Department confirms that roles not covered by FPAS do not require accreditation

Posted on : Friday, 31 July 2020

A ruling by the Department of Customer Service about the interpretation of clause 65 of the Building and Development Certifiers Regulation 2020 created an unintended consequence.  


That advice confirmed that practitioners must be accredited under the FPAS scheme for:  


  • Fire Safety Assessment - to carry out annual assessments of fire safety features; or 


  • Fire Systems Design - to endorse plans and specifications of relevant fire safety systems (unless registered as a C8 or C14 practitioner by the Department of Customer Service).  


However, this ruling created further confusion because it meant that nobody was accredited to issue performance solution reports or approve cl.164B exemptions to the Building Code of Australia, and only a handful of C9 mechanical engineers could design ducted smoke control systems. 


In other words, parts of the industry could no longer operate legally under the Regulation.  


To resolve this, Ms Rose Webb, Commissioner for Fair Trading, today published two notices in the NSW Government Gazette, advising that there was no person reasonably available who holds accreditation to perform the following regulated work under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation:  


  • annual fire safety assessment for measures (or performance solutions relating to them) that are not covered by FPAS FSA accreditation; 


  • the preparation of a performance solution report in respect to a fire safety requirement under clauses 130 and 144A; 


  • the endorsement of plans and specifications for a relevant fire safety system, being a ducted smoke control system only, under clauses 136AA and 146B; and 


  • the endorsement of a non-compliance with specified provisions of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) relating to the operational performance of a relevant fire safety system under clause 164B.


Owners, managers, and certifiers were authorised by the notices to appoint an appropriate person to carry out such regulated work if they considered them competent.  


This is an important step, as it allows work to continue where no accreditation scheme is in place, while still recognising that practitioners must be accredited under FPAS FSD and FPAS FSA if they are: 


  • carrying out non-mechanical design work on relevant fire safety systems; or 


  • performing annual fire safety assessments on statutory fire safety measures, emergency planning, fire alarm monitoring, or performance solutions to any of these.  


When, ultimately, accreditation schemes are introduced that cover these other activities, the Secretary will recognise them and only those holding accreditation will be able to carry out the work.  


The Commissioner's notices can be found here.  


The full Gazette (no. 166, Friday, 31 July, 2020) can be found here.