Fire Safety Program

Who is responsible for fire safety?

Fire safety is the responsibility of all property owners of commercial, industrial, multi-residential, retail and industrial premises. Building owners have an obligation under Clause 89 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 to submit Annual Fire Safety Statements to Council and Fire & Rescue NSW once a year.

It is a building owner's responsibility to ensure that:

  • All fire safety measures are inspected by an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) (visit the NSW Planning and Environment website for guidelines) to ensure measures are being maintained to the appropriate standard of performance
  • Annual Fire Safety Statements (AFSS) are displayed in a clearly visible and prominent position inside the building such that Council or Fire & Rescue NSW officers can see them when inspecting the premises and
  • All exit doors are kept in good working condition, and corridors or other paths of travel are kept clear of any obstructions

This is an important process to ensure buildings are as safe as possible for occupants in the event of a fire and aim to prevent the spread of fire to save property and lives.

Council helps building owners to meet their statutory obligations by administering a program which:

  • Reminds building owners of their responsibilities
  • Assesses submitted statements
  • Follows up with appropriate compliance action where building owners do not meet their obligations

For more information on Fire Safety Statements view:

Home fire safety and smoke alarms

For more information about fire safety in your home visit:

What if I have multiple buildings on my property?

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.

What if my building is vacant?

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.

Accredited Practitioner – Fire Safety

What is an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety)?

Suitably qualified fire contractors are referred to as an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety).

An Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) is a person that undertakes certain specialist fire safety assessment functions required by the Regulation.

Who can assess and inspect my essential fire safety measures for my Annual Statement?

Only an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) can sign off on assessing and inspecting the essential fire safety measures on the Annual Fire Safety Statement. 

Their accreditation must be current to complete the Annual Fire Safety Statement.

How do I know if my Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) accreditation is current?

Each individual Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) has their own accreditation number.

To ensure their accreditation remains current search:

What is an Annual Fire Safety Statement?

An Annual Fire Safety Statement is a statement issued by or on behalf of the owner of a building to the effect that:

  • Each essential fire safety measure specified in the statement has been assessed by an accredited practitioner (fire safety) and was found, when it was assessed, to be capable of performing to a standard no less than specified in the fire safety schedule 

Or

  • In the case of an essential fire safety measure applicable otherwise than by virtue of a fire safety schedule, to a standard no less than that to which the measure was originally designed and implemented

Lodge your fire safety statement

  • An Annual Fire Safety Statement must be submitted within 12 months after the date on which the previous statement or the final fire safety certificate was given
  • You will receive a reminder 3 months from your statement expiring
  • The statement must be issued to Council within 3 months of the date of inspection and assessment
  • The Annual Fire Safety Statement is deemed to have been issued on the date it is received by Council

The preparation and submission of an Annual Fire Safety Statement is mandatory for all buildings other than:

  • A class 1a or 10 building or 
  • A temporary structure

Download and complete the Annual Fire Safety Statement Form.

Lodge online

Templates for an Annual Fire Safety Statement and Supplementary Fire Safety Statement are available from:

What is a Fire Safety Measure?

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:

  • Exit signs
  • Portable fire extinguishers
  • Smoke alarms
  • Fire hydrants
  • Evacuation plans etc.

Who is responsible for maintaining Fire Safety Measures?

Under the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 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.

Who is responsible for providing an Annual Fire Safety Statement?

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.

View Council’s fees and charges.

Requirements of Annual Fire Safety Statements

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.

Should a separate statement be submitted for each of the installed Fire Safety Measures?

No.

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.

What will happen if an Annual Fire Safety statement is not submitted by the due date?

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:

  • $1,000 for the first week of the offence
  • $2,000 for the second week of the offence
  • $3,000 for the third week of the offence
  • $4,000 per week for the fourth and subsequent weeks of the offence

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.

  • In some circumstances, Council will issue one further notice in lieu of a Penalty Notice advising the building owner that the Annual Fire Safety Statement is overdue. This overdue notice will attract a further fee - see Council's Fees & Charges

Extensions to a statement due date

The Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 does not contain provisions for extensions of time, however Shoalhaven City Council may grant small extensions of time in extenuating circumstances. 

An Extension of Time Request should ONLY be submitted when there is a legitimate unanticipated event that prevents the AFSS being submitted by the due date.  

When applying for an extension of time it is critical that:  

  • The request is submitted ideally greater than 3 weeks ahead of the due date or as soon as they are aware of a legitimate unanticipated event 
  • The application is supported with enough evidence to demonstrate that a legitimate unanticipated event has occurred i.e. copies of quotes, defect reports, e-mails from APFS and the company contact details of the APFS engaged

Request an extension

Requests for an extension of time to submit the statement can be a made online. 

Request online

Information as to the reason (e.g. unanticipated repair work) and the completion date must be included in the email. 


Last updated on 20 September 2022