In 2017, the NSW Government introduced reforms through the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (the Regulation) to strengthen fire safety certification for new and existing buildings.
These reforms improve the rigour and checking in the design, approval, construction and maintenance phases of the building life cycle. Further information can be found in Building System Circular BS 17-002 (197 KB, PDF).
Further legislative changes in July 2020 affected building owners, developers and certifiers, with the commencement of the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018. One of these changes is that ‘competent fire safety practitioners’ are now known as ‘accredited practitioners (fire safety)’. Further information about ‘accredited practitioners (fire safety)’ is provided below.
A fire safety certificate is a document issued by or on behalf of the building owner(s) upon the completion of new building work.
The certificate confirms that each of the fire safety measures that apply to a building (as listed in the fire safety schedule) have been installed and checked by a properly qualified person. This helps verify that the required fire safety measures can perform to the minimum standard.
A fire safety certificate must be issued using a standard template form published by the Government:
A fire safety statement is a document issued by or on behalf of the owner(s) of an existing building.
The statement confirms that an accredited practitioner (fire safety) has assessed, inspected and verified the performance of each fire safety measure that applies to the building.
There are two types of fire safety statements:
Fire safety statements must be issued using a standard template form published by the Government.
Following the commencement of the Fire Protection Australia (FPAA) accreditation scheme for accredited practitioners (fire safety) the department has updated the fire safety statement form. The new standard template form applies to all fire safety statements issued from 1 March 2021.
Note: Building owners should check the date on which their fire safety statement is likely to be issued before selecting the relevant form and preparing the statement.
For statements issued on or after 1 February 2020 until 1 March 2021, use Version 3.0 of the template form:
For statements to be issued on or after 1 March 2021, use Version 3.1 of the template form:
To assist building owners and practitioners apply the requirements of the Regulation relating to fire safety statements, the Department has published a range of frequently asked questions.
The frequently asked questions also provide a high-level overview of some important components of the NSW legislation relating to fire safety in existing buildings.
An accredited practitioner (fire safety) is a person that undertakes certain specialist fire safety assessment functions required by the Regulation.
Accredited practitioners (fire safety) were previously known as (and do the same work as) competent fire safety practitioners.
The Department of Customer Service has a co-regulatory framework to recognise industry accreditation schemes for accredited practitioners (fire safety). The Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) accreditation scheme was approved by the Government in July 2020 and is the first industry accreditation scheme to receive approval.
Only practitioners accredited by the FPAA can perform the functions of an accredited practitioner (fire safety) where that function is covered by the FPAA scheme. The plans and specifications for specific fire safety systems can also be endorsed by certain registered certifiers.
For some fire safety functions, there are currently no practitioners accredited by the FPAA. For these functions a building owner or building certifier will be required to determine that a person is an accredited practitioner (fire safety). This is much like the role undertaken by building owners and building certifiers previously.
Two guides have been developed to assist building owners and building certifiers in selecting and determining that a person is an accredited practitioner (fire safety):
Further information about who can undertake the functions of an accredited practitioner (fire safety) and the approved schemes can be found on the Fire safety practitioner page of the NSW Fair Trading website.
Page last updated: 23/02/2021