Information on fire safety measures and legislative requirements.
Fire Safety Measures
What are 'Essential Fire Safety' measures?
These are items such as hose reels, hydrants, exit and emergency signs and lights, portable fire extinguishers, fire and smoke alarms and the like. If they are required in a building Council will advise the building owner in a Fire Safety Schedule, which lists the items, and relevant maintenance standards.
How do I know what needs to be installed in my building?
Generally, the Building Code of Australia specifies in what parts and/or types of buildings the essential fire safety measures are required. Council can require that they be installed in existing buildings under a fire safety order, in a new building, addition, or if you apply to change the use in an existing building. A Fire Safety Certificate is required if any of these measures were installed or applied to your building from 1 July 1988. If you are required to provide certification for these measures, Council will advise you in the form of a fire safety order or approval (ie, development consent or construction certificate) and include detailed information such as the installation and maintenance standards which apply.
What is a Fire Safety Certificate?
A fire safety certificate indicates that fire safety measures have been installed and perform in accordance with the relevant Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards. A certificate must be lodged with Council immediately upon completion of the fire safety upgrading, development or building work, and before the new use is commenced and/or the building is occupied.
What is a Fire Safety Statement?
A fire safety statement in effect states that each essential fire safety measure has been assessed by properly qualified person and was found, when it was assessed, to be capable of performing: to a standard no less than that specified in a schedule or, where not mentioned in a schedule, to a standard no less than that to which the measure was originally designed and implemented.
When is a Fire Safety Statement due?
Every twelve (12) months after the fire safety certificate was issued, an annual fire safety statement must be submitted to Council. An annual fire safety statement must certify that a properly qualified person has inspected the building, assessed the fire safety measures, and found that the measures are capable of performing to the relevant standard.
It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure Council receives the fire safety statement prior to the due date. Council charge a fee for processing this statement and an invoice will be forwarded in accordance with Councils fees and charges.
Who can assess the standard of performance?
The building owner must have the inspection performed by a person who is suitably qualified to asses the particular essential fire safety measure. This could be a licensed tradesperson or a specialised fire protection service company.
Who completes the certificates and statements?
Fire safety certificates and statements can only be signed by the owner or owner's agent and not the person performing the inspection.
Who is responsible for certification?
The owner of the building must ensure that the fire safety certificates and statements are lodged with Council. There are substantial penalties for failing to submit any statement or certificate by the due date.
A copy of the fire safety statement must be forwarded to the NSW Fire and Rescue (Locked Bag 12, Greenacre NSW 2190) and prominently display the annual fire safety statement in the building.
Failure to comply with these requirements is an offence and Council may issue a Penalty Infringement Notice if the essential fire safety services are not fully maintained or if the annual fire safety statement requirements are not complied with. Council may also serve a fire safety notice and order requiring compliance with fire safety requirements.
For further information
Download a copy of the Fire Safety Statement factsheet (PDF File, 24kb) or contact Council on (02) 4325 8222 or email to email@example.com Alternatively, you can visit Gosford Council at 49 Mann Street Gosford, Monday to Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm and speak to the duty Building Surveyor.
Download a copy of the Fire Safety Information (PDF File, 128kb) for information about general fire safety awareness, understanding of fire safety issues and how Council deals with building fire safety.
Are smoke alarms compulsory?
All NSW residents must have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level of their home. This includes owner occupied, rental properties, relocatable homes or any other residential building where people sleep.
What type of smoke alarm should be used?
Smoke alarms must meet the Australian Standard AS 3786-1993 required by the Building Regulations.
What residential buildings require smoke alarms?
The Building Regulations require self-contained smoke alarms to be installed in all residential buildings including dwellings within buildings of other non-residential use.
The following building classes as defined in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) are included:
|Class 1a||Detached house, row house, town house, terrace house or villa unit|
|Class 1b||Boarding house, guest house or hostel|
|Class 2||Building containing sole-occupancy units (e.g. apartments, block of flats)|
|Class 3||Backpackers accommodation, residential part of a hotel or motel, residential part of a school, accommodation for the aged, disabled or children.|
|Class 4||A dwelling in a non-residential building (e.g. house attached to a shop).|
You should familiarise yourself with the Class of building in which you intend installing your smoke alarm, as this will affect its required location.
If you are renting a dwelling or unit, it is the owner's (landlord's) responsibility to ensure smoke alarms are installed and kept in working condition. However, a tenant can take action to ensure compliance with the Regulations.