Building Fire Safety
Owners of buildings such as commercial or industrial premises, residential flat buildings etc, have a legal obligation under the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 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 an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) or Registered Certifier 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.
Annual 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.
Fire Safety Measures
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.
Failure to submit Annual 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.
It's important to note that the building owner is responsible for ensuring the statement is lodged on time. It's an offence to fail to provide an Annual Fire Safety Statement, and the following penalties will apply:
- 1 week late: no less than $1000
- 2 weeks late: no less than an additional $2000
- 3 weeks late: no less than an additional $3000
- 4 weeks late: no less than an additional $4000
Failure to submit an Annual Fire Safety Statement could lead to legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court, where the maximum penalty for a breach is $110,000.
Should an extension of time Stay of Infringement be required, please apply to Council prior to the due date.
Stay of Infringement
What to do when there are anomalies between what is listed on a Fire Safety Schedule and what is installed in a building, or the Fire Safety Schedule appears to be incorrect?
Notify us as soon as possible by submitting an AFSS request for a Stay of Infringement Application Form.
Follow the same process as you would for any other issue preventing you from submitting the AFSS by the due date.
List the anomalies identified on page 2 of the Stay of Infringement Application in sections 4 & 5 as appropriate, and complete all other sections listed. Example of anomalies include:
- Fire Safety measures installed in the building but are not listed on Council’s Fire Safety Schedule.
- Essential Fire Safety Measures listed on Council’s Fires Safety Schedule but are not installed in the building.
- Where you suspect the minimum standard of performance listed on the fire safety schedule is inaccurate.
- We may correct any anomalies identified if there is evidence to support any amendments.
- We may request work to be carried out, issue a Development Control Order or any other action we deem necessary to allow the building owner/s to issue an Annual Fire Safety Statement to Council.