The improved design, installation and maintenance of building fire safety systems is a NSW Government priority being achieved through amendments to the EP&A Regulation.
From 1 October:
- a 'competent fire safety practitioner' must design any hydraulic fire safety system, fire detection and alarm system (but not simple home smoke detectors), or mechanical ducted smoke control system
- for any of the above systems, the applicant must submit plans and specifications endorsed by a competent fire safety practitioner, to the certifying authority
- proposed performance solutions must include a report from a competent fire safety practitioner
- two new critical stage inspections apply, to bounding construction (class 2, 3 and residential parts of class 4 buildings), and fire protection of service penetrations (class 2, 3, 9a and 9c and residential parts of class 4 buildings)
- the applicant may apply to the certifying authority for an exemption from a BCA provision, for a minor modification to an existing fire safety system, subject to strict regulated criteria
- Fire and Rescue NSW will have power to inspect class 2 and 3 buildings before occupation, if work on relevant fire safety systems has been carried out
- standard forms will apply for fire safety certificates and annual fire safety statements.
The requirement to use a competent fire safety practitioner accredited by a Government-recognised scheme will commence when the accreditation framework is set and industry-managed accreditation schemes are recognised.
Until then, the certifier or applicant will need to verify a practitioner's competency.