Fire Safety Statements
Owners of buildings such as commercial or industrial premises, residential flat buildings etc, have a legal obligation under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, to ensure that all fire-safety measures installed on the premises are maintained in good working condition at all times.
Building owners are responsible for ensuring that:
- All fire safety measures are inspected by a competent fire safety practitioner to ensure the measures are being maintained to the appropriate standard;
- Fire Safety Statements are displayed in a clearly visible position so that Council or officers of Fire and Rescue NSW can see them when inspecting the premises; and
- All exit doors are kept in good working condition and corridors or other exit paths are kept clear of any obstructions.
These requirements are in place to promote the prevention and spread of fire. Fire safety measures assist in reducing the spread of a fire and early detection helps to save property and lives.
WHAT IS A FIRE SAFETY STATEMENT
Each year, the owner of a building to which an essential fire safety measure is applicable must submit an Annual Fire Safety Statement to Council for the building.
Annual Fire Safety Statements are issued by or on behalf of the owner of the building. They declare that all fire safety measures on the premises have been maintained to the appropriate standards and that exit paths allow for the safe passage through the premises in the event of fire. A copy must also be given to the Commissioner, Fire & Rescue NSW.
WHAT IS A FIRE SAFETY MEASURE?
A fire safety measure is any aspect of construction, piece of equipment or can be evacuation plans that are required to ensure the safety of people within the building in the event of fire or other emergency.
These measures include things like fire-rated construction, smoke detection and alarm systems, portable fire extinguishers, fire hose reels, hydrants, exit signs or evacuation plans. Fire safety requirements vary from building to building.
The Fire Safety Measures and their required level of performance applicable to the building are itemised on the Fire Safety Schedule which is attached to the reminder letter sent by Council to owners of buildings prior to the Fire Safety Statement being due.
WHY MUST I HAVE MY PREMISES INSPECTED?
The owner must ensure that a competent fire safety practitioner inspects each fire safety measure. The choice of person to carry out an assessment or inspection is up to the owner. The person who carries out an assessment must inspect and verify the performance of each fire safety measure being assessed.
Note: All paperwork provided by your competent fire safety practitioner is for the owner only and must not be lodged with Council. It is important that records of inspections are kept by the owner.
HOW DO I LODGE MY FIRE SAFETY STATEMENT?
Complete all sections on the Fire Safety Statement Form and provide dates where required to do so. Check the form again for accuracy and completeness and lodge it at the council.
A Fire Safety Statement for a building must deal with each essential fire safety measure in the building premises. It must be submitted within 12 months after the date on which the previous statement or the final fire certificate was given, and it must be lodged within three months of the date of inspection and assessment. The statement must be submitted to Council and Commissioner, Fire and Rescue NSW, as previously indicated.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT SUBMIT A FIRE SAFETY STATEMENT?
The NSW Government and Council treats fire safety issues seriously.
Where required under legislation to provide a statement, the owner is responsible to ensure lodgement, regardless of whether the property is tenanted or vacant. As an owner, please consider:
- Incomplete, incorrect or late fire safety statements may result in substantial financial penalties and without further advice;
- You will be required to submit a corrected statement;
- If a fine is issued, it will not excuse you from the need to submit a fire safety statement;
- If you fail to meet your statutory requirements, council may take legal action against you and/or may continue to issue on-the-spot fines; and
- Failure to maintain essential fire safety measures (which is a separate offence) may also result in substantial financial penalties.
Please see Council's Fact Sheet in regards to changes to the Legislative requirements which came into force 1 October 2017. A Guide for Building Owners and Building Fire Safety Statement Fact Sheet are also available from the State Government website.