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Owners of commercial, industrial, multi-residential and tourist accommodation buildings have an obligation under Clause 177 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 to submit Annual Fire Safety Statements to Council and Fire & Rescue NSW once a year.
Annual Fire Safety Statements confirm fire safety measures installed in a building (e.g. fire hose reels, portable fire extinguishers etc.) are capable of performing to the required standard and the building complies with the Regulations in terms of fire exits.
This is an important process to ensure buildings are as safe as possible for occupants in the event of a fire.
Council assists building owners meet their statutory obligations by administering a program which:
There must be one Annual Fire Safety Statement submitted per building. If you have one Fire Safety Schedule for multiple buildings, you must still submit a separate Annual Fire Safety Statement for each building, clearly articulating which Essential Fire Safety Measures apply to each building.
All fire safety measures listed on the fire safety schedule including egress paths and exits must be maintained at all times even when the building becomes vacant. Vacant buildings should also be the subject of regular security checks and ongoing maintenance to prevent disrepair and possible unauthorised access. Maintaining the fire safety measures and undertaking ongoing maintenance will improve safety and access.
The Fire Protection Association of Australia (FPAA) website has a search function for accredited practitioners.
An Annual Fire Safety Statement issued by or on behalf of the owner of a building to the effect that:
Download the Annual Fire Safety Statement Form (Version 3.0), effective 1 February 2020.
Please note that pages three (3) to five (5) of this document include information to assist building owners complete the form.
A fire safety measure is any measure (including any item of equipment, form of construction or fire safety strategy) that is, or is proposed to be, implemented in a building to ensure the safety of persons using the building in the event of fire.
These measures will vary from building to building and may include:
Under the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (the EP&A Regulation) it is the building owner’s responsibility to maintain each essential fire safety measure installed in the building premises.
The fire safety measures are to be maintained whether the building is occupied or vacant.
While legislation requires the property owner to submit to Council fire safety statements on an annual basis, some Australian Standards require more regular maintenance inspections of your equipment.
It may therefore be necessary to have certain fire safety measures inspected at intervals of less than 12 months (i.e. six (6) monthly inspections) as per Australian Standards in order to obtain a Fire Safety Statement Annually.
Under the provisions of the EP&A Regulation it is the building owner’s responsibility to ensure the annual fire safety statement is submitted to Council, a copy of the statement is given to the Fire Commissioner and another copy is prominently displayed in the building.
Fees and charges associated with Annual Fire Safety Statements
Significant costs are incurred by Council to administer this program. As these requirements apply only to owners of buildings with fire safety measures, it would be unreasonable to recover these costs from all ratepayers.
Council has therefore adopted a set of fees associated with Annual Fire Safety Statement submissions. These fees enable us to recover some of the costs associated with the program.
The required assessment and inspection of the fire safety measures must have been carried out within the period of three (3) months prior to the date on which the statement is issued.
It is therefore important to be aware of the due date for submission of the statement to Council.
Procedures should be put in place to have the required assessment and inspection, and any required repairs, carried out within this three (3) month period.
The choice of person to carry out the assessment or inspection is up to the owner of the building.
The person who carries out an assessment must inspect and verify the performance of each fire safety measure being assessed.
Only one annual fire safety statement, listing all installed fire safety measures, is to be submitted to Council, Fire and Rescue and prominently displayed in the building.
It is advisable to retain all statements and certificates issued by your service provider as proof of inspection.
Failure to give Council an annual fire safety statement by the due date constitutes a separate offence for each week beyond that date for which the failure continues.
The serious nature of non-compliance with fire safety requirements is reflected by the substantial penalties provided for in the EP&A Act 1979.
Proceedings for such an offence may be taken before a Local Court where a maximum fine of $110,000 may be imposed, or Council may issue Penalty Notices which range from:
An incomplete statement may still attract at least a $1,000 Penalty Notice and failure to maintain an essential fire safety measure may attract an additional $6,000 Penalty Notice.
Where an annual fire safety statement cannot be submitted due to legitimate unanticipated site event/circumstance, Council may consider an application to extend the due date for statement submission.
Requests for an extension of time to submit the statement can be a made via email to Council; information as to the reason (e.g. unanticipated repair work) and the completion date must be included in the email.
Council is unlikely to grant any extension of time in the event of poor compliance behaviour and / or where development type work is proposed to be carried out.
Last updated on 27 August 2021