In the wake of the NSW Government’s announcements of major reforms to the state’s fire safety and building regulations last month, FPA Australia has prepared a set of Frequently Asked Questions that explain what the reforms are, and what fire protection professionals need to do as a result.
A key point of confusion for many is what will happen after the reforms come into force on 1 October, but before the NSW Government recognises an accreditation scheme for ‘competent fire safety practitioners’. The FAQ answers this question.
The NSW reforms are still evolving, and there are several key developments yet to come. The FAQ will be continually updated to reflect the latest information as it becomes available.
These reforms are possibly the most important change to the fire protection industry in decades, and FPA Australia is working closely with government and industry to ensure the reforms both improve fire safety outcomes and are practical for the industry.
Upcoming changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (the regulations) that become effective 1 October 2017, will impact building owners who are required to issue fire safety statements for their buildings.
The attached fact sheet outlines the current and proposed systems for the preparation of fire safety statements in NSW.
Building owners still has the option of engaging a “Competent Fire Safety Practitioner” (CFSP)
Rest assured, AESC is working with all Government and Industry bodies to ensure we continue to encompass all of the required competencies and aim to achieve the newly proposed accreditation.
Should you require any further advice or guidance in this matter please contact our office on 1300 237 200.
Victorian Building Regulations have been amended (Building Amendment Regulations 2016) to enable the adoption of the Standard AS1851-2012, at the discretion of the building owner.
With the amendment; Part 1205A, building owners and managers are now enabled in a simple and cost effective manner, to adopt the latest fire protection maintenance standard. The amendment allows AS1851-2012 to be adopted and supersede all other referenced AS1851 editions listed in issued occupancy permits or certificates of final inspection.
The Victorian Building Authority has not yet released an amended Practice Note to qualify the implementation of the amendment.
The Standard AS1851-2012 has been amended as of November 2016, removing some baseline requirements that were not required at the time of installation or alteration of fire services or at time of construction.
- The adoption of AS1851-2012 is not mandatory.
- Once adopted, a building owner must continue to apply AS 1851-2012.
- The process of adoption, relevant documentation required and annual contractor certification requirements are described under Section 1 and in each other relevant part of the Standard.
- Where an essential safety measures (ESM) schedule does not list AS1851 as a referenced standard for maintenance, the adoption is not relevant. This would include egress items, measures relating to evacuation procedures, emergency and exit lighting and in some cases, passive items.
- As a part of the amended regulatory requirement, the adoption of AS1851-2012 has to be noted on the issued Annual Essential Safety Measures Report; a relatively simple process given pending cost savings (e.g. for sprinkler systems and fire doors) and simplicity of adoption.
- The Standard is performance based – to the approved design of the system. If the system performance requirements are unknown, they will have to be established.
- There is no requirement to upgrade plant and equipment to comply with the Standard routine service lists.
- All service records have to be left in hard copy on site on completion of each service routine.
- Some additional data that was required such as valve and gauge registers, passive FRL drawings and an interface diagram have been removed with the As1851-2012 amendment
- Individual contractors are required to supply an annual condition report, to assist with annual building regulatory compliance.
- The Standard has been re-structured to remove regulatory and compliance ambiguity, and qualifying the terms critical defects, non-critical defects and non-conformances.
- Where static water systems are installed, there is a separate section of AS1851-2012 which should be implemented. While static water systems may not be a specifically listed item on an ESM schedule, they form a component of the hydrant or sprinkler systems.
- There is now a dedicated section for Emergency Planning in Facilities. Utilising this part of the standard is not mandatory as yet. Mindful there is still an obligation to have evacuation management in place in line with OH & S obligations
- Particular attention should be made to Section 1 – Scope and General Information for processes of adoption and clarification of points is clarified.
If you require any further advice or guidance please contact our office on 1300 237 200.
Amended December 2016
The Victorian Building Regulations have been amended.
S.R. No.33/2016 dated 26/4/2016
A new Building Regulation 1205A has been inserted.
“Compliance with As1851-2012 taken to be compliance with earlier standards”
Finally in Victoria, we have a single maintenance standard that can be applied against all buildings regardless of age and references in previously issued occupancy permits or determinations.
The method of adoption has yet to be clarified by the Victorian Building authority, but watch this space for further developments!
Victoria Building Authority Practice Note 2016-23 Update
Victoria Building Authority Practice Note 2016-23 was released in February 2016. This key guidance note on the maintenance of Essential Safety Measures has been updated to introduce AS 1851-2012 – Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment, and advises on its adoption in the State of Victoria. Readers should take caution in automatically adopting the Standard as Victorian Building Regulations require owners to utilise maintenance Standards as specified in the building Occupancy Permit or Maintenance Schedule/Determination. Further information including Practice Note 2016-23 can be obtained from VBA website http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/
Building Regulations – Update
Building owners, practitioners and managers eagerly awaiting the Building Regulations 2006 ‘’sunsetting’’ completion are to continue waiting. Due to system reforms and ongoing amendments to strengthen the regulatory framework in the State of Victoria, the Building Regulations have been extended to 5 June 2017. Further information including the Extension Regulations issued, can be obtained from VBA website http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/
Essential Safety Measures Update for South Australia
South Australia. Ministers Specification SA76 – Essential Safety Provisions 2015 amendments
South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure has released an updated Ministers Specification that enables new buildings to adopt and existing buildings over 500m2 a process to adopt the latest versions of AS1851.
The South Australian Government has released a revised Ministers Specification ,SA76 – 2015, that requires new buildings (of classification 2 to 9) to adopt and the option for existing buildings over 500m2 a process to adopt, the latest versions of AS1851.
The new Ministers specification has a mandated adoption date of 1st May, 2015.
With existing buildings, with no alterations and or change of classification, there is a provision to retain existing processes for proving the adequate maintenances of building (part 59 log book being the most common) but; there is now an option and a defined process to adopt the new Schedule.
The released Essential Safety Provisions Schedule is great step forward for South Australian building owners and managers with increased occupant safety, accountability from contractors, maintenance cost savings and system reliability being the expected outcomes.
For further information please contact AESC
For a copy of the Minister’s Specification SA 76 2015 edition: www.sa.gov.au
Essential Safety Measures Practice Note ”“ Victorian Building Authority
Follow the link to find out more http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/24869/Essential-Safety-Measures.pdf
New obligations for certifiers – fire safety when development affects an existing building
Amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 came into force on 18 July 2014 and affect class 1b-9 buildings (not class 1a or 10 buildings).
The amendments include obligations for certifiers in relation to:
- inspecting egress routes before issuing a construction certificate or complying development certificate (refer to clauses 129B(1A) and 143B(2))
- notifying council of a ‘significant fire safety issue’ within two days of becoming aware of the issue (refer to clauses 129D and 162D)
- development standards for CDCs for change of use or internal reconfiguration (refer to clauses 132(2)(a1) 132(2)(a) and 132(2)(b)).
Clauses 130(4)(e), 132A and 154D are repealed.
Follow the link to find out more http://bpb.nsw.gov.au/news/epa-reg-new-fire-safety-requirements
AESC is excited to announce the release of our on-line contractor certification sign off – this allows the contractors to complete their certification directly into BOSS.