Understanding Annual Fire Safety Statement for Building Owners

09 December 2019

All owners of commercial buildings and multi-purpose buildings in New South Wales are required by law to acquire and post in a prominent area of their building premises an Annual Fire Safety Statement. This statement must be completed by a fully qualified professional fire safety practitioner after a complete building inspection and audit of building services with reference to specific matters, which include the following:

• Essential services/safety measure inspections
• Auditing of maintenance records and procedures
• Fire door/smoke door inspections
• Fire seals and fire protective linings inspections
• Fire safety evaluations
• Fire safety upgrade requirements

If you own a commercial or multi-purpose building in NSW, your expert fire safety practitioner will explain every aspect of conducting a building inspection and audit to identify any deficiencies to be corrected before your property complies fully with all NSW fire safety regulations. This will enable you as the building owner to have a thorough understanding of every aspect of your building’s Annual Fire Safety Statement when it is issued once your property meets all requirements for fire safety compliance.

After your fire safety practitioner-consultant determines any short or long-term deficiencies in your building’s fire safety compliance, the costs, timeline and specific tasks that are necessary to make your property fire safety compliant will be identified. If your building requires repairs or additional fire safety measures and equipment, your fire safety consultant will prepare a written proposal of the necessary work to be done. This proposal will include the best methods for achieving these improvements, the required timeline and the fee to be charged for this assessment of your property for making it fire safety compliant.

Fire safety measures and equipment that must pass inspection for full fire safety compliance in your building include the following:

• Fire detectors and alarm systems
• Emergency lighting and exit signs
• Fire sprinkler system
• Fire hydrants/fire hose reels
• Fire extinguishers
• Fire doors.

Understanding Your Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) as a Building Owner

Once all of the repairs and additions that are required to make your property fire safety compliant are identified, your fire safety consultant will connect you with top-quality fire safety equipment repair companies and fire safety measures professionals for all needed repairs and new installations. After these repairs and additions to your building’s fire safety equipment and measures are in place and have passed inspection for full operation and excellent fire prevention and control, your fire safety expert will prepare your building’s AFSS.

You or your official representative must sign the AFSS within three (3) months of your building’s fire safety assessment. A copy of your AFSS must then be sent to the relevant Council, NSW Fire Brigades, and a copy must be displayed in a prominent area of your building. All of the essential services and the life safety systems of your building must be inspected and maintained regularly.

Non-compliance with these requirements may result in financial penalties or legal action, voiding of your commercial property insurance coverage, OH&S reactions and requirements and damage to your business reputation. Once you have experienced each step toward achieving fire safety compliance for your property, you will have a full understanding of your AFSS and all that it involves.