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Essential services are safety installations in a building that assist in reducing risk to life and property in the event of an emergency; such as fire. They include equipment and protective devices such as fire hose reels and fire doors. Following is a list of essential services:
In most cases the installation of essential services is required by building regulations, which Council enforces. In certain circumstances Council may also request other items of equipment or forms of construction not listed above, to protect the safety of people in a building in the event of fire.
Council will require the installation of essential services in 3 instances:
Upon installation of any essential services the owner or agent must issue an Installation Certificate stating that the services have been inspected by a competent person and installed to the relevant standards. Blank Installation and Maintenance Certificates are available at
The Certificate is to be forwarded to Council. In the case of a Fire Safety Order a copy must also be forwarded to the NSW Fire Brigades, and another copy kept on site for inspection.
Every 12 months after the Installation Certificate is issued, a Maintenance Certificate indicating that the particular essential service is being maintained must be prepared and forwarded to Council. In the case of a Fire Safety Order a copy must also be forwarded to the NSW Fire Brigades, and another copy kept on site for inspection.
The Installation and Maintenance Certificates can only be signed by the owner or their agent and not by the "competent" person.
If you have existing essential services in your building and:
you will be required to engage a competent person to check the design standards to which those services were installed.
You will need to get an Installation Certificate, signed by you and forwarded to Council. When approval is issued, Council will nominate the additional (if any) essential services required and the appropriate design standard to which they must be installed.
If you intend to construct a new building, approval is required from Council. In the building permit Council will nominate the essential services required and the Australian Standards to which they must be installed.
It is an offence to make a false statement or to fail to submit the Certificates within the prescribed time. Further, you may be liable under common law if you do not ensure that the person/s you rely on for inspecting the services are acting within their level of competency or if you fail to maintain the services and it can be shown that this has led to an injury, death or loss.
BASIX - the Building Sustainability Index, introduced by the NSW Government - is a web-based planning tool designed to assess the potential performance of residential developments against a range of sustainability indices. A BASIX certificate identifies the sustainability features required to be incorporated in a development's design. These may include sustainable design elements such as rainwater tanks; water efficient showerheads, taps and toilets; native landscaping; heat pump or solar hot water heaters; roof eaves/awnings and wall/ceiling insulation.
You need a BASIX certificate for:
Council will not accept an application for a BASIX affected development without a current BASIX certificate and all commitments shown on the plan.The applicant is required to submit the BASIX certificate with the Development Application, Construction Certificate application or Complying Development Certificate application. The plans and specifications must also identify the BASIX commitments which will be checked by a professional building certifier during construction.
Applicants can generate the BASIX certificate only on the NSW Department of Planning & Environment
www.basix.nsw.gov.au for fact sheets.
Phone the NSW Department of Planning & Environment BASIX helpline on
1300 650 908 or email
Qualified professionals need to oversee any development, and certify that the work is safe and compliant with relevant standards and conditions at various stages. You can choose council or a private certifier as your PCA. See our
PCA fact sheet (accessible pdf 109KB) for more information on appointing a PCA.
Appoint Council as Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) (accessible pdf 146KB)
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