Understanding Fire Safety Protection

29 May 2020

Due to its geographical and environmental conditions, Australia takes fire safety very seriously and has a number of programs in place to help prevent building fires and minimise their impact. The Department of Customer Service is currently developing an accreditation framework to recognise industry schemes that will accredit individuals as competent fire safety practitioners. The department has published a guide for building owners  to help owners determine if a person is a competent fire safety practitioner in the interim. When the accreditation scheme is established a register will then be available for building owners to select a competent fire safety practitioner. Below is an overview on how to better understand fire safety protection.

Annual Fire Safety Statement

Every year the owner of a building or premises must provide a statement certifying that all fire-safety measures work properly. Fire safety statements must be prominently displayed within a building. It is an offence to not display fire safety statements. Find out more, including the new annual statement template and supporting guidelines on the Department of Planning and Industry website. When you complete the annual statement, you need to lodge it with the City by email, post or in person at a customer service centre, and to Fire and Rescue.

Supplementary Fire Safety Statement

A supplementary fire safety statement applies to fire-control measures so it’s important that they must be certified more frequently than every 12 months. The frequency will be stated on the premises’ fire-safety schedule.

Essential Fire Safety Measures

These measures include installations, equipment or forms of construction that will protect occupants of a building in the event of fire or other emergencies. They include: automatic fire detection and alarm systems, automatic fire suppression systems, such as sprinkler systems, emergency lighting and exit signs, fire hose reels, fire hydrants and portable fire extinguishers, fire doors and mechanical air-handling systems and lightweight fire-resistant construction materials.

Fire Safety Schedules

Fire safety schedules list the measures required to be installed and the standard they need to achieve. A fire safety schedule can be issued: by the City or an accredited certifier in relation to a construction or complying development certificate, by the City with a fire safety order, by the City in some cases with a development consent, such as for a change of use in an existing building.

Fire Safety Certificate

For new or altered buildings, the first certificate, called a fire safety certificate, must be furnished for each new or altered essential fire safety measure. No fee applies. At least once within every 12 months after the fire safety certificate is completed, an annual fire safety statement must be supplied to the City, certifying a competent fire safety practitioner has inspected the building and found that all required fire-safety measures are compliant with relevant standards.

For existing buildings, every year, within 12 months of the date of the previous annual fire safety statement, the owner of a building must submit an annual fire safety statement to the City certifying that each of the measures listed in the most recent fire safety schedule installed on the premises remain capable of operating to the standards listed in the schedule.