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NSW building regulation & certification reforms 2017


In July 2017 the New South Wales Government announced a series of building regulatory reforms, largely with respect to fire safety, which came into effect on 1 October 2017.


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.


FPA Australia has developed several resources for fire protection practitioners and building owners in response to the NSW reforms.



NSW reforms FAQ

Frequently asked questions with the latest information and advice.

Interim Fire Safety Assessor Register 

Looking for a competent fire safety practitioner? Start here.



Building owners


Under the reforms, building owners are required to use 'competent fire safety practitioners' (CFSP) for certain types of work. Between 1 October and recognition of an accreditation scheme, the NSW Government has advised building owners to satisfy themselves that the fire protection practitioners they select are competent. See the NSW reforms FAQ for more detail on what work requires a CFSP.


Building owners are also required from 1 December 2017 to use new standard forms (see below) developed by the NSW Government to submit Annual or Supplementary Fire Safety Statements.


FPA Australia advises that fire safety practitioners are not required to sign these forms on behalf of owners or as an owner's agent (Section 6 or 7 for Fire Safety Certificates and Section 7 or 8 for Fire Safety Statements). This remains the responsibility of the owner or a managing agent appointed to act on their behalf.


Resources from the NSW Government:



Building certifiers


Under the reforms, a CFSP must be involved for some types of work, in particular preparation of plans and specifications for fire protection system installation (system design). See the NSW reforms FAQ for more detail on what work requires a CFSP as a result of these reforms.


Resources from the NSW Government:



Fire safety practitioners


Between 1 October and recognition of an accreditation scheme, the NSW Government has advised building owners to satisfy themselves that the fire protection practitioners they select are competent.


FPA Australia has launched the Interim Fire Safety Assessor Register, which connects building owners and industry looking for assistance in preparing Annual or Supplementary Fire Safety Statements with FPA Australia Corporate members who currently do this work in NSW. Companies and individual practitioners listed on the Register have demonstrated/declared to FPA Australia a specific set of requirements.


For practitioners conducting design work, FPA Australia already offers the FPAS Fire Systems Design class of accreditation, which the Association contends is an appropriate recognition of competency despite it not yet being formally recognised by the NSW Government.


Comprehensive information on how the reforms impact fire safety practitioners is also available in the FPA Australia's NSW reforms FAQ.


What's covered by the reforms?


The reforms were introduced in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety and Building Certification) Regulation 2017, which you can download here.


Fire safety regulation


Fire safety is the primary focus of the reforms. The key changes include:


  • The requirement for certain types of fire protection work to be conducted by a 'competent fire safety practitioner' (CFSP), primarily in the design stage and in assessment of essential fire safety measure performance;
  • The development of new templates for Fire Safety Statements and Fire Safety Certificates;
  • The eventual requirement for CFSPs to be accredited, and a plan to recognise existing industry and government schemes that can accredit individuals as such;
  • Provision for limited exemptions from compliance with the BCA for minor fire protection system works;
  • The introduction of two new critical stage inspections focusing on passive fire and smoke containment measures in multi-unit residential buildings;
  • An expansion of Fire and Rescue NSW's current inspection role to cover multi-unit residential building construction; and
  • The introduction of new requirements for fire safety alternative solutions for class 1b-9 buildings.


Certifier regulation


The NSW Government intends to replace the current Building Professionals Act 2005 with a new Building and Development Certifiers Act. It plans to release a draft exposure bill for public exhibition in late 2017.


Future reforms


The NSW Government has stated that the reforms announced in July 2017 are the beginning of a broader series of changes. The Government is working to identify other opportunities for reform in the building regulation and certification system, informed by the recommendations made in the Lambert Review. FPA Australia anticipates future states of the reforms will broaden the new accreditation requirements applying to fire protection work.


Information is also available at the NSW Government Building Regulation and Certification Reform page.