Owners of buildings such as commercial or industrial premises and residential flat buildings etc, have a legal obligation to ensure that all fire safety measures installed on the premises are maintained in good working condition at all times. This is a requirement under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
FIRE SAFETY - NSW
NSW Government has introduced reforms to fire safety to improve the quality of checks made throughout the design, approval, construction and maintenance phases of a building.
Certain functions under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation must be undertaken by an ’accredited practitioner (fire safety)’ or a registered certifier.
On 1 July 2020, legislative changes updated the requirements for accredited practitioners (fire safety) (previously known as ‘competent fire safety practitioners’).
The Department has developed guidance material to assist building owners in this process. The guide Selecting an accredited practitioner (fire safety)– A guide for building owners who must issue annual fire safety statements is available on the ‘Fire safety’ page of the Department’s website.
Further information can be found on the NSW Government Website -
To assist building owners and practitioners apply the requirements of the Regulation relating to fire safety statements, the Department has published a range of frequently asked questions.
The frequently asked questions also provide a high-level overview of some important components of the NSW legislation relating to fire safety in existing buildings.
Fire safety certificate
A fire safety certificate is a document issued by or on behalf of the building owner(s) upon the completion of new building work.
The certificate confirms that each of the fire safety measures that apply to a building (as listed in the fire safety schedule) have been installed and checked by a properly qualified person. This process helps verify that the required fire safety measures can perform to the minimum standard.
A fire safety certificate must be issued using a standard template form published by the NSW Government.
Fire Safety Certificate form https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Buildings/Safety-reforms/Fire-safety
What is a fire safety measure?
Fire safety measures include items of equipment, forms of construction or fire safety strategies that are provided in a building to ensure the safety of persons using the building in the event of fire. It can include items such as portable fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, fire sprinklers, fire detection and alarm systems and lightweight construction. Fire safety measures include both essential fire safety measures and critical fire safety measures as defined in clause 165 of the Regulation.
Essential fire safety measures are often identified in the building’s fire safety schedule, where a schedule was required to be issued, or they could be included in the essential services list attached to an approval or order issued under the Local Government Act 1919 or the Local Government Act 1993. Essential fire safety measures are the fire safety measures that form part of an annual fire safety statement.
Critical fire safety measures are the fire safety measures that are of a nature or installed in a manner which requires periodic assessment and inspection at intervals of less than 12 months. These measures are specifically identified on the fire safety schedule and form part of a supplementary fire safety statement. A critical fire safety measure is also an essential fire safety measure.
What is an accredited practitioner (fire safety)?
An accredited practitioner (fire safety) means an accredited practitioner whose class of accreditation authorises the holder to exercise the functions of an accredited practitioner (fire safety) who is acting in respect of matters to which the accreditation applies.
A building owner is required to select an accredited practitioner (fire safety) from a register of accredited practitioners.
For more information, please visit the NSW Fair Trading website
There is no requirement to be accredited for the installation or routine maintenance and servicing of essential/critical fire safety measures.
There are two types of fire safety statements:
- Annual fire safety statements
An annual fire safety statement must be issued each year and include all the essential fire safety measures that apply to a building. The statement also verifies that a competent fire safety practitioner has inspected and confirmed that the exit systems in the building are in compliance with the Regulation.
- Supplementary fire safety statements
A supplementary fire safety statement is issued at more regular intervals (as specified in the fire safety schedule) for any critical fire safety measures that apply to a building.
A fire safety statement must be issued using a standard template form published by the NSW Government.
Fire Safety Statement form https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Buildings/Safety-reforms/Fire-safety
Annual Fire Safety Statement
To assist owners in providing a fire safety statement on time, in the correct detail and reducing the risk of incurring a penalty infringement notice, council offers a reminder service. This service provides building owners and or their managing agents (eg, strata manager/real estate agent) with:
- Reminder letters.
- A partially completed statement for your completion and return.
- An acknowledgement letter.
- Advice of any changes to the fire safety schedule applicable for the premises.
- Technical/regulatory advice where possible.
- Where necessary, copies of relevant documentation, including relevant legislation.
Pay for my reminder service
How do I lodge my annual statement?
It must be submitted within 12 months after the date on which the previous statement or the final fire certificate was given, and it must be lodged within three months of the date of inspection and assessment.
The statement must be submitted to council with a copy being sent to Fire and Rescue NSW at firstname.lastname@example.org (contact phone 9742 7400).
Council's copy of the statement can be lodged at the Customer Service Counter.
What happens if I don't submit an annual fire safety statement?
Council treats fire safety issues seriously. Where required under legislation to provide a statement, the owner is responsible to ensure lodgement, regardless of whether the property is tenanted or vacant. As an owner, please consider:
- Incomplete or late fire safety statements may result in a fine.
- If this statement is not completed satisfactorily, you will be required to submit a corrected statement.
- Fines can be imposed for failing to provide an annual/supplementary fire safety statement and range from $1,00 to $4,000.
- If a fine is issued, it will not excuse you from the need to submit a fire safety statement.
- If you fail to meet your statutory requirements, council may take legal action against you and/or may continue to issue on-the-spot fines.
- Failure to maintain essential fire safety measures (which is a separate offence) can also result in a fine; the penalty in this instance is $3,000.