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FPA Australia's NSW Fire Safety Reforms Submission

Posted on : Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) has stressed the importance of ensuring competence as the foundation of any accreditation scheme introduced under the NSW government's reforms to fire safety regulations.


Commenting on the proposed reforms, which include mandatory accreditation for fire safety industry members, FPA Australia maintained its strong support but noted the current wording  around who could attain accreditation could be more sharply defined.


"The intent of the reforms is to improve fire safety. If those providing services in the fire protection industry attain a NSW accreditation simply by being a member of an organisation rather than by having demonstrated their individual competence under a recognised accreditation scheme, the intent has been undermined," said FPA Australia General Manager Technical Services and  Deputy CEO Matthew Wright.


The FPA Australia submission, which is a consolidation of feedback from and consultation with NSW industry members, states:


"Merely holding membership of a group or the holding of a qualification purporting to represent competency should not be acceptable. The regulations should not promote any inferred suggestion that membership equals an acceptable assessment of competency if it does not."


According to Mr Wright, recognition of competence through accreditation for both the built environment and bushfire, will be a vital next step and will progress in consultation.


"FPA Australia is fully supportive of the proposed reforms and believes the observations and recommendations made in its submission will assist to fine tune what is a well thought through and very important document."


Among other areas addressed in the submission:


  • Better documentation for performance expectations of a building's fire safety systems at the construction phase and for the life-cycle of the building
  • Clarity around exemptions to compliance to avoid current industry confusion
  • The introduction of additional critical stage inspections targeting passive fire protection installations
  • The additional inspection role proposed for Fire and Rescue NSW
  • The development of Performance Solutions relating to fire safety matters
  • Clarification of a building's Annual Fire Safety Statement to reduce current confusion and to ensure only a properly accredited and competent fire safety practitioner can prepare a fire safety schedule and an annual fire safety statement. 


"FPA Australia congratulates the NSW government on progressing these reforms as the leading jurisdiction developing contemporary requirements to improve professionalism and increase fire safety. Other states should be watching and following the lead the NSW Government has shown," said Mr Wright.


FPA Australia congratulates incoming NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, the Hon. Matt Keane. Minister Keane takes over the tremendous work done by the former Minister, the Hon. Victor Dominello who has moved to the Finance portfolio. FPA Australia looks forward to working with Minister Keane and building on the tremendous progress achieved in improving fire safety in NSW.



To read the full submission click here