Essential Fire Safety Measures are any installations or type of construction that have been incorporated into the building to ensure the safety of the occupants within the building in the event of fire or other emergency, and may include but are not limited to such measures as:
- Automatic fire suppression systems (eg sprinkler systems)
- Fire hose reels
- Fire hydrants
- Automatic fire detection and alarm systems
- Fire doors
- Fire extinguishers
- Smoke exhaust systems
- Exit signs
- Emergency lighting
The Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 contains a list of statutory fire safety measures that may be installed in a building. There may be some other measures, equipment or forms of construction that are not listed, which can be included for the purpose of ensuring the safety of persons in a building in the event of fire.
Fire Safety Measure Design
Plans submitted as part of an application for a Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate must contain sufficient detail on how all the proposed Fire Safety Measures will meet the Building Code of Australia (BCA) performance requirements.
The details to be included need to include specific reference to the BCA and relevant Standards as well as showing the location of the measures.
The extent of the detail should extend to and not be limited to:
- the operation of door latches
- portable fire extinguishers
- design and operation of emergency lighting
- designing and location of exit signs and direction signs
It is important to note that when preparing an application generalised statements referring to Fire Safety Measures are unacceptable.
Submission of Frre Safety System Plans and Specifications
The Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 requires that before installing, extending or modifying a relevant fire safety system, plans and specification for work must be endorsed by an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) (formerly known as Competent Fire Safety Practitioner) or a Registered Certifier and submitted to the Certifying Authority.
A relevant fire safety system is a hydraulic fire safety system, fire detection and alarm system and a mechanical ducted smoke control system.
The plans and details for these works can be submitted with the application for the Construction Certificate (CC) or Complying Development Certificate (CDC), or afterwards, but must be submitted before the work commence. If submitted after the CC/CDC application has been determined, they must be submitted to the Principal Certifier.
The design presented must also be confirmed as compliant either via a compliance certificate, or endorsement by an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) or Registered Certifier.
For further information see NSW Office of Fair Trading website. A list of Accredited Practitioners (Fire Safety) may be found on the FPAA website.
What is installed in my building?
Upon approval of a development for Class 1b-9 buildings (as defined under the Building Code of Australia,) a Fire Safety Schedule must be issued.
The Fire Safety Schedule lists all the Essential Fire Safety Measures that are installed in the building and the performance standard to which each of those measures must be capable of operating.
A Fire Safety Schedule can be issued with a Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate or issued if Council conducts a fire safety audit of the premises.
New buildings and additions
A Fire Safety Schedule must be issued with the Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate and will list the Essential Fire Safety Measures that are to be installed in the building or on the land and the Australian and/or other Standards to which they must be installed and maintained.
What is a Fire Safety Certificate?
Prior to occupation of the building a Fire Safety Certificate must be given to the Principal Certifier.
A Fire Safety Certificate is a certificate that is submitted by the building owner, which certifies that each of the specified essential fire safety measures listed in the Fire Safety Schedule have been installed in the building or on the land and that those measures are capable of operating to the performance standard listed in the Fire Safety Schedule.
A Fire Safety Certificate must be submitted prior to the issue of an Occupation Certificate.
Who is responsible for certification?
Under the requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021, the owner of the building must ensure that each of the measures have been assessed by an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) or Registered Certifier, and then forward a copy of the Fire Safety Certificate to Council and the NSW Fire Brigades.
A copy of the statement or certificate must also be prominently displayed in the building.
Who complete the certificates?
The Fire Safety Certificates and Annual Fire Safety Statements can only be signed by the owner or his agent and not by the "properly qualified" person or persons.