Fire safety practitioners

Fire safety practitioner reforms

The NSW Government has introduced reforms to fire safety to improve the quality of checks made throughout the design, approval, construction and maintenance phases of a building.

Certain functions under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation must be undertaken by an ’accredited practitioner (fire safety)’ or a registered certifier.

These include:

  • 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.

Legislative changes from 1 July 2020

On 1 July 2020, legislative changes were introduced which updated the requirements for accredited practitioners (fire safety) (previously known as ‘competent fire safety practitioners’).

The only people who can do the work of an accredited practitioner (fire safety) are:

  • people accredited under an approved industry accreditation scheme (see below), for the functions covered by that scheme
  • Certain classes of registered certifier as follows: 
    • an engineer—electrical (previously C8) class of registration may endorse plans and specifications for a fire detection and alarm system
    • an engineer—mechanical (previously C9) class of registration may endorse plans and specifications for a mechanically ducted smoke control system
    • a certifier—hydraulic (building) (previously C14) class of registration may endorse plans and specifications for a hydraulic fire safety system
    • if no accredited person is available, a person endorsed via issue of a ‘competency certificate’ by the principal certifier or relevant certifier.

For other functions of accredited practitioners (fire safety) the certifying authority or owner is still responsible for determining who is competent to do the work. Guidance on appointing an accredited practitioner can be found on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.

Recognition of industry accreditation schemes

An industry association can apply for Government approval as a recognised accreditation authority of accredited practitioners (fire safety).

The Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) accreditation scheme was approved on 1 July 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 FPAA scheme includes a transitional period for those who have not yet obtained a recognised qualification. For more information, contact the FPAA.

How can my organisation’s accreditation scheme be approved?

Our guidelines set the requirements an organisation must meet. These guidelines are being revised and will be published on this webpage soon.

The application process is summarised below:

  • Email your completed Competent Fire Safety Practitioner Accreditation Scheme Provider Registration Form (PDF, 156.89 KB) and other documents to Fair Trading at fsp.accreditations@customerservice.nsw.gov.au
  • If required, Fair Trading can request more information within a set timeframe. If not provided, your application will be refused.
  • If your application is approved, your organisation will be able to accept applications and an order will be published in the Government Gazette recognising your scheme.

Your organisation must comply with ongoing requirements of recognition.

AFSS standard templates

Standard templates for an annual fire safety statement and supplementary fire safety statement are available from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

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