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Competent Fire Safety Practitioners (CFSP)

From 1 October 2017 assessments for fire safety statements are to be undertaken by a competent fire safety practitioner. Building owners who submit yearly or supplementary fire safety statements will need to choose a competent fire safety practitioner. The Department of Finance, Services and Innovation are currently developing an accreditation framework to recognise industry schemes that will accredit individuals as competent fire safety practitioners. The department has published a guide for building owners  to help owners determine if a person is a competent fire safety practitioner in the interim. When the accreditation scheme is established a register will then be available for building owners to select a competent fire safety practitioner. There is a transitional period where building owners can rely on the previous annual certification structure and use the current available annual statement form. This can continue up until the 30 November 2017.

Annual fire safety statement (AFSS)

Every year the owner of a building or premises must provide the local Council and Fire and Rescue NSW with a statement certifying that all fire safety measures work properly. Fire safety statements must be prominently displayed within a building. It is an offence to not display fire safety statements. To find out more, including the new annual statement template and supporting guidelines on the Department of Planning and Environment website . When you complete the annual statement, you need to lodge it with your Council by email, post or in person and to Fire and Rescue NSW. For details, visit the Fire and Rescue NSW website 

Supplementary fire safety statement

A supplementary fire safety statement applies to fire control measures so it’s important that they must be certified more frequently than every 12 months. The frequency will be stated on the premises’ fire safety schedule. From 1 October building owners will need to choose a competent fire safety practitioner (please see above).

Fire safety schedules

Fire safety schedule lists the measures required to be installed and the standard they need to achieve. A fire safety schedule can be issued:
  1. By your local Council or an accredited certifier in relation to a construction or complying development certificate
  2. By the local Council with a fire safety order
  3. By the local Council in some cases with a development consent, such as for a change of use in an existing building.
A fire safety schedule is only applicable if any of the above occurred after 1988.

Fire safety certificate

For new or altered buildings, the first certificate, called a fire safety certificate, must be furnished for each new or altered essential fire safety measure. At least once within every 12 months after the fire safety certificate is completed, an annual fire safety statement must be supplied to your local Council, certifying a competent fire safety practitioner has inspected the building and found that all required fire safety measures are compliant with relevant standards. For existing buildings, every year, within 12 months of the date of the previous annual fire safety statement, the owner of a building must submit an annual fire safety statement to the Council certifying that each of the measures listed in the most recent fire safety schedule installed on the premises remain capable of operating to the standards listed in the schedule.

Penalties

It is an offence to fail to provide the statement. Substantial and continuing weekly penalty notices apply for this offence. Failure to submit an annual fire safety statement could also lead to legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court, where the maximum penalty for a breach is $110,000.

Essential fire safety measures needing repair or rectification

In circumstances where an annual fire safety statement cannot be submitted because repairs are required, the Council may consider postponing weekly penalty infringement notices. The owner of the premises must make the necessary arrangements for the fire safety measures to be inspected and statement provided before the expiry of the time allowed