Investigative Audit Liability risk for Buildings – Analysis of Object Safety according to the Austrian Standards B1300/B1301
All owners of buildings (companies, property managers) assume responsibility for the safety of their buildings. They need to ensure the safe condition of the buildings, counteract hazards emanating from the real estates as well as from the objects and buildings and prevent identifiable hazards.
Numerous laws and regulations imply the following duties:
- constructional prevention and maintenance duties
- organizational duties (e.g. duty to inform, such as posting the names and data of contact persons, user instructions, warning hints or Operating Instructions)
- supervision and monitoring duties
The inspections relating to object safety are regulated for residential buildings in the Austrian Standard B1300 and for non-residential buildings in the Austrian Standard B1301.
What is particularly noteworthy is that the property or object owners or their representatives (house managers, facility managers and the like) are responsible and liable. In this respect, tort (law regarding damages), which is becoming more and more stringent, should not be underestimated.
In this context, the liability criterion principally is the state of the art, which often significantly goes beyond the consensual state of the building and therefore also implies duties to retrofit the buildings. Te bow of responsibility stretches from contractual duties of protection and due care and diligence (such as keeping sidewalks clean acc. to the road traffic regulations) to liability torts (such as liability for buildings acc. to § 1319 ABGB (Austrian General Civil Code) and general duties to secure transport and traffic.
Among other things, this focus audit consists in conducting visual checks of the structural facilities as well as of all elements relevant to safety. These checks are to help to identify damage and possibly point at risks (e.g. inspection intervals, legal requirements) or a need for refurbishment or modernization. Like this the companies will be provided with a comprehensive analysis of the actual state of their buildings, the focus being on requirements relevant to safety, including a final report about the technical areas of object safety (technical object safety, hazard and risk prevention and fire protection, health and environmental protection, burglary protection and protection from outer danger).
- acquisition of the actual state of the building (from the basement to the roof) based on a comprehensive visual check of the real estates (in compliance with the Austrian Standard B1300/B1301) and
- review of conformity to decisive standards, laws and regulations to be kept and technical specifications with a reference to manufacturer specifications according to which the preservation of the safe state of the building needs to be guaranteed
Any commercial and industrial enterprises that own buildings; companies managing real estates (public or private)
- review of the consensual state
- review of the actual state
- documentation and collection of enclosures
- drawing up official findings
- review of regulatory additional burdens relating to areas ranging from house engineering to house rules (to name but few items)
- compilation from other documentation (structure file, collection for later work acc. to the Act on the Coordination of Building Work)
- duty to warn and notify based on inspection and appraisal