Generators in the body corporate environment

Increasingly, building owners are installing generators to provide back-up electricity power. These are usually larger schemes with more extensive common property lighting, security and access control systems.

For the purpose of insurance, permanently fixed generator installations are deemed ‘machinery’ and forming part of the building. It should be noted and specified for cover in the insurance policy. These installations should comply with regulations and national standards with regard to safety requirements for the wiring of the premises. Insurers may reject any insurance claims due to non-compliance of these minimum safety requirements.

The very obvious dangers associated with generators are carbon monoxide gas poisoning, electric shocks or electrocution, fire and burns. It stands to reason that these installations should not be placed in confined spaces but rather in an area with adequate ventilation. It is also advised to mount a 4.5kg dry chemical powder fire extinguisher in close proximity to the generator. There is also the matter of storage of fuels: where large amounts of liquid and flammable fuels are held in storage (say more than 20 litres), it would be prudent to notify the building’s insurers accordingly and confirm the manner in which these fuels are safely stored.

In the case of individual owners, residential or business, it is quite common to see privately owned portable generators being used. It is the responsibility of the section owner to insure such generators privately as it is not body corporate property. If the body corporate does acquire a small portable generator for any reason, it should be specified for cover on an all risk basis to enjoy widest cover, including theft.

 

Author Brian Addison

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