Council aims to ensure that every building owner and/or manager is aware of the legal obligations pertaining to the installation and ongoing maintenance of fire safety features, particularly in commercial buildings.
The process involved in providing adequate fire safety involves:
- Approval of an application to erect a building with the production of a fire safety schedule (prepared by the certifying authority).
- Provision of a fire safety certificate (to be provided by the builder, owner or owner's agent) to Council (the fire safety statement will reflect all fire safety measures listed upon the fire safety schedule) on completion of the building and prior to occupation.
- On the anniversary of the production of the fire safety certificate or occupation of the building, the owner or the owner's agent must provide an Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) to Council and the NSW Fire Brigade. A copy of the statement must also be displayed in a prominent position within the building. To provide this, the owner must have the fire safety measures in the building inspected and certified by a 'competent person'. It is recommended that copies of current certification as provided by the 'competent person' are kept by the owner.
- Where extraordinary circumstances prevail, the owner or the owner's agent must provide Council with a supplementary fire safety certificate. A supplementary fire safety statement applies to critical fire safety measures that are highly important and must be certified more frequently than every 12 months.
- Where deficiencies are identified, Council may issue Fire Safety Orders requiring rectification works to be performed.
What is an annual fire safety statement?
An annual safety statement is a certificate that must be supplied to Council verifying the continued operation and maintenance of the essential fire safety measures. This is to be provided every year on the anniversary of the final fire safety certificate or occupation of the building.
Council recommends contacting a professional building and fire safety consultant or other competent person (i.e. an electrician) to inspect the essential fire safety measures and to certify that the measures are maintained and operating as required by the relevant standard, which will enable the owner to provide an annual fire safety statement.
A fire safety certificate must be issued for each new or altered essential fire safety measure.
- When the fire safety work is finished.
- Before the new or altered building is occupied.
- When the use of the building changes. In this case, a fire safety schedule will also be required.
At least once every twelve months after the original fire safety certificate is issued an annual fire safety statement must be provided to Council certifying that:
- a properly qualified person has inspected the building and assessed the fire safety measures, and
- the measures are capable of performing to the relevant standards.
Existing buildings require an annual fire safety statement that certifies each of the measures listed in the most recent fire safety schedule, as installed in the building, complies with the standards listed in the fire safety schedule.
The owner of the premises is responsible for:
- having the measures assessed by a qualified person,
- submitting the completed annual fire safety statement or fire safety certificate to Council and the NSW Fire Brigades, and
- displaying a copy of the annual fire safety statement or fire safety certificate in a prominent place.
The owner of the premises must:
- note the due date for the annual fire safety statement, and
- ensure the essential fire safety measures are inspected, certified and submitted before this date.
Send the completed annual fire safety statement to Council by email, post, fax or in person and to the New South Wales Fire Brigade. An Annual fire safety statement can be downloaded below.
Penalties for failure to provide an annual fire safety statement
It is an offence to fail to provide an annual fire safety statement under Clause 177 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.
Substantial and continuing weekly penalty notices reflect the importance of providing an annual fire safety statement by the due date.
- one week late $500
- two weeks late an additional $1000
- three weeks late an additional $1500
- four weeks late an additional $2000
While Council sends a courtesy reminder letter to building owners, the responsibility for providing an annual fire safety statement remains with the owner.
Failure to submit an annual fire safety statement can lead to legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court, where the maximum penalty for a breach is $110,000.
Late submissions of annual fire safety statements may incur Penalty Infringement Notices.
Late fire safety statements due to repair of essential safety measures
Where an annual fire safety statement cannot be submitted because repairs are required to essential fire safety measures, Council may consider waiving (or suspending) weekly penalty infringement notices. This request must be submitted in writing with sufficient supporting documentation and a clear indication of when the repairs will be completed.
The owner must:
- submit a written request to Council with supporting documentation,
- state clearly when the repairs will be completed,
- make arrangements for inspection of the essential fire safety measures, and
- provide an annual fire safety statement before the extended expiry date.
Council will not waive Penalty Infringement Notices where there is a history of late submissions of annual fire safety statements.
There is no fee for lodging a fire safety certificate, an annual fire safety statement or a supplementary fire safety statement.