Annual fire safety statements and fire compliance update

Fire professional inside the fire control room

The annual fire safety statement (AFSS) is a certified document required by the NSW government that is issued every year on behalf of the owners of an established building.

The statement must be issued by a fire safety specialist known as an accredited practitioner fire safety.

Annual assessments and inspections must be conducted to verify and confirm the performance of the necessary fire safety strategies and equipment within a building.

All buildings, including retail, commercial, industrial manufacturing, education, public venues and strata facilities, must ensure the statement is kept up to date to meet regulatory compliance requirements.

Engineer checking fire extinguishers in the fire control room

Updated annual fire safety statement information

In October 2022, the NSW Department released an updated FAQ document.

In this document, where the building owner acknowledges and declares that a certified AFSP has inspected a building’s fire systems and equipment, the FAQ has clarified that the person making the declaration is not certifying the performance of the fire safety measures.

So they are not expected to have the specialist technical expertise to verify that they meet the relevant minimum standard of performance. That is the role of the accredited fire safety practitioner.

The Department has also updated the AFSS template forms, and the revised form titled version 4 must be used from 1 September 2022.

Fire safety amendments

Per the FPA website, the next round of NSW fire safety amendments from the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Amendment (Fire Safety) Regulation 2022 came into effect on Monday, 13th February 2023.

Fire professional holding a fire hose

Some of the amendments passed in December of last year have come into effect. These are listed per the NSW government website:

  • minor wording changes and clarifications;
  • the need for a compliance certificate to support a performance solution report ( );
  • removal of the need for a compliance certificate in relation to a fire safety order from the Fire Commissioner or an authorised fire officer (section 80(4));
  • notes (under section 83) specifying when a final fire safety certificate needs to be issued;
  • a requirement that a measure must be assessed by an accredited practitioner (fire safety) who has not installed it in the three months before the fire safety certificate is issued ( section 84);
  • specification of the details required from an accredited practitioner (fire safety) who issues the fire safety certificate (section 86); and
  • the introduction of the term “recognised person” in the Dictionary (Schedule 2).

The amendments that came into effect this week include provisions to reissue fire safety schedules if they are lost, damaged, incorrect or destroyed; the onus falling on building owners to issue a copy of the fire safety certificate to their building practitioner; a reduction in penalties for failing to issue a certificate; and the legislated requirement for a fire safety certificate under clause 18(2)(d) of the Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2021.

Changes to the BCA, now the NCC

The Australian Building Codes Board has recently issued the NCC 2022, which Australian states and territories will adopt on 1 May 2023.

One of the significant changes to the NCC 2022 is its structure and format.

Our Senior Fire Systems Designer, Kamal Adhikari, attended a training session to better understand the changes and how they affect the fire protection sector.

He says that the new format will impact how we reference clauses and specifications, which will differ from how we reference the current NCC (NCC 2019).

Although the revised NCC 2022 is more refined, provides clarity and offers more guidance than its predecessor, it’s clear that those planning construction projects need to commission a wider group of fire professionals.

AFSS and fire compliance highlights the importance of a fire safety expert

It is increasingly critical to work with fire protection experts to be fire compliant. Contact us to book an appointment with our accredited fire safety practitioners or discuss your fire safety requirements.

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