Passive Fire Protection

Passive Fire measures are designed to stop (or slow) the spread of fire from one part of the building to another. Most buildings have Passive Fire protection measures – even if they are not specifically listed on the AFSS.

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Emergency Lights

In an emergency situation emergency lights should run on their backup battery for at least 90-minutes. Australian Standards require that exit & emergency lights be tested every 6 months. Exit and emergency lights have a shorter lifespan when compared to non-emergency lights.

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Smoke Alarms & Landlord Obligations

Landlords have clear obligations when it comes to the installation, repair and maintenance of smoke alarms.
So who is responsible for what?
Landlords can engage Civil Fire to fulfil their obligations for $75 + GST each year.

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Safe Passage Fire Exit

Paths of Travel

Maintaining exits, and clear paths of travel to exits is critical in ensuring occupants can escape in the event of an emergency. So what are the requirements?

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Fire Sprinkler

Fire Sprinklers

Fire sprinklers are a highly effective method of fire suppression. But in order for them to operate effectively they need to have adequate clearance and coverage. We’ll explore some of the common issues we see with sprinklers in residential strata buildings.

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Soft Touch Door Closers

Fire doors must be able to self-close and self-latch after every opening, which is why it is mandatory for fire doors to have closers. Are you finding that your closer is making your fire door feel so heavy that you can barely open it? There is a solution!

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What is an Annual Fire Safety Statement?

In laymen’s terms an AFSS is a declaration from the building owner(s) that the fire safety measures that apply to a building (listed in Section 4) have been checked and continue to perform to the relevant standard (also listed in Section 4).

The same way a pink slip for your car verifies that your vehicle is safe and ready for the road, the AFSS enables building owner(s) to demonstrate are complying with the requirement to maintain fire safety measures in accordance with clause 182 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation.

Copies of the AFSS must be sent to the local council and to Fire and Rescue NSW. A copy must also be displayed in a prominent position in the building alongside a copy of the building’s fire safety schedule.

AFSS

What is a fire safety measure?

In laymen’s terms a Fire Safety Measure refers to a category of fire protection equipment. 

Digging a little deeper, we see that ‘Fire safety measure’ is defined in cause 165 the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation:

Fire Safety Measure

Examples of everyday fire safety measures include: fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, fire hydrants, sprinklers, fire detection and alarm systems and fire seals.

Essential fire safety measures are often identified in the building’s fire safety schedule, where a schedule was required to be issued, or they could be included in the essential services list attached to an approval or order issued under the Local Government Act 1919 or the Local Government Act 1993.

Essential fire safety measures are the fire safety measures that form part of an annual fire safety statement.

What is a fire safety schedule?

Fire safety schedule lists the measures required to be installed and the standard they need to achieve. A fire safety schedule can be issued:

  1. By your local Council or an accredited certifier in relation to a construction or complying development certificate
  2. By the local Council with a fire safety order
  3. By the local Council in some cases with a development consent, such as for a change of use in an existing building.

Copies of the schedule should be held by the building, can often be obtained from the local council. An example of a fire safety is shown below.

Schedule

Do all buildings need to submit an AFSS?

No. Not all buildings.

Buildings (class 2-9)  constructed after 1 July 1988 need to submit an AFSS.

Buildings (class 2-9) constructed before 1 July 1988 don’t need to submit an AFSS unless: 

  • A DA or CDC has been applied to the building after 1 July 1988.
  • A fire order has been issued by council or the fire commissioner on the building after 1 July 1988.

What happens if the AFSS is not submitted?

It is an offence to fail to provide the statement. Substantial and continuing weekly penalty notices apply for this offence:

  • 1 week late $1,000
  • 2 weeks late an additional $2,000
  • 3 weeks late an additional $3,000
  • 4 weeks late an additional $4,000

 

Although they are not required to do so by law, many councils send a courtesy reminder letter to the owner of the building when the AFSS due date is approaching.

Failure to submit an annual fire safety statement could also lead to legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court, where the maximum penalty for a breach is $110,000.

Who can endorse Fire Safety Measures on an AFSS?

According to the clause 175 (b) of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation the measures must be inspected by an accredited practitioner (fire safety).

You can find accredited practitioners (fire safety) by searching the register on the FPA website.

These individuals possess the relevant knowledge & experience to decide if a fire safety measure is capable of performing to the standard to which it was originally installed.

Civil Fire currently have 5 individuals recognized as Accredited Practitioners (Fire Safety).These experts possess the relevant up-to-date knowledge and experience required to determine the effectiveness of fire safety measures listed on fire safety schedules.

Civil Fire is accredited to endorse ALL fire safety measures.

How often do fire safety measures need to be inspected?

Fire contractors don’t make up how often equipment needs to be tested. Testing frequencies are laid out in the Australian Standard for the routine inspection and maintenance of fire safety equipment AS1851. 

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