ABMA Code

The ABMA Building Management Code (ABMA Code) is produced and maintained by Australian Building Management Accreditation (ABMA) under direction of the ABMA Independent Review Panel (Panel).

The primary objective and goal of the ABMA Code is to achieve a nationally consistent minimum necessary standard of delivery in building management activities, including compliance with third party contracts as well as associated Acts, Standards, Regulations and Codes of Practice.

The goal is applied so that the following is available across the national industry:-

  • Nationally recognised accreditation
  • Rigorous testing rationale
  • Benefit generated to the community (including health, safety and protection of investments and assets) is greater than cost outlays (that is, net benefit)
  • Only regulatory or non-regulatory alternative available in Australia.

The ABMA Code primarily covers operational provisions for maintenance of technical and functional infrastructure within a structure, covering such matters as fire safety installations, access and egress, mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems as well as soft services, cleaning services, garden maintenance as well as general functionality, health and amenity.

Introduction of interpersonal communications standards as a secondary provision within the ABMA Code are directed specifically at managing the softer side of the contractual relationship between the parties to a building management agreement. The Panel expects these guidelines to provide much needed governance, support and clarity around the parameters of acceptable professional behaviour. The adverse implications associated with interpersonal break down in contractual relationships are well documented and, in addition to outlining a national minimum standard for delivery of practical requirements in infrastructure management, the ABMA Building Management Code seeks to pioneer measurable standards of acceptable behaviour as a means to arrest deteriorating affiliations so as to maintain collective direction toward the practical outcomes, compliance responsibilities and other more tangible commitments required under the agreement.

Annual reviews of the ABMA Code are conducted by the Panel and new versions of the ABMA Building Management Code are released on 1st January annually. In addition to the hard-copy ABMA Code book, electronic versions of updates are available throughout the year via subscription.


Standards Framework

The ABMA Code sets out specifications and procedures designed to ensure products, services and systems related to the ongoing maintenance of built environments are safe, reliable and consistently perform to the way they were intended. These specifications and procedures are based primarily on sound industry and consumer experience and seek to establish a common language and single nationally consistent scale which defines quality and safety criteria, while being regularly reviewed by the Independent Review Panel to keep pace with changing industry expectation, technologies and legislation.

Introducing performance-based requirements to the industry enables innovation and flexibility when developing compliance solutions. The ABMA Code provides national standards requirements in the framework of outcomes-based assessment which focusses on product/compliance delivery.

Potential benefits to the industry include:-

  • Single nationally consistent scale
  • Performance-based requirements are outcomes-focussed
  • Single means/criteria for assessing compliance
  • Acceptable cost outlays required to achieve Accreditation
  • Transferability of standards
  • Productivity improvements
  • Lessening of contractual disputes

Regulatory Process

Supporting institutes are known to be fundamental to the successful operation of performance based standards assessments. Recommendations include:-

  • Liability laws
  • Private accreditation regimes
  • Clear compliance standards
  • Registration systems

 

Performance and compliance under the ABMA Code is regulated by ABMA. Accredited buildings and/or industry practitioners are required to achieve and sustain the minimum compliance standard in order to maintain Accreditation. Breaches of compliance may be reported to Australian Building Management Accreditation via the Early Dispute Prevention Department where the Accreditation will assess the breach allegation before delivering a Decision Notice and or Request to Remedy.


Accreditation Process

  • Registration into national ABMA data base
  • Accreditation (assessment to appropriate compliance standard)
  • Annual Compliance Accreditation (ongoing assessment to appropriate compliance standard)
  • Registration and Accreditation processes are managed via Australian Building Management Accreditation where evidence of competency and compliance under the ABMA Code are required to be demonstrated in order to achieve Accreditation.

Annual review of accreditation guarantees sustainable outcomes delivery, education in updated legislative requirements which safeguards compliance to the most current standards.


Guidance Levels

The ABMA Building Management Code sets out objectives and compliance expectations via Guidance Levels in the form of “functional statements” which intend to communicate community needs around performance and compliance standards.

For example, “The objective is to safeguard Occupants from injury or loss of amenity caused by an unmaintained swimming pool, so the pool is to be maintained so as to remain suitable for intended use.”


Compliance Levels

Performance References within the ABMA Code tie the subject into the mandatory performance criteria upon which compliance may be measured.

For example. “The pool must be available for its intended use.”


Solutions

Solutions are outlined within the ABMA Code so as to provide the subject with clarification on how compliance may be achieved, via two methodologies:-

  1. Deemed to Satisfy – provision of a standard that if applied properly, would result in compliance
  2. Alternative Solution – able to demonstrate an alternative that would result in compliance.

Assessment Methods

Compliance under the ABMA Building Management Code may be assessed via the following methodologies:-

  • Documentary evidence
  • Verification methods
  • Expert judgements
  • Comparison to Deemed to Satisfy provisions

Guides to the ABMA Code

In addition to the ABMA Building Management Code, the Independent Review Panel has developed the following suite of Guidebooks:-

  • ABMA Code Swimming Pool & Recreational Areas Guide
  • ABMA Code Fire Systems Maintenance Guide
  • ABMA Code Cleaning Services Guide
  • ABMA Code Garden Maintenance Guide
  • ABMA Code WHS Guide
  • ABMA Code Industry Code of Conduct Guide
  • ABMA Code Industry Terms & Definitions Guide
  • ABMA Code Assessment of Building Management Standards Guide

Developed with the intention of breaking the comprehensive ABMA Code into user-friendly and task-specific groups, the Guidebooks are a companion to the ABMA Code and may be distributed to end-users who don’t necessarily require the full spectrum of universal standards documented within the ABMA Code.