Council undertakes a fire safety program to ensure that certain types of buildings are equipped with fire safety equipment, and that they are being maintained.
What is an Essential Fire Safety Measure?
A fire safety measure can be building materials, a piece of equipment or evacuation plans that are designed to ensure the safety of people within the building in the event of a fire or other emergency.
Examples of these measures include:
- Emergency lighting, exit signs or evacuation plans;
- Smoke detection and alarm systems;
- Fire doors;
- Portable fire extinguishers;
- Fire hose reels;
- Fire hydrants;
- Smoke exhaust systems;
- Solid-core doors.
Fire safety requirements vary from building to building. For a full list of statutory fire safety measures refer to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.
What is a Fire Safety Certificate?
A Fire Safety Certificate lists the essential fire safety measures that are required for the building.
A Fire Safety Certificate is a certificate that is supplied by the building owner/manager, which certifies that all of the specified essential fire safety measures listed in the Fire Safety Schedule have been installed in the building and that those measures are capable of operating to the performance standard listed in the Fire Safety Schedule.
A copy of the Fire Safety Certificate and Fire Safety Statement is required to be displayed within the building in a conspicuous position and a copy is also required to be forwarded to the New South Wales Fire Brigades.
When is a Fire Safety Certificate Required?
Before occupation of a new building or part of a building, a Fire Safety Certificate is required to be submitted to Council. A Fire Safety Certificate is also required after Council issues a Fire Safety Order.
The owner of a building must submit a Fire Safety Statement to Council annually, verifying that the essential fire safety measures are still in place and functioning. The Annual Fire Safety Statement must be prepared by a suitably qualified professional.
Council holds a register to ensure owners maintain essential fire safety measures to protect occupants in those buildings.
A Fire Safety Schedule will be issued with the Construction Certificate. The Fire Safety Schedule will list the essential fire safety measures that are to be installed in the building or on the land and the Australian and/or other Standards to which they must be installed. A Fire Safety Certificate must be issued prior to the occupation of a building.
What are My Responsibilities?
It is important that building owners are aware of these fire safety requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements is an offence and the owner will be liable to substantial penalties. More importantly, a failure to meet these requirements can significantly affect the levels of fire safety provided to the occupants of the building, which may threaten their life or safety.
Building owners/managers need to be aware of the date on which the Fire Safety Statement must be submitted to Council, to make necessary arrangements for the fire safety measures to be inspected and certified prior to the due date. Reminder letters are sent out annually to remind owners of their responsibilities.
For more information please contact Council’s Building Surveyor on (03) 5888 5100.