Summary of fire safety responsibilities
It is the responsibility of all building owners to ensure that their building is provided with adequate Fire Safety Measures and that these Fire Safety Measures are fully operational and maintained in accordance with the relevant Standards at all times.
Fire safety measures
Part 9 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 provides the regulatory framework for the maintenance and certification of fire safety measures within a building which is classified as Class 1b building or a Class 2 to 9 building under the National Construction Code - Building Code of Australia (e.g. residential flat buildings, units, apartments, town-houses, boarding houses, shops, offices, commercial, industrial and public buildings).
Fire safety measures include:
- automatic fire suppression (sprinkler) systems
- fire hose reels
- fire hydrants
- smoke alarms
- smoke detection and alarm systems
- fire doors
- fire extinguishers
- solid-core doors
- smoke exhaust systems
- exit signs
- fire drenchers
- emergency lighting
- exit systems and paths of travel to exits
- other fire safety measures specified in the Fire Safety Schedule for the building.
Fire safety certificates and fire safety statements
All buildings (other than single dwellings and associated buildings) that are the subject of a Building Approval, Construction Certificate, Complying Development Certificate or a Council Fire Safety Order after 1 July 1988 are required to obtain a Fire Safety Certificate upon completion of the work prior to the issue of an Occupation Certificate.
Each year after the issue of the Fire Safety Certificate, building owners are required to provide a Fire Safety Statement to the Council and Fire & Rescue NSW, which certifies that the fire safety measures within the building are fully operational and are being maintained in accordance with the relevant Standards.
The specific measures to be included in a Fire Safety Certificate and Fire Safety Statement must be at least those specified in the Fire Safety Schedule for the building.
The building owner may also be required to provide a supplementary Fire Safety Statement to the Council and Fire & Rescue NSW on a more frequent periodic basis (i.e. quarterly) if specified in the Fire Safety Schedule for the building.
You may need a fire safety upgrade
For many older buildings, there is also the possibility that the fire protection measures which existed at the time of construction are no longer considered to provide adequate protection to the occupants in the event of fire.
A fire safety upgrade may be necessary, particularly in multi unit housing apartment buildings, shared accommodation and commercial or public buildings.
Smoke alarms are compulsory
Legislation was introduced in 2006 that made smoke alarms compulsory in every residential dwelling or unit.
Community fire safety initiatives
Fire & Rescue NSW has also developed a range of community safety initiatives and prevention programs, including an online Home Fire Safety Audit.
The Home Fire Safety Audit is an easy-to-use online self-assessment tool that allows members of NSW community to assess home fire awareness and identify fire risks throughout the home.
Randwick City Council Information Sheets:
- Fire Safety Statements
- Fire Safety Certificates
- NSW Planning & Environment Building Regulation and Certification Reform
Other factsheets, brochures and programs can be found on the Fire & Rescue NSW website.