New Certification Requirements for Annual Fire Safety Statements
Fire Safety Certification: NSW requirements for owners and strata committees
From 1 December 2017 building owners are required to submit their Annual Fire Safety Statements (AFSS) in a new format signed off by a competent fire safety practitioner.
New Annual Fire Safety Forms
The forms can be completed electronically. There are two versions, one for existing buildings and another for new building work. These forms are available on the Department of Planning & Environment website.
Competent Fire Safety Practitioners
To achieve a competent fire safety practitioner accreditation, individuals must complete a registration form for assessment under the Co-Regulatory Accreditation Framework.
There are three tasks that a practitioner can perform;
- Assess essential fire safety measures,
- Inspect the building for exit system compliance breaches, and
- Assess fire safety alternative solutions.
Building owners continue to be responsible to select a competent fire safety practitioner, however the new requirements specify that owners must now record their opinion regarding the competence of the person selected.
Section Guide for Competent Fire Safety Practitioners
The NSW Government has produced a Selection Guide for owners who must issue AFSS. Following the steps will assist with having the necessary evidence in your scheme’s records. If your scheme has a building or facilities manager, they are in the best position to obtain the information suggested in the guide.
Council Fines for Late Forms
It is important to note the implications of not submitting the required form to your local council on time. The City of Sydney has advised that; “it is an offence under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act not to submit a compliant AFSS to Council by the due date.
Offences can be subject to a Court imposed penalty of up to $110,000 or an on the spot fine for failing to give an annual fire safety statement, starting from;
- $1000 for the first week overdue
- $2000 for the second week overdue
- $3000 for the third week overdue
- $4000 for the fourth and any subsequent week overdue.
Give your scheme plenty of time to;
- select your competent fire safety practitioner
- enable the inspections needed for the assessment
- obtain quotes for the identified items
- get the correct form into council on time.
If you have any questions about this new framework, give your Strata Plus strata manager a call.