How to successfully pass fire safety inspections

For any building owner and/or manager, ensuring compliance with fire safety should be one of your top priorities.

And a major part of maintaining compliance includes the submission of an Annual Fire Safety Statement to the local council each year.

But, before you can submit your AFSS, your property must first successfully pass a fire inspection. And for many clients, this can present a number of challenges.

The main challenge we see is a struggle to plan ahead.

As per Section 88 of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2001, the AFSS must show that a property has received inspection by an accredited practitioner who has deemed all fire safety measures to be up to or above the accepted standard within the past 90 days before submission.

This leaves a fairly short timeframe to arrange testing, inspecting and any repairs or replacement. We overcome this challenge by supporting clients with our holistic approach to fire safety that incorporates fire inspections and AFSS submissions as a key part of our comprehensive capabilities.

Engineer with tablet check red generator pump for water sprinkler piping and fire alarm control system.

Inspecting and testing against AS1851 2012

Failing a fire inspection causes delays in submitting your AFSS, which will result in weekly penalties for late submissions with the risk of legal proceedings and a maximum penalty of $100,000.

When DEM Fire conduct inspections, we do so in accordance with the AS1851 2012 standard Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment.

This standard covers a number of important fire protection systems, such as dry pipe and wet pipe systems, deluge and water spray systems and pre-action systems.

Depending on the fire safety measures within your property or properties, our FPAS accredited testers may also reference other standards like AS2293 that include exit and emergency lighting.

Under the AS1851-2012, we are required to follow procedures and testing of a wide range of fire safety measures such as:

  • Emergency warning systems
  • Intercom systems
  • Fire sprinklers
  • Fire hydrant systems
  • Pump sets
  • Hinged, pivoted and sliding fire doors
  • Water storage tanks
  • Fire detection control and indicating equipment
  • Special hazard systems
  • Flat lay hoses and fire hose reels
  • Portable and wheeled fire extinguishers
  • Fire blankets
  • Passive fire and smoke systems
  • Fire and smoke control features of mechanical services
  • Emergency and evacuation plans

Conducting fire inspections that suit all relevant standards allows us to ensure all equipment is in prime working condition to help you maintain compliance and submit your AFSS on time.

Critical, non-critical and non-conformance defects

When we inspect and test each and every fire safety measure located on your property, we’ll note any issues or damaged equipment as one of the following:

Critical defects

A critical defect is a completely inoperative system, classed as critical if that system failure could mean loss of life, serious injury or major environmental/economic damage.


This refers to anything that we identify as missing or incorrect within a safety measure. Non-conformance issues mean the overall system operation isn’t affected, but needs routine maintenance to get it up to standard.

Non-critical defects

These refer to anything identified that has minimal or no impact on how that system functions and won’t cause critical damage but still must be addressed to pass inspection.

Anything we find and flag in the inspection report must be addressed and fixed before we can sign off on the AFSS. But we also support and advise you on the best methods of resolving such issues to make approval as straightforward as possible.

fire safety door do not obstruct signal

Common issues that fail inspections

Unfortunately, sometimes the simplest things you might not even notice can cause delays in successfully passing inspection.

And if you’re leaving it til the last minute to have your property inspected before submitting your AFSS, any unforeseen issues can cause prolonged delays regardless of how minimal those issues are.

Some of the more frequent problems we see are:

  • Obstructions of stairs, corridors and doorways:
    It’s easy to leave objects on the floor somewhere and forget to move them later on. But if you’re leaving items in thoroughfares or doorways, it creates a highly avoidable fire safety hazard and is likely the most frequent one we see.
    A good way to mitigate this is to set aside time to conduct your own quick, routine inspections and make sure everything has been properly stored or packed away.
  • Faulty emergency lights and signs:
    This is often something that causes delays in inspection approval. If you don’t test your emergency lights and signs frequently, they may be burnt out or damaged and fail to work in the event of an emergency.
  • Exposed electrical outlets:
    Exposed electrical outlets and uncovered panels are common causes of electrical fires. Making sure you have all electrical outlets, junction boxes and other electrics covered at all times is an easy yet essential way to have a successful inspection.
  • Unclear or misplaced evacuation plans:
    As a building owner or manager, your responsibility is to make sure all occupants know how to evacuate the building in case of a fire or other emergency. So if your fire evacuation plans aren’t clear, or if they’re not displayed appropriately, you may fail inspection.
Engineer checking Industrial fire control system,

Working with fire inspection experts

You can mitigate non-compliance risks by prioritising regular fire safety maintenance and monitoring of all fire equipment on site and promoting a ‘safety first’ culture that informs all building occupants about fire safety.

And by shifting from a ‘just-in-time’ management approach to a proactive planning approach with support from fire and essential service experts like our team, you’ll find it easy – and painless – to pass inspections.

DEM Fire’s supportive approach sees us partnering with clients for successful fire inspections, which we do through streamlined communication and collaboration.

Our uncompromising commitment to your fire safety helps you save time, stay compliant and mitigate risks of fire hazards.

We also offer alternative solutions to challenges that might be unique to your specific property or industry, from retail, commercial and industrial to large public venues, stadiums and even heritage buildings.

Contact us today to see how we can support you.

Contact DEM Fire & Essential Services Group

Need more information? Get in touch