Annual Fire Safety Statement Program
- Written by Adam Gatt Penrith City Council (02) 4732 7777 (02) 4732 7958 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au 601 High St Penrith NSW 2750 Australia
Owners of certain buildings have an obligation under Clause 177 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 to submit Annual Fire Safety Statements to Council and Fire and Rescue once a year. Annual Fire Safety Statements are statements which confirm that fire safety measures installed in a building (e.g. fire hose reels, portable fire extinguishers etc.) are capable of performing to the required standard and that the building complies with the Regulations in terms of fire exits.
This is an important process which ensures that buildings are as safe as they can be for occupants in the event of a fire. Council assists building owners meet their statutory obligations by administering a program which:
- reminds building owners of their responsibilities.
- assesses submitted statements.
- follows up with appropriate compliance action where building owners do not meet their obligations.
What is an Annual Fire Safety Statement?
An annual fire safety statement is a statement issued by or on behalf of the owner of a building to the effect that:
- Each essential fire safety measure specified in the statement has been assessed by a competent fire safety practitioner and was found, when it was assessed, to be capable of performing:
- In the case of an essential fire safety measure applicable by virtue of a fire safety schedule, to a standard no less than that specified in the schedule, or
- In the case of an essential fire safety measure applicable otherwise than by virtue of a fire safety schedule, to a standard no less than that to which the measure was originally designed and implemented and
- The building has been inspected by a competent fire safety practitioner and was found, when it was inspected, to be in a condition that did not disclose any grounds for a prosecution under Division 7 (of the EP&A Regulation) i.e. the required fire safety notices are displayed and all fire exits and paths of travel to fire exits are clear and safe for use in an emergency.
Download the Annual Fire Safety Statement form.
What is a Fire Safety Measure?
A fire safety measure is any measure (including any item of equipment, form of construction or fire safety strategy) that is, or is proposed to be, implemented in a building to ensure the safety of persons using the building in the event of fire. These measures will vary from building to building and may include; exit signs, portable fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, fire hydrants, evacuation plans etc.
Who is responsible for maintaining Fire Safety Measures?
Under the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (the EP&A Regulation) it is the building owner’s responsibility to maintain each essential fire safety measure installed in the building premises. The fire safety measures are to be maintained whether the building is occupied or vacant.
While legislation requires the property owner to submit to Council fire safety statements on an annual basis, some Australian Standards require more regular maintenance inspections of your equipment. It may therefore be necessary to have certain fire safety measures inspected at intervals of less than 12 months (i.e. 6 monthly inspections) as per Australian Standards in order to obtain a Fire Safety Statement Annually.
Who is responsible for providing an Annual Fire Safety Statement?
Under the provisions of the EP&A Regulation it is the building owner’s responsibility to ensure that the annual fire safety statement is submitted to Council, that a copy of the statement is given to the Fire Commissioner and that another copy is prominently displayed in the building.
Fees and charges associated with Annual Fire Safety Statements
Significant costs are incurred by Council to administer this program. As these requirements apply only to owners of buildings with fire safety measures, it would be unreasonable to recover these costs from all ratepayers. Council has therefore adopted a set of fees associated with Annual Fire Safety Statement submissions. These fees enable us to recover some of the costs associated with the program. View Council's Fees & Charges.
Requirements of Annual Fire Safety Statements
The required assessment and inspection of the fire safety measures must have been carried out within the period of three months prior to the date on which the statement is issued.
It is therefore important to be aware of the due date for submission of the statement to Council. Procedures should be put in place to have the required assessment and inspection, and any required repairs, carried out within this three month period.
The choice of person to carry out the assessment or inspection is up to the owner of the building.
The person who carries out an assessment must inspect and verify the performance of each fire safety measure being assessed.
Should a separate statement be submitted for each of the installed Fire Safety Measures?
No. Only one annual fire safety statement, listing all installed fire safety measures, is to be submitted to Council, Fire and Rescue and prominently displayed in the building. However, it is advisable to retain all statements and certificates issued by your service provider as proof of inspection.
What will happen if an Annual Fire Safety statement is not submitted by the due date?
Failure to give Council an annual fire safety statement by the due date constitutes a separate offence for each week beyond that date for which the failure continues.
The serious nature of non-compliance with fire safety requirements is reflected by the substantial penalties provided for in the EP&A Act 1979.
Proceedings for such an offence may be taken before a Local Court where a maximum fine of $110,000 may be imposed, or Council may issue Penalty Notices which range from:
- $1,000 for the first week of the offence
- $2,000 for the second week of the offence
- $3,000 for the third week of the offence
- $4,000 per week for the fourth and subsequent weeks of the offence.
An incomplete statement may still attract at least a $1,000 Penalty Notice and failure to maintain an essential fire safety measure may attract an additional $6,000 Penalty Notice.In some circumstances, Council will issue one further notice in lieu of a Penalty Notice advising the building owner that the Annual Fire Safety Statement is overdue. This overdue notice will attract a further fee - see Council's Fees & Charges.
Requests to extend statement due date
Where an annual fire safety statement cannot be submitted due to legitimate unanticipated site event/circumstance, Council may consider an application to extend the due date for statement submission.
Council is unlikely to grant any extension of time in the event of poor compliance behaviour and or where development type work is proposed to be carried out.
Further information on recent changes to fire safety legislation and Competent Fire Safety Practitioners (CFSP’s) can be found on the NSW Planning & Environment website.