The NSW Government has introduced reforms to fire safety to strengthen the state's building regulation and certification system.
These reforms will improve the quality of checks made throughout the design, approval, construction and maintenance phases of fire safety systems.
Part of these reforms require certain functions to be undertaken by a competent fire safety practitioner including:
- endorsing plans and specifications for relevant fire safety systems
- endorsing fire safety performance solution reports
- endorsing exemptions to the Building Code of Australia for minor works to existing relevant fire safety systems
- assessing the ongoing performance of essential fire safety measures in a building and endorsing the annual fire safety statement.
What does the new framework mean?
The Department of Planning and Environment has issued interim guidance for certifiers and owners on how to select and identify a competent fire safety practitioner. These guidelines are available from the Department of Planning and Environment website.
Currently, certifying authorities are required to determine who is a competent fire safety practitioner for specialist functions relating to the certification of building work. Building owners are required to determine who is a competent fire safety practitioner for the assessment of essential fire safety measures.
The NSW Government has established a co-regulatory framework that relies on the expertise of industry associations to accredit individuals with the skills, knowledge and experience required to be competent fire safety practitioners. When the framework is fully operational, only practitioners with accreditation from an approved organisation will be recognised as competent fire safety practitioners.
The Fire Protection Association Australia's accreditation scheme has been approved by the Secretary of the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. It will become operational after an order has been published in the NSW Government Gazette, which is expected in January 2020. The scheme covers:
- endorsing the design of relevant fire safety systems: sprinklers, hydrants and hose reels, fire detection and alarm systems, but not mechanical smoke control systems
- assessing the performance of essential fire safety measures for annual fire safety statements.
The Fire Protection Association's accreditation scheme will include a transitional period for those who have not yet obtained one of its recognised qualifications. This will ensure there are sufficient accredited practitioners to meet industry demand.
Contact the FPAA for updates.
How can my organisation be approved to accredit competent fire safety practitioners?
Industry organisations must apply to Fair Trading for approval to accredit competent fire safety practitioners.
Complete this form to be notified of updates or read more on how your organisation can apply.
Competent Fire Safety Practitioner Co-regulatory Accreditation Farmework
The Competent Fire Safety Practitioner Co-Regulatory Accreditation Framework (PDF, 299.65 KB) sets the requirements that an organisation must meet. Part 2 of the Framework sets the minimum initial requirements for a scheme to be recognised, while Part 3 sets ongoing requirements for the organisation.
Accreditation scheme recognition and application process
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
- 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.
- An order will be published in the Government Gazette recognising individuals accredited under the approved scheme as competent fire safety practitioners.
If your application is refused, you can apply for a review of the decision. Go to the reviews of Fair Trading decisions page for more information.
Further information about these reforms is available on the Department of Planning and Environment website.