Fire Safety

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Fire Safety

​​​​​​​​If you own or manage an apartment building or commercial property or work in the field of strata management/body corporate or property development/architect/builder then you need to ensure that your building has adequate fire safety measures.

As a property owner/agent you are held responsible under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 to ensure that the fire safety measures within your building are maintained so that they function and operate in the way in which they were designed and installed in the event of a fire.

The NSW Government has enacted reforms to improve fire safety for both new and existing buildings. Their Fire Safety Certification site provides information on how these changes affect those building owners who must issue fire safety statements.

The Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment has approved and published standard fire safety statement forms.
Building owners required to submit these forms must do so using the standard template. 

The Amending Regulation establishes responsibilities requiring building owners to select and identify specialists who are an accredited practitioner (fire safety) to perform specified fire safety functions. 

The guide for selecting an accredited fire practitioner (fire safety) has been developed to assist building owners with their responsibilities.

​Fire safety measures are defined as "any measure (including any item of equipment, form of construction or fire safety strategy) that is, or is proposed to be, implemented in a building to ensure the safety of persons using the building in the event of fire".

Fire safety measures will be required when:

  • constructing a new building,
  • the use of the building changes from one class of building to a different class (i.e. from use as a house to use as an office building),
  • as part of a Fire Safety Upgrade (i.e. Council may undertake a fire audit inspection of an existing building and require fire safety measures to be installed within the building).

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 contains a list of Statutory Fire Safety Measures.  However, you may also be required to install additional safety measures that are not included in this list in certain high-risk buildings or where buildings are upgraded.

Fire Safety Measures

Some examples may include:

  • Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems
  • Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (Sprinklers)
  • Emergency Lighting
  • Emergency Lifts
  • Emergency Warning and Intercommunication Systems
  • Exit Signs
  • Fire Doors
  • Fire Hydrant Systems
  • Fire Windows
  • Hose Reel Systems
  • Mechanical Air Handling Systems
  • Perimeter Vehicle Access for Emergency Vehicles
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • Smoke and Heat Detectors
  • Smoke Doors
  • Solid Core Doors
  • Wall wetting Sprinkler and Drencher Systems
  • Warning and Operational Signs

​The installation of fire safety measures will depend on the classification of the building (the use of the building) as determined under the Building Code of Australia.  Council or an Accredited Certifier will attach a schedule to the approval associated with a change in use or new building work detailing the required fire safety measures.  In the case of a safety audit Council will also detail the list of required measures.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 requires that a property owner must maintain each essential fire safety measure in their respective building.  The owner is required to issue an Annual Fire Safety Statement to the effect that each essential fire safety measure has been assessed by an accredited practitioner (fire safety) and was found when it was assessed, to be capable of performing to the installation and design performance.

The assessment and inspection of the essential fire safety measures must have been carried out within the period of 3 months prior to the date on which the annual statement is issued.  The choice of an accredited practitioner (fire safety) to carry out an assessment or inspection rests with the property owner.

The property owner is required to display the Annual Fire Safety Statement​ in a prominent location in the building.  The owner is also required to provide copies of the statement to Council and the Fire Commissioner.

There are penalties for not complying with the fire safety provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. These are:

Owner not display copy of final fire safety certificate

  • Individual $1,500
  • Corporation $3,000

Owner Fail to supply Annual Fire Safety Statement within 1 week

  • Individual $1,000
  • Corporation $1,000

Owner Fail to supply Annual Fire Safety Statement within 2 weeks

  • Individual $2,000
  • Corporation $2,000

Owner Fail to supply Annual Fire Safety Statement within 3 weeks

  • Individual $3,000
  • Corporation $3,000

Owner Fail to supply Annual Fire Safety Statement within 4 weeks

  • Individual $4,000
  • Corporation $4,000

Owner not display Annual Fire Safety Statement

  • Individual $580
  • Corporation $580

Owner fail to maintain essential fire safety measures

  • Individual $3,000
  • Corporation $6,000

​An interim fire safety certificate or a final fire safety certificate​ is required before:

  • a part occupation certificate can be issued to allow a partially completed new building (including an altered portion of, or extension to, a new building) to be occupied or used, or
  • a part occupation certificate can be issued to allow a change of building use for part of an existing building.

A final fire safety certificate is required:

  • before a final occupation certificate can be issued to allow a new building (including an altered portion of, or extension to, a new building) to be occupied or used, or
  • before a final occupation certificate can be issued to allow a change of building use for an existing building, or in accordance with a fire safety order given by a Council. 

​​Frequently Asked Questions

​Essential fire safety measures are critical parts of a building that need to be kept in working order with some examples being an exit sign or a hose reel. The essential fire safety measures for a building are listed in an Essential Fire Safety Measures Schedule. 

The Essential Fire Safety Measures Schedule also specifies the required minimum standard of performance for each measure listed. The combination of essential fire safety measures and the Annual Fire Safety Statement are designed to ensure that the measures are maintained to their operational/installation standard.

​It is a statement issued by the owner of a building or the owner’s agent at intervals not exceeding 12 months confirming that the essential fire safety measures serving the building have been assessed and are capable of performing to the standard required.

 The statement must be displayed in a prominent location within the building and a copy submitted to Council and to Fire and Rescue NSW.

​A copy of the current Essential Fire Safety Measures Schedule can be obtained from Council by filling out the online form.

The schedule should be displayed along with the annual fire safety statement in a prominent location within the building.

The standard of performance relates to the standard that applied to the design and installation of the measure at the time of installation. The standard of performance of each measure should be listed on the Essential Fire Safety Measures Schedule and will generally reference certain clauses of the Building Code of Australia, or an Australian Standard, or in many cases it may be both. 

The person assessing each measure is required to confirm that the measure is continuing to work in accordance with the requirements applicable at the time of installation. It should be noted that the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Australian Standard (AS) for design/installation/performance (including relevant year) should be provided on the Annual Fire Safety Statement NOT the maintenance standard.

Accredited practitioner (fire safety) (APFS) are professionals and technicians who have specialist fire safety skills. 

The Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) accreditation scheme was approved by the Government in July 2020.  Only practitioners accredited by the FPAA can perform the functions of an accredited practitioner (fire safety) where that function is covered by the FPAA scheme. 

Building owners are able to select persons from the register of accredited practitioners via the FPAA website. 

Refer to guidelines for selecting an APFS.

Information to assist building owners to complete each section of the Statement is provided on pages 3, 4 & 5 of the Statement.

Statements that do not satisfy the above provisions will be rejected and may be subject to the levying of additional fees or issue of a penalty infringement notice.

​A copy of the Annual Fire Safety Statement and the current essential fire safety measures schedule are to be lodged via email to: 

Coffs Harbour City Council ; and Fire and Rescue NSW

​An Annual Fire Safety Statement is due 12 months after the declaration date (Section 8) on your last Annual Fire Safety Statement.

More information on building regulation can be found here.