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Reforms to fire safety certificates

31 May 2017

Proposed reforms have been drafted aimed at helping strata managers ensure fire safety measures are properly checked.

The NSW Government released a draft Fire Safety and Building Certification Regulation 2017 to public consultation at the end of last year, which is aimed at improving fire safety in new and existing buildings. 

The Department for Planning and Environment (DPE) is currently reviewing the submissions to help inform the final fire safety regulation. 

The DPE is also developing guidelines for building certifiers and building owners to help them choose appropriate practitioners in the interim period before a new accreditation system comes into effect. 

A DPE spokesperson said: “The reforms will help strata managers to ensure that essential fire safety measures are properly checked by tightening up the requirements for who can check these systems by introducing an accreditation system for fire safety practitioners.”

The reforms will require greater involvement of specialist practitioners to perform certain fire safety functions, such as carrying out annual fire safety statement checks. 

Specialists will be regulated through a new accreditation framework, which will be released for public consultation.

What do the proposed reforms include?

The proposed changes cover a broad range of buildings, at various stages of construction, including the design, construction, pre-occupation and post-occupation stages.

The proposed reforms include:

  • new requirements around submitting and checking plans and specifications for fire safety systems in some buildings
  • additional critical stage inspections for some buildings
  • reports required for all alternative fire safety solutions in some buildings
  • random inspections of fire safety systems by Fire and Rescue NSW before occupation certificates can be issued for multi-dwelling residential buildings.

The draft fire safety regulation proposes changes to building regulation and certification covering seven key areas:

  • the involvement of competent fire safety practitioners in certain specialist fire safety functions
  • Requiring submission of plans and specifications for relevant fire safety system work relating to Class 2-9 buildings
  • Limited exemptions from compliance with some Building Code of Australia standards relating to relevant fire safety system work
  • New critical stage inspections for Class 2-9 buildings
  • New inspections of fire safety system work relating to Class 2 and 3 buildings by Fire and Rescue NSW before occupation certificates are issued
  • Requiring an Alternative (Performance) Solution report for all fire safety Alternative Solutions for Class 1b-9 buildings
  • Requiring fire safety certificates and statements to be in a form approved by the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment.

For more information about the proposed reforms, please visit here.