisor (FSA). 

The role of an FSA is fulfilled by a qualified individual with comprehensive knowledge of all facets of building fire safety. Their primary responsibilities entail offering guidance to building occupants to ensure the implementation of effective emergency planning. 

It’s important to note that the FSA is not obliged to be a resident or employee within the building. Their primary function is to provide expertise in the realms of planning and training, ensuring that all fire safety protocols are meticulously executed. 

Body corporate exemptions

For residential schemes, buildings may be exempt from some of these requirements if the building is classified as 1, 1A, (stand-alone housing classifications, or some duplex classifications) 10A or 10B. 

If you are unsure what classification your building is, a Certificate of Classification can indicate this. 

A detailed list of building classifications can also be referenced on the QBCC (formerly the BSA) website ( 

In summary

The Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 stands as a testament to the government’s commitment to public safety. By providing a clear framework for fire safety measures within buildings, the regulation plays a crucial role in safeguarding lives and property.  

It is a collaborative effort that requires the active participation of building owners, managers, and occupants to ensure that fire safety remains a top priority. Adhering to the BFSR 2008 not only ensures legal compliance but, more importantly, contributes to creating a safer and more resilient community. 

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