What Fire Compliance Changes Mean for Annual Fire Statements
As a leading independent provider of fire and essential services, DEM Fire is skilled across all aspects of fire compliance. We remain a leader thanks to long-standing expertise and a commitment to exacting standards.
As we recently reported, 2017 legislation amendments now require all staff that conduct Annual Fire Statements to gain accreditation as ‘competent fire safety practitioners’ (CFSPs).
As of 1 July, only CFSPs can now legally conduct the work previously covered by Fire Safety Assessment (FSA).
The changes are a positive step forward for the industry, for quality assurance… and for property owners.
Background to the FPAS Amendments
In 2017, the NSW Government introduced reforms through the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (the Regulation) designed to strengthen fire safety certification for new and existing buildings. It required all fire compliance and testing to be undertaken only by ‘competent fire safety practitioners’ (CFSP’s), a new title that replaced the term ‘properly qualified person’ used in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.
Subsequently, as of 1 July, the title has been changed again to ‘Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety)’. For ease, we’ll refer to them here as CFSP’s.
The FPAA, which since 2013 has recognised the skills and competencies of individuals working in the fire protection industry across all state and territory jurisdictions in Australia, steered the process for CFSP accreditation.
In response to the changing legislation, the FPAA added to the FPAS scheme an accreditation class for fire safety assessors, which has become the only accreditation process currently available.
“Essentially anyone will now need to be FPAS certified in fire safety assessment to issue annual fire compliance certificates,” Mick explains. ‘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.”
Understanding Annual Fire Statements
Initial Fire Safety Certification and follow up annual Fire Safety Statements are central to fire compliance. Statements are completed on or behalf of the owner of an existing building.
They confirm that a competent fire safety practitioner has inspected, assessed and verified each fire safety measure applied to the building.
There are two types of fire safety statements. An annual fire safety statement must include all the essential fire safety measures that apply to a building. It also verifies that a CFSP has inspected and confirmed that the exit systems in the building are in compliance with regulations.
A supplementary fire safety statement is issued at more regular intervals – outlined in the fire safety schedule – for any critical fire safety measures that apply to a building.
Practical improvements for Annual Fire Statements
On a practical level, Mick has already found benefits to the new scheme. The changes enable CFSPs to better fulfill their obligations and address the increased liability. Whilst the established fire system inspection and testing regimes remain an essential part of maintaining operational fire services, the process of accreditation now requires greater personal involvement from the CFSP to verify compliance and collect and record adequate evidence to support the fire safety compliance statement.
Part of the process is to ascertain the current fire schedule aligns with the existing building. Historically, fire safety schedules have been corrupted over the years by various changes such as building modifications.
“We do see properties where the schedule doesn’t match the building,” says Mick. “Just as one example, we attended a property which had lift fire seals listed in the schedule, but there were no lifts in the building.”
Continuing excellence in fire compliance
From July 1, the onus is on a property owner to select an accredited CFSP to compile their Annual Fire Statement. The change means all fire assessors who conduct Annual Fire Statements, need to have an accreditation number under the FPAS scheme.
It’s good news for property owners, with improved fire safety measures swithin the built environment.
DEM Fire excels at fire protection because we take a holistic approach to solution design, system installation, asset management and fire compliance… and because we have an exceptional and fully qualified in-house team to ensure we meet and exceed industry standards.
Please get in touch for first-class fire protection from our skilled and certified FPSA’s.