Fire Safety

What is a fire safety schedule?

A fire safety schedule specifies each of the fire safety measures that apply to the building premises. The fire safety measures specified in the fire safety schedule will vary for each building and can be both essential fire safety measures and critical fire safety measures. The schedule also specifies the minimum standard of performance for each of the measures. This standard reflects the standard to which each measure is designed, installed and capable of operating.

A fire Safety Schedule is legislated for issue at the following times:

  • by the Council or an accredited certifier in relation to a construction or complying development certificate where work is being undertaken within the building or construction of a new building
  • by the Council with a fire safety order 
  • by the Council in some cases with a development consent (other than a complying Development certificate), such as for a change of use in an existing building, where no building work is proposed by the applicant for the consent and no building work is required by the consent authority

What is a 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.

Click here to download a copy of the form (DOCX 165.1KB)

What is an annual fire safety statement?

An annual fire safety statement is a declaration by or on behalf of a building owner that a competent fire safety practitioner (CFSP) has: 

  • assessed, inspected and verified the performance of each existing essential fire safety measure that applies to the building, and
  • inspected the exit systems serving the building and found that the exit systems within the building do not contravene the provisions of Division 7 of Part 9 of the Regulation.

A building owner must ensure that an annual fire safety statement for the building is issued each year and that a copy of the statement is provided to the local council and Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW.

 

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Who do the requirements for annual fire safety statements apply to?

The requirements apply to the owners of buildings that contain essential fire safety measures and are required by the Regulation to issue an annual fire safety statement.

What are the building owner's responsibilities in relation to fire safety measures?

The building owner is responsible for maintaining each fire safety measure to the required minimum standard of performance contained in the fire safety schedule. For fire safety measures that apply to buildings by means other than a fire safety schedule, the measures must be maintained to the standard to which each measure was originally designed and implemented.

What is the purpose of a fire safety statement?

A fire safety statement is a declaration from the building owner(s) that the fire safety measures that apply to a building have been checked and continue to perform to the relevant standard. This assists in demonstrating that building owner(s) are complying with the requirement that they maintain fire safety measures in accordance with clause 182 of the Regulation. As such, it is the responsibility of the building owner to issue a fire safety statement, however the Regulation allows an agent to do this on their behalf.

In issuing a fire safety statement, the building owner(s) or agent is declaring that a competent fire safety practitioner has assessed each fire safety measure that applies to the building and confirmed that the measure meets the required standard of performance.
 
For annual fire safety statements, the building owner(s) or agent is also declaring that a competent fire safety practitioner has inspected the building’s fire exit systems for compliance with the Regulation.

As the person issuing the statement is not certifying the performance of the fire safety measures, they are not expected to have the specialist expertise to verify that they meet the minimum standard.

Who must issue the fire safety statement?

The Regulation requires that the building owner or their agent issue the fire safety statement by signing the declaration in section 8 of the form for annual fire safety statements and section 9 for supplementary fire safety statements.

Building owners could include individuals, a company or an owner’s corporation. 

Where a person issues the statement on behalf of the owner(s) (as the owner’s agent), this person must have the appropriate authority from the building owner(s) to undertake this function. 

In the case of a building with multiple owners, one owner may issue the statement, however each of the other owners must authorise the owner who issues the statement to act as their agent. 

Competent fire safety practitioners must not issue a fire safety statement where they have assessed a fire safety measure or inspected the building’s exit system (for an annual fire safety statement). This is consistent with the fire safety statement process in the Regulation, which recognises the different roles and responsibilities for building owner(s) and CFSPs. It also ensures building owners (who are ultimately responsible) remain directly engaged in the fire safety statement process.

Who must issue the fire safety statement?

The Regulation requires that the building owner or their agent issue the fire safety statement by signing the declaration in section 8 of the form for annual fire safety statements and section 9 for supplementary fire safety statements. 

Building owners could include individuals, a company or an owner’s corporation. 

Where a person issues the statement on behalf of the owner(s) (as the owner’s agent), this person must have the appropriate authority from the building owner(s) to undertake this function. 

In the case of a building with multiple owners, one owner may issue the statement, however each of the other owners must authorise the owner who issues the statement to act as their agent. 

Competent fire safety practitioners must not issue a fire safety statement where they have assessed a fire safety measure or inspected the building’s exit system (for an annual fire safety statement). This is consistent with the fire safety statement process in the Regulation, which recognises the different roles and responsibilities for building owner(s) and CFSPs. It also ensures building owners (who are ultimately responsible) remain directly engaged in the fire safety statement process.

What is a competent fire safety practitioner?

A competent fire safety practitioner is a person who is competent to perform fire safety assessment functions required by the Regulation. The Department of Customer Service has established a coregulatory framework to recognise industry accreditation schemes for competent fire safety practitioners.

The first accreditation scheme is expected to become operational from April 2020 and when this occurs, a building owner will be able to select a competent fire safety practitioner from a register of accredited practitioners (if that practitioner is required to be accredited). Further information about the accreditation schemes can be found on the ‘Fire safety practitioners’ page of the NSW Fair Trading website.

Until the accreditation scheme commences, or if a practitioner is of a class of persons that is not required to be accredited, it is the responsibility of the building owner to determine and document that a person is a competent fire safety practitioner (clause 167A(4)(b) of the Regulation). The Department has developed guidance material to assist building owners in this process. The guide Selecting a competent fire safety practitioner – A guide for building owners who must issue annual fire safety statements is available on the ‘Fire safety’ page of the Department’s website.

Can a fire safety statement be 'issued' by a competent fire safety practitioner?

The role of the competent fire safety practitioner is to assess, inspect and verify the performance of each fire safety measure and inspect the fire exit systems of buildings. Competent fire safety practitioners must also endorse the statement to this effect. 

The Regulation allows an agent to issue the fire safety statement on behalf of the building owner. However, the person who issues the statement by completing the declaration in section 8 or 9 of the fire safety statement form must not be a competent fire safety practitioner who was involved in the assessment of any of the measures or the inspection of the building for the purposes of the statement. This recognises the different roles and responsibilities for building owner(s) and CFSPs in the fire safety statement process. It also ensures building owners remain directly engaged in the fire safety statement process.

Find out more, including the new annual statement template and supporting guidelines on the Department of Planning and Industry website .