Fire safety practitioners

The NSW Government is introducing reforms to fire safety to strengthen the state’s building regulation and certification system. New regulations started on 1 October 2017. Visit the Department of Planning website for more information on these reforms.

This page outlines the role of competent fire safety practitioners, the framework for accreditation and how they will be appointed while the framework is being set up.

Competent fire safety practitioners

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (EP&A Regulation) requires that a competent fire safety practitioner:

  • endorses plans and specifications for relevant fire safety systems
  • endorses fire safety performance solution reports
  • endorses exemptions to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for minor works to existing relevant fire safety systems
  • undertakes the annual fire safety statement assessment of buildings.

To become a competent fire safety practitioner you will need to be accredited by an approved industry organisation. The Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) is currently accepting applications from industry organisations who want approval to accredit competent fire safety practitioners. If you want to be notified when an industry organisation is recognised, complete this registration form.

The Competent Fire Safety Practitioner Co-regulatory Accreditation Framework

The Competent Fire Safety Practitioner Co-Regulatory Accreditation Framework (PDF, 299.65 KB) outlines the structure that the Government and private organisations will work together to regulate the inspection and certification of fire safety systems. The NSW Government has adopted a co-regulatory model for determining the qualifications of people who are capable of carrying out the functions of competent fire safety practitioners. Instead of a traditional licensing scheme where the government sets the requirements that individuals must meet, this model relies on the expertise of professional bodies and industry associations to determine the skills, knowledge and experience an individual must have to perform one or more of the competent fire safety practitioner functions. This framework is being set up.

How are competent fire safety practitioners appointed before the framework is operational?

As it will take some time for the accreditation scheme to become fully operational, the Department of Planning has issued interim guidance on how to select a competent fire safety practitioner. Go to the Department of Planning website for more information.

The Competent Fire Safety Practitioner Co-regulatory Accreditation Framework Guideline

The <Competent Fire Safety Practitioner Co-regulatory Accreditation Framework Guideline> sets the minimum requirements that an organisation and its accreditation scheme must meet.

Initial requirements for an accreditation scheme to be recognised

Part 2 of the Guideline outlines the minimum requirements that each accreditation scheme must meet. These include (but are not limited to) showing that the organisation has:

  • an appropriate and publicly documented process for accreditation application and renewal
  • a complaints handling and dispute resolution process
  • a process for monitoring and investigating accreditation holders
  • a process for disciplining accreditation holders
  • a code of conduct for individual practitioners
  • an appropriate record keeping system
  • capacity to maintain an up-to-date publicly available register of current and former accreditation holders
  • a contingency plan if the organisation is unable to continue accrediting competent fire safety practitioners.

Ongoing requirements for a recognised accreditation scheme

Part 3 of the Guideline outlines the ongoing requirements that an organisation must comply with. These include (but are not limited to):

  • standard conditions of accreditation scheme recognition, for example:
    • obligation to act in the public interest
    • ability to manage and avoid conflicts of interest
    • ability to act independently, fairly and with honesty and integrity
  • any specific conditions of accreditation scheme recognition
  • continued satisfaction of the requirements in Part 2 of the Guideline
  • requests to provide information
  • audits and investigations.

Accreditation scheme recognition and application process

  1. To have your organisation’s scheme recognised, submit your application to NSW Fair Trading. Email the completed Competent Fire Safety Practitioner Accreditation Scheme Provider Registration Form (PDF, 156.89 KB) and other documents to esp.accreditations@finance.nsw.gov.au
  2. If required, Fair Trading can request more information to be provided within 21 days (or an agreed timeframe). If the information is not received within the timeframe, your application will be refused.
  3. If your application is approved, Fair Trading will notify you and your organisation will be able to accept applications. Your organisation must comply with ongoing requirements of recognition.
  4. An order will be published in the Government Gazette recognising individuals accredited under the approved scheme as competent fire safety practitioners.

If your organisation’s application is refused, you can apply for a review of the decision. Go to the reviews of Fair Trading decisions page for more information.

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