Amendments introduced in 2017 to the NSW Government EP&A Regulations come into force on 1 July 2020. These amendments require fire safety statements to be assessed and signed by an accredited Competent Fire Safety Practitioner (CFSP). Implementing these changes is a significant process, and we are pleased to advise that DEM is fully prepared to meet the July deadline.
Mick McGrath, DEM Fire’s Compliance and Accounts Manager, and Anthony Carroll, Compliance Officer, are currently completing certification assessments – and they agree the new scheme will be positive for the industry.
“Essentially, anyone will now need to be FPAS certified to issue annual fire compliance certificates,” advises Mick. “It’s a good thing to put more checks and balances in place and ensure all those working on projects are fully qualified to do so.”
Since 2013, the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) has recognised the skills and competencies of individuals working in the fire protection industry across all state and territory jurisdictions in Australia initially with the inspection and testing class. As a result of the 2017 legislation changes, the FPAS scheme was expanded to include Fire System Design (FSD) and Fire Safety Assessor (FSA). Currently the FPAA FPAS scheme is the only government recognised pathway to accreditation as a CFSP.
The EP&A regulation amendment requires all fire practitioners to be certified as ‘competent fire safety practitioners’, a new title that replaces the term ‘properly qualified person’ used in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. After 6 April, only competent fire safety practioners will be able to legally conduct the work currently covered by Fire Safety Assessment and Fire Systems Design accreditation.
Further, individuals will only be able to become competent fire safety practitioners by holding FPAS, Fire Safety Assessment or Fire Safety Design accreditation or under any other future schemes.
Fire Protection Association Australia’s Chris Wyborn, General Manager – Training, Accreditation and Bushfire Services, is encouraging anyone doing this work, “to gain the right accreditation before 1 July 2020 to avoid any disruption to their business.”
Since late last year, DEM Fire team members, including Mick and Anthony, have been working through all assessments required to complete the FPAS certification by the deadline. Individuals are able to qualify for 32 separate Fire Safety Measures under the Fire Safety Assessment class of accreditation.
As Mick explains, “There are 32 different measures – and assessments. We need to gain a minimum score of 70% on assessments and the questions include different scenarios in various types of property, so there can be more than one right answer. You need to thoroughly know the Building Code of Australia to be able to answer them.”
Both Mick and Anthony commenced assessments late last year, and they are on track to complete all required assessments for full certification.
Anthony agrees with Mick that there are benefits in the implementation of the amended legislation in terms of added safety and quality of service.
“It’s information that we know – and that anyone who conducts safety assessments should know. It is always useful to get a training refresher, however. We might take another look at a standard and get a clearer definition than what we currently have. You can never be too prepared.
I think it’s great for the industry,” he adds. “It will help ensure that only people with the right knowledge are conducting fire compliance checks – and that building owners are engaging the right people.”
The new FPAS accreditation aims to ensure quality provision of all fire compliance and protection services. And adherence to FPAS is just one way that DEM Fire ensures outstanding service for our clients.
We deliver exceptional fire and essential services with a holistic approach that includes solution design, system installation, asset management and fire compliance services. And we always strive for superior results.