Skip to main content
  • Share:

The NSW Government is implementing a package of reforms to strengthen NSW’s building regulation and certification system.

 

The reform package follows an independent review of the Building Professionals Act 2005, known as the 'Lambert Review'. The review found a number of issues with the NSW building regulation and certification system and made a number of recommendations to strengthen and simplify the system.

 

The review and the NSW Government’s response can be found on the Building Professionals Board website.

 

The initial priorities are:

  • A package of fire safety reforms for both new and existing buildings;
  • Consolidation of building provisions in the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979;
  • Reform of certifier regulation by re-writing the Building Professionals Act 2005; and
  • New measures to facilitate better use and sharing of certification data.

See below for further information on the initial priorities.

The NSW Government has enacted reforms to improve fire safety for both new and existing buildings. The changes relate to complex buildings and do not affect single dwellings or related outbuildings like garages and carports.

The fire safety reforms, introduced by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety and Building Certification) Regulation 2017 (the Amending Regulation), have been developed in consultation with key stakeholders, and represent a critical first step towards strengthening the NSW building regulation and certification system. 


New requirements under the Amending Regulation

In 2016, the NSW Government announced a commitment to take action to strengthen fire safety certification for new and existing buildings. The Amending Regulation helps improve the rigour and checking in the design, approval, construction and maintenance phases of the building lifecycle. These amendments have been developed in close consultation with industry and the community.


Download the fire safety regulation (PDF, 185Kb)

The changes under the Amending Regulation include:

Design and approval

  • Mandatory involvement of ’competent fire safety practitioners’ in specific fire safety functions. 
  • Mandatory submission of endorsed plans and specifications for certain fire safety systems to the certifying authority before those systems are installed.
  • New and changed requirements for the documenting, endorsing and checking of non-standard fire safety designs (referred to as performance solutions / alternative solutions under the Building Code of Australia).
  • Limited exemptions from compliance with the Building Code of Australia for minor fire safety system works.

Construction

  • New inspection powers for Fire and Rescue NSW for multi-unit residential building projects.
  • New critical stage inspections targeting apartments and other buildings where  people sleep.

Maintenance of fire safety measures

  • Assessment of the ongoing performance of essential fire safety measures must now be undertaken by ‘competent fire safety practitioners’.

Building Circular

The building circular provides information to building certifiers, councils, industry practitioners and building owners on new and changed fire safety requirements under the Amending Regulation.

Download the building circular (PDF, 198KB)


Fact sheet for building owners

The fact sheet is specifically designed to provide information for building owners about how the changes will affect those building owners who must issue fire safety statements. 

Download the building owners factsheet (PDF, 141KB)

New standard forms

The Amending Regulation requires a building owner to issue a fire safety certificate or fire safety statement in the form approved by the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment. These new forms approved by the Secretary are effective from 1 December 2017.

Note: The Amending Regulation requires additional information to be recorded on the fire safety statement including the name and contact details of the person issuing the statement, and the competent fire safety practitioner/s who endorsed the statement. These new requirements came into effect on 1 October 2017.

These forms are now available to be completed electronically.

Download the Fire Safety Certificate form (for new building work) (Word document, 166KB)


Competent fire safety practitioner – Guidelines

The Amending Regulation establishes responsibilities requiring building owners and building certifiers to select and identify practitioners who are competent fire safety practitioners to perform specified fire safety functions. 

The NSW Government will eventually recognise industry schemes that will accredit competent fire safety practitioners. Until then, building owners and building certifiers need to be satisfied that practitioner(s) engaged or relied upon are competent.

Two guides have been developed to assist building owners and building certifiers with these responsibilities in the interim period.

Download the Guide for building owners (October 2017) (PDF, 2.3MB)

The NSW Government acknowledges the need to improve the Building Professionals Act 2005 to strengthen requirements relating to the accreditation, investigation, auditing and disciplining of certifying authorities.

 

The NSW Government intends to replace the Act with a new Building and Development Certifiers Act. A draft exposure Bill will be placed on public exhibition in late 2017 with the final Bill introduced to Parliament following the review of the public submissions received.

The fire safety regulations represent the start of the reform process. Work is continuing to identify opportunities to further review and improve the building regulation and certification system.

 

A variety recommendations were made in the final report of the independent review of the Building Professionals Act 2005.

 

The NSW Government’s has committed to assessing these recommendations and will consider the need for further reforms to improve the building regulation and certification system into the future.

 

Any future reforms will be subject to consultation prior to being finalised and implemented.

Page last updated: 21/11/2017