Most Building Owners or Owners Corporations would be aware that the Essential Fire Safety Measures (EFSM’s) must be maintained and endorsed on the Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) for the building.
Unfortunately, all too often, (and usually at the last-minute) Building Owners or Owners Corporations are advised by their fire protection or maintenance company who is completing the endorsement on their behalf that the:
- Standards of Performance for one or many of the EFSM’s, listed in the Fire Safety Schedule (FSS), are incorrect; or
- EFSM’s, listed in the FSS, are not installed in the building (even though they have been certified for a number of years);
Should either of the above occur the contractor will advise that the FSS will need to be amended before they can endorse the EFSM’s on the AFSS. For this to happen the owners must approach Council and request the FSS be modified.
However, the only pathway for a Council to correct an incorrect FSS under NSW Legislation is by:
- Issuing a development control order (fire safety order) with an amended FSS, or
- Applying for a complying development certificate, or
- Applying for a development consent and construction certificate with an amended FSS.
The issue is that these pathways (noted above) were never intended to amend FSS’s, particularly when no building work is proposed.
Michael Barnes, Director of Credwell Fire & Risk, with over 30 years of building compliance experience has found that there is no consistent approach by Councils when it comes to amending a FSS.
He further states “I can assure you there is a direct correlation to the number of grey hairs I have to the different methods Councils employ to correct a FSS”.
Thankfully, due to amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 which will come into effect on 13 February 2023, Building Owners and Owners Corporations will finally have another pathway to correct errors or omissions in FSS.
Under the amendments, Building Owners and Owners Corporations can approach Council and request for the FSS to be reissued. Council may reissue the FSS if they are satisfied there are errors or omissions that require correction.
However, it should be noted that Council cannot reissue the FSS if the errors or omissions are due to:
- Building work; or
- Changes in plans and specifications.
We believe that this additional pathway will be beneficial to all Building Owners and Owners Corporations.
The Credwell Fire & Risk team is always here to help with your FSS requirements:
We can assist Building Owners and Owners Corporations by:
- Establishing if your FSS is indeed correct;
- Preparing FSS’s for buildings if no schedule exists; and
- Approaching Councils on your behalf to request that the FSS be reissued to correct errors and omissions.
To discover more about flexibility and options in building safety compliance please contact Credwell Fire & Risk at 02 9281 8555 or firstname.lastname@example.org