Fire safety reforms enforceable from April

Published: 16 Jan 2020

Released by: Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation

NSW Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, has advised industry practitioners that from April 2020, only persons accredited as competent fire safety practitioners (CFSPs) under the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) will be authorised to endorse plans and specifications of fire safety systems.

The functions required to be undertaken by a competent fire safety practitioner include:

  • annual assessment of essential fire safety measures, and the annual inspection of fire exits and paths of travel to fire exits
  • endorsement of the plans and specifications for installation or modification of hose reels, hydrants, sprinkler systems, fire detection and alarm systems as complying with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) prior to instalment, as part of new building work for which a construction certificate or complying development certificate has been issued.

The only alternative to obtaining the endorsement of the plans and specifications from a CFSP is to obtain a compliance certificate from an accredited certifier.

Mr Anderson said this change will strengthen the state's building regulation and certification industry by improving the quality of checks made.

“Assessing performance of essential fire safety measures should be completed by a trained and competent fire safety professional, according to a transparent accreditation system,” Mr Anderson said.

The FPAS scheme, developed and administered by FPA Australia, will also oversee the accreditation of competent practitioners whose job it is to endorse the design of relevant fire safety systems including sprinklers, hydrants and hose reels, fire detection and alarm systems.

“We’re simplifying the process so a co-regulatory framework relying on the expertise of industry associations will accredit individuals and ensure that construction can continue, but not at the expense of safety,” Mr Anderson said.

“Therefore, to avoid delays to construction and sign off, it is critical that there are a sufficient number of persons accredited in both Fire Safety Assessment and Fire Systems Design classes prior to April 6.”

The FPAS scheme is the only accreditation scheme approved by the NSW Government. FPAS will become operational in April 2020, ensuring there will be a sufficient supply of persons accredited by FPA Australia so as not to significantly increase costs and delays to the construction industry and to building owners.

More information on the co-regulatory framework is available on the NSW Fair Trading website.

For more information on the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme, visit the Fire Protection Association of Australia website.

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