New South Wales experienced one of the most devastating bushfire seasons on record in 2020. In the wake of destructive blazes that tore through 5.4 million hectares of land (7% of the state), fire safety is front of mind and not just in regional areas.
The NSW Government has announced sweeping changes to emergency response procedures for businesses including a co-accreditation system for certifying and inspecting essential fire protection equipment.
There is a lot of information to unpack so this blog will break down the reforms and what they mean to you.
What are the Fire Safety Reforms?
From April 2020, only practitioners accredited under the Fire Protection Association Australia’s (FPAA) Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) will be authorised to endorse fire safety system plans and specifications. FPAA and FPAS will provide co-regulated accreditation for competent safety fire practitioners (CFSPs)
From April, certain functions can only be carried out by CFSPs:
- Endorsing fire safety system plans and specifications including emergency response procedures
- Endorsing fire safety performance solution reports
- Endorsing Building Code of Australia exemptions for minor works to existing fire safety systems
- Assessing ongoing performance of essential fire safety measures in a building
- Endorsing the annual fire safety statement
Emergency response procedures are the first line of fire defence for Australian businesses. These reforms will improve fire safety measures by ensuring checks are made by qualified, practiced inspectors. In addition, FPAS oversight ensures a transparent accreditation for fire safety professionals.
What are Competent Fire Safety Practitioners?
CFSPs are responsible for:
- Annual assessment of essential fire safety measures
- Annual inspection of fire exits and routes to fire exits
Plus, the co-accreditation scheme makes CFSPs responsible for endorsing plans and specifications for installing or modifying:
- Hose reels
- Sprinkler systems
- Fire detection and alarm systems
Where this work is part of a new building or construction work, CFSPs ensure the modifications comply with the Building Code of Australia.
How will this affect the public?
Currently, NSW building owners determine who is a CFSP for assessing fire safety measures including emergency response plans and on-site equipment. Specialist functions like building certification are handled by certifying bodies.
The new co-regulatory framework will ensure higher safety standards and more transparent certification. This means safer buildings, better fire protection and compliant emergency response procedures in place.
How Fire Safe ANZ Can Help
Fire Safe ANZ are a highly experienced, nationally operational fire protection company. We are already members of FPAA and accredited to provide the required building endorsements.
Our focus is on maintaining economic growth in NSW by working with builders (and building owners) on improved fire safety standards. We want new buildings to keep going up, without compromising on safety.
By working closely with our clients to design, install, certify and maintain fire protection systems – including consulting on emergency response procedures – we are supporting the NSW Government’s new co-regulated accreditation system for safer workplaces.
Contact Fire Safe ANZ to find out how the fire safety reforms will affect you and get support from the industry leaders.