In your home
There are many ways for fire to start in your home. The most common causes of house fires are:
- saucepans containing fat or oil boiling over onto the stove
- burning or spattering fat
- food left on a stove unattended
- children playing with matches
- appliances such as an irons, or heaters left on at night or when no one is home
- furniture, toys or clothes placed too close to heaters
- smoking in bed
- an open fireplace left burning without a screen guard
- faulty electrical appliances
- incorrectly installed flues on wood heaters or stoves
- overloaded power points.
For more information on fire safety in the home, visit the Metropolitan Fire Brigade website (MFB).
Under the Building Regulations 2018, all residential buildings must have self-contained smoke alarms and must be connected to the building’s mains power source. This includes dwellings within a building, or other buildings of non-residential classes.
Residential buildings covered by these regulations include:
- Class 1a — detached house, row house, town house, villa unit
- Class 1b — boarding house, guest house
- Class 2 — building containing sole-occupancy units (eg. a block of flats)
- Class 3 — backpacker accommodation, residential part of a hotel or motel, residential part of a school, accommodation for the aged, disabled or children
- Class 4 — dwelling in a non-residential building.
Any owner who fails to comply with these laws could be fined.
For further information on location, types and maintenance of smoke alarms, visit the Victorian Building Authority’s smoke alarm page.
How do I ensure my home wiring is safe?
We recommend that you get a home wiring safety check to assess the health of electrical wiring in your home. You should also use a registered electrical contractor or a licensed electrical inspector, which you can find online.
This independent assessment will cover:
- fixed electrical wiring
- the main switchboard
- fixed appliances such as electric ovens your electric hot water service
- portable appliances such as electric heaters and fans.
The Energy Safe Victoria website has further information about home wiring.
Nursing homes and hostels
Nursing homes, hostels and other similar housing centres must have essential safety measures or systems installed.
Severe penalties apply if you don’t regularly maintain these systems, or haven’t installed them in working order.
For more information, visit the Housing Industry Association’s Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards page.
If you need more help on meeting your obligations as a builder or building owner, download the Victorian Building Authority’s Essential safety measures maintenance manual (PDF, 1.8MB).
Under the Building Act 1993, building owners and occupiers must ensure all installed and required essential safety measures are maintained.
Do you inspect commercial buildings?
Yes, we conduct random essential safety measure inspections of commercial buildings throughout Glen Eira, to ensure that you’re meeting your maintenance responsibilities.
Enforcement policies are now in place for breaches of the Building Regulations 2018. If you’re a building owner, you can be prosecuted if found to be in breach of these requirements.