Fire Safety Assessment & Fire Systems Design NSW Accreditation Update

From the Fire Protection Association of Australia who currently are the accreditation body for Fire Safety Assessment and Fire Safety System Design.
Fire Safety Assessment & Fire Systems Design NSW Accreditation Update

In 2017, the NSW Government amended the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (the Regulation) to require the endorsement of fire systems designs and performance to be carried out by competent practitioners.  

This change was in line with private certification views of the Independent Review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 (the Lambert Report), which considered the “approach to the regulation of the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire safety system” to be “a major deficiency” in need of urgent reform. 

It was always the NSW Government’s intent that an industry-based accreditation authority would be approved to accredit practitioners. On 1 July, 2020, Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) was recognised as an accreditation authority by the NSW Department of Customer Service. The announcement by the NSW Secretary recognised FPA Australia for Fire Safety Assessment (FSA) and Fire Systems Design (FSD).  

NSW FSA and FSD practitioners can be recognised through a Transitional pathway until 30 June 2021 after which only the Qualified pathway for accreditation will apply.  

Who is affected by this change?
Fire Safety Assessment and Fire Systems Design Practitioners operating in New South Wales only, this change applies to:
Practitioners who currently hold Transitional Accreditation
Practitioners who are currently undertaking assessment for Transitional Accreditation; and
Persons who are wishing to become accredited through the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme  

What does this mean for you? 
From 1 July, 2021, the Transitional Accreditation pathway for NSW FSA and FSD will no longer be available and all new applicants MUST meet the Qualified Accreditation requirements. The Qualified Accreditation pathway will be the ONLY pathway available to applicants from that date.   

FPA Australia is encouraging all practitioners operating in NSW to complete the Transitional Accreditation for NSW FSA and/or FSD by 11.59pm on 30 June, 2021.  If you have not applied, or are yet to finish, we recommend you complete the Transitional pathway as soon as practically possible.   

Practitioners who hold a Transitional Accreditation for NSW FSA or FSD will have a period of four years dating either from the day they were accredited or 1 July, 2020, whichever is the later to meet the Qualified criteria, as detailed in the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS)  

Please refer to the relevant links below to understand what the criteria for the Qualified Accreditation pathway will be:
Fire Systems Design
Fire Safety Assessment  

We are aware that existing practitioners operating in NSW conducting FSA and FSD work may not have a direct correlation to qualifications identified in the matrix, these circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis.  

What are the benefits?
In NSW a practitioner is unable to sign off on measures they are not accredited for and through the Fire Safety Assessment (FSA) and Fire Systems Design (FSD) Accreditation model, industry (rather than Government) is demonstrating its competence and providing certainty to clients and other stakeholders in the fire protection industry.

This is part of a national discussion about the recognition of skills and qualifications, and we see the recognition of the Fire Safety Assessment (FSA) and Fire Systems Design (FSD) Accreditation categories as a model that can be picked up effectively by other states and territories. 
All other fire protection roles are unaffected by this change.  

What’s changing and why you need to know about the changes?
FPA Australia will cease ALL assessments being undertaken through Transitional Accreditation for the NSW Fire Safety Assessment and Fire Systems Design pathway from 11.59pm on 30 June, 2021 with the Qualified Accreditation pathway taking effect from 1 July, 2021.   

It’s important to understand that FPA Australia is unable to allow a person to become accredited through the Transitional Accreditation for either the NSW FSA or FSD pathways from 1 July 2021 onwards, and assessments will automatically close at 11.59pm on 30 June, 2021.   

If you are part way through an online assessment of a Fire Safety Measure at that time, you will be unable to complete the requirements and will be required to gain Accreditation through the Qualified Pathway.  

All new applicants must apply through the Qualified Accreditation pathway from 1 July, 2021, for NSW FSA and/or FSD.   

Frequently Asked Questions and Scenarios
To ensure we are communicating the right messages to all relevant stakeholders please submit your questions to including your mobile number, so that FPA Australia can contact you for clarification, if required.  FPA Australia will be running face to face information sessions (where applicable) and webinars to ensure that everyone can understand the process and ask questions.  

We understand that you may have questions that have not been answered in the content above, we will endeavour to update our Scenarios and Frequently Asked Questions to ensure the message is communicated to all relevant stakeholders.  

Please feel free to forward this information onto your colleagues who may be impacted by the change in the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) pathway to become an Accredited Practitioner in New South Wales.  

Kind Regards  
Amanda Hogarth
National Manager Accreditation
Accreditation & Licensing
Fire Protection Association Australia

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Men Meeting the Challenge Conference 2020

Men Meeting the Challenge | Newsletter October 2020
Men Meeting the Challenge Conference
Saturday 7th November 2020

I Have Never Done This Before

Richard Bolton
Chairman & Conference Convenor, Men For Christ Ministries -writes:

Life has dramatically changed in 2020. However, our need for being fortified by God’s Word, through fellowship with our Christian Brothers, has never been greater.

While our revamped online 2020 Men Meeting the Challenge Conference has changed from being a large single gathering to being individuals or smaller groups, regardless of wherever you may be, it does not change the fact that we are all one in Christ.

Earlier this week I was thrown by an email from a brother in the Lord who is doing his bit to organise a group of 50 men to meet on the 7th November 2020 in the ACT. It is through the craziness of 2020 that I am now realising that our single gathering, that has met each year for the last 16 years, is this year going to gather men from all over the country.

It was only yesterday, on the mobile, that I was speaking about how we could connect with our brothers, who are in isolation throughout Victoria. Wouldn’t it be great if men in isolation, wherever they might be, could tune in on the 7th November to be fortified by God’s Word; truth that remains constant regardless of our current situation.

Please continue to pray for our organising committee and join with us by sharing this newsletter as we promote this year’s online Men Meeting the Challenge Conference.

And as you gather on the 7th November, remember, whether or not you are watching online solo, or as a small group of men (adhering to the COVID-safe requirements) that you are not alone, you are part of a larger group of men who are all one in Christ.
Hear a promo from our Keynote Speakers for 2020
Help us spread the word Can you take a couple of minutes to encourage each other and promote MMC2020?  What about heading to our Facebook Page and posting an encouraging message and share the page (you can see what Andrew from the Illawarra shared).

Or maybe forward this email to a Christian mate.    

Registration is easy     
Online:   $10 

Visit our website click on “Register” and follow the prompts.

Pay with Direct Deposit or Credit Card via PayPal (you don’t need a PayPal account) or  Your PayPal account     Meet our Briefing Panel and Breakout Speakers

Martyn Iles – Australian Christian Lobby
Martyn has operated a church youth ministry with disadvantaged teenagers and worked in a top-tier commercial law firm. He is currently the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL). The ACL is one of Australia’s largest lobby groups, desiring a compassionate, just and moral society through having the public contribution of the Christian faith reflected in the political life of the nation.
David Robertson – City Bible Forum
David is the Director of Third Space – an evangelistic project with City Bible Forum.  He was a Presbyterian pastor in Scotland for 33 years.  He is married and they have three children and four grandchildren.  David is an author, broadcaster and a prolific blogger at The Wee Flea.

Tony Payne – Campus Bible Study (UNSW)
Tony is one of Australia’s best-known Christian writers. He is the author of Fatherhood, The Thing Is, The Trellis and the Vine, and more than 30 other books and ministry resources. He is a Ministry Trainer and Writer in Residence with Campus Bible Study at UNSW. He is married, and along with his wife they have five adult children and six grandchildren

Grant Borg – MBM South West Sydney
Grant is the Campus Pastor of MBM in South West Sydney – an almost 3-year-old Church Plant out of MBM in Rooty Hill. Grant is at home talking to people about Jesus and a more natural evangelist than he is a Pastor. He is married, has 3 young kids and is most at rest in the Aussie outback. 
Resources online Promotional Video Talks from past conferences (including 2019) Posters, Sign-up Sheet & Bible Studies
Bible Study  Bible Study 2: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. What has God done for us? Does being a “new creation” mean that we are now perfect? What task or position has God committed us to? How can people be reconciled to God? Is there one person you can tell the good news of reconciliation to this week?

Leaders notes available online here, and at

Prayer Corner

We continue with the request for prayer. We are confident that the Lord answers prayer, so please pray for God’s guidance for this year’s conference. In particular That the Steering Committee will pray & reflect on God’s word concerning preparations for this conference. That God is preparing men to come; that their hearts will be challenged, & through obedience, they will allow
the Holy Spirit to change them to be Men of God.  
update subscription preferences 
Ian Childs writes:
If possible I would love to have the fellowship of men who were going to attend the 2020 Hunter Men’s Convention se this as an opportunity to continue to be infused by Bible teaching which can be applied to our daily lives.

If this cannot be hosted at GECN on the 7th November 2020 in the Auditorium, then I would love you to fill our home to COVID restricted capacity (so we can have up to 20 guests) and that any spill over can be sorted at other venues. If you need sponsoring to attend, please advise as I had pre-booked for attending the conference at Kings Parramatta and so with Trevor & Myles have pre-paid for 16 where there is but the 3 of us.


Ian Childs

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COVID-19 activities and risks

Let’s all be one’s who think about our community and do whatever it takes to keep them healthy.

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Formation of the Society of Building Services Engineers

This journey has been some twenty years in the making and there are a number of people and events to recall as an integral part of the journey and the author apologises for not including everyone and everything:-

  1. Adj. Professor David Hood AM, Hon FIEAust, as Director Engineering for The Institution of Engineers Australia, saw both the importance and potential of having an engineering discipline called “building services engineering” in the mid. 1980’s and commenced a national body within Engineers Australia titled the Building Services Engineering Council (BSEC) to monitor this new and emerging discipline, which operated until the mid. 1990’s. Two of the members of the BSEC were Alan Obrart (NSW) and Kevan McGill (WA).
  2. In 1998, following the closure of the BSEC, EA authorized the establishment of a National Council for the SBSE and two of the representatives and also Vice Presidents of the inaugural Council were Alan Obrart (NSW) and Terry Spiro (WA).
  3. Initially SBSE’s home within EA was with the Mechanical College, then jointly with both the Mechanical and Electrical Colleges and finally/currently with the Electrical College.
  4. For a range of reasons the SBSE National Council went into recess between 2003 and 2008 and appeared to be around in name only. Except that Alan Obrart continued operating an SBSE Chapter in NSW and Kevan and Terry kept an SBSE Panel running in WA. There were also joint kindred groups operating in VIC, SA and QLD.
  5. Following an operational declaration, by the EA Director of Engineering in 2008, former EA Associate Director of Registration, Michael Bevan was appointed to establish ‘NPER – Building Services’ through the National Engineering Registration Board (NERB) and this proved to be a significant event. It would be remiss not to mention the work and support of National Manager Sheryl Harrington with her limited staffing resources and what they have achieved for The Society.
  6. In 2009 SBSE National Committee was reformed and Alan Obrart elected as National Chair and Terry Spiro as Deputy. Reforming SBSE turned out to be much harder than starting from scratch and there were times when Alan and Terry wondered what we had taken on but remained grateful for the high level support from David Hood, Dr Marlene Kanga and Alex Baitch who were all National Presidents of EA and greatly assisted this Society’s journey.
  7. Between 2012 and 2014 we were very busy with the re launch of SBSE at the EA Convention 2014 in Melbourne. To support SBSE the Electrical College elected to call their one-day seminar, which they fully funded, a “Building Services Symposium”.  

Current National Committee

Alan Coote                          National Chair & TAS Rep.             Specialist BSE Electrical

Alan Obrart                         Deputy National Chair                  NER-Mechanical and
Building Services

Terry Spiro                          National Treasurer                        NER-Mechanical and
Building Services

Graham Agar                      National Secretary, WA Rep.       Specialist BSE Practitioner

Prof. David Hood, AM      QLD Representative                       Engineering Sustainability

Ian Childs                            NSW Representative                     Specialist BSE and
Fire Compliance

Brett Fairweather             National & Liaison Rep.                BSE Mech. Standards &

Roger Blackwell                 National Representative              NER-Mechanical and
Building Services

Peter Murton                    SA Representative                          Building Services Design

Anthony Dorinko              VIC Representative                       Buildings Services Engineering

Re Launch of SBSE

The re launch in 2014 was a significant event and achieved the following:-

  • The total and unconditional support of EA directly from the CEO and National President.
  • Australia wide advertising for SBSE.
  • An article in the EA Journal ahead of the re launch.
  • Joint recognition on the platform for the release of EA “Sustainability” and “Climate Change Policies” driven by Adj Professor David Hood AM
  • A brand SBSE brochure prepared by Alan Obrart and the NSW committee.
  • Rewrite of the “Rules for Chapters” by Terry Spiro and WA committee.
  • Re instatement of the SBSE on the EA website, and is an ongoing project
  • Electrical College Board inclusion of SBSE, to have their own awards segment, in the prestigious ECB Annual Dinner and Awards Night, which is now a permanent arrangement.

BSE Certification

Over the last few years SBSE has moved quickly to be recognized as the only organization in Australia to have BSE Certification and achieve the following:-

  • Successful National Conference, Annual Meeting and National Committee Meeting in Brisbane 2016.
  • Having representatives in QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS, SA and WA.
  • Conducting the SBSE roadshow or similar in WA, VIC, QLD and NT.
  • Successful transfer of NPER – Building Services to NER – Building Services.
  • The important work of Adj Professor David Hood AM continues in reporting the impact of climate change.
  • Setting up the framework to create supplementary registers in Building Services for EA Associate and Technologist grades.
  • In 2016 the new SBSE web address was established, which directly feeds into the EA sbse website in the EA new societies web format and establishing the SBSE mailserver by Ian Childs, and this uses EA new Societies web format.
  • Establishing an SBSE National member’s register, by Chapter, thanks to Graham, with a total of around 700, accepting there may be duplication between SBSE and NER lists.
  • Finalizing of the SBSE Banners, Thanks to input from Alan Obrart, Graham and Sheryl.
  • EC Confirmation of ARBS as SBSE industry and members forum

SBSE Representation

 SBSE continues to grow and now has representation on a number of EA and Standards committees including:

  1. AS/NZS1668.1&2 Brett Fairweather,
  2. AS1682.1&2 ian Childs,
  3. AS1851 Ian Childs & Brett Fairweather,
  4. AS/NZS3666.1,2,3&4 Ian Childs

National Responsibilities Within EA

As a Society within Engineers Australia SBSE has responsibility to provide opportunities for its members to meet at least biennially and in that regard has elected to do that at ARBS so that our members can meet with kindred industry groups and encourage the widest possible cooperation, which is important for the growth of our industry which was founded from Air Conditioning to HVAC to Mechanical Services plus facilities management and now to Building Services Engineering whilst maintaining that focus on science and engineering being the key to the success and perhaps the survival of the industry into the future.

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Essential fire safety measures are installations in a building that assist in reducing risk to life and property in the event of an emergency. They include equipment and protective devices such as fire hose reels and fire doors. The following is a list of essential fire safety measures:

  • Access panels, doors and hoppers to fire-resisting shafts
  • Automatic fail-safe devices
  • Automatic fire detection and alarm systems
  • Automatic fire suppression systems
  • Emergency lighting
  • Emergency lifts
  • Emergency warning & intercommunication systems
  • Exit signs
  • Fire control centres and rooms
  • Fire dampers
  • Fire doors
  • Fire hydrant systems
  • Fire seals protecting openings in fire-resisting components of the building
  • Fire shutters
  • Fire windows
  • Hose reel systems
  • Lightweight construction
  • Mechanical air handling systems
  • Perimeter vehicle access for emergency vehicles
  • Portable fire extinguishers
  • Safety curtains in proscenium openings
  • Smoke and heat vents
  • Smoke dampers
  • Smoke and heat detectors
  • Smoke doors
  • Solid core doors
  • Standby power systems
  • Wall-wetting sprinkler and drencher systems
  • Warning and operational signs
  1. Who determines which essential fire safety measures are required?

Generally, essential measures are installed as required by Regulations that accredited building certifiers or Council enforce. There may be some measures, however, where other items of equipment or forms of construction not listed above can be included for the purpose of ensuring the safety of persons in a building in the event of fire.

  1. In what circumstances is the installation of essential fire safety measures required?

Essential fire safety measures are installed in the following instances:

(a) Building Work

In certain instances, a Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate may be issued with a Fire Safety Schedule. The Schedule must include the current and proposed fire safety measures to be implemented.

  • Change of Use of a building (e.g. from an office to a factory)

Where the use of a building is changed, the safety of persons to be accommodated in the building must be safeguarded. In considering the change of use, the essential fire safety measures to be installed must be identified.

  • Fire Safety Orders

The regulator (Council) may, at any time, assess the state of an existing building and if it is considered necessary, order the owner to carry out upgrading works. These works may include the installation of essential fire safety measures.

  1. Am I, as the owner of the building, required to do anything?
  • For existing buildings
  • If there are essential fire safety measures installed in your building, and you intend to-
  • carry out building work; or change the use of the building for which approval is required; or
  • have been issued with a Fire Safety Order,

you will be required to engage a competent fire safety practitioner [CFSP] to check the design standards to which those measures were installed. After this, a Fire Safety Certificate is to be completed, signed by you or your agent, and forwarded to Council. When an approval is issued by an accredited certifier or Council, the existing and any additional measures required will be included in the Fire Safety Schedule, together with installation design standards.

(b) For new buildings (to be constructed)

If you intend to construct a new building, approval is required. The approval must have a fire safety schedule attached where fire safety measures are required. The fire safety schedule will nominate those essential fire safety measures and the Australian and/or other Standards to which they must be designed by CFSP accredited with design and all such measures must be installed by installers that satisfy the requirements for Competent Fire Safety Practitioners (CFSP*).

(c) Certificates

Before the Principal Certifying Authority can issue an Occupation Certificate for the building, the owner or agent must issue a Fire Safety Certificate stating that the services have been inspected and performance tested by a competent fire safety practitioner and installed to and satisfy the performance required of the relevant Standards.

Once the Fire Safety Certificate is issued, a copy must be forwarded to Council. For this Fire Safety Certificate, a copy of the certificate and the current fire safety schedule must also be forwarded to the NSW Fire & Rescue, and another copy prominently displayed in the building.

Unless a critical fire safety measure has been identified, on or by the annual anniversary following the Fire Safety Certificate being issued, an Annual Fire Safety Statement must be prepared and forwarded to Council. A critical fire safety measure is a measure that is of a nature or is located in an environment or circumstances that requires certification at periods of less than 12 months. The critical measures are identified in the Fire Safety Schedule and the intervals at which Supplementary Fire Safety Statements are required (are also nominated in the Schedule). The Annual and Supplementary Fire Safety Statements must certify that a competent fire safety practitioner (CFSP assessor accreditation number) has inspected these measures and the building, finding that

  • that measure is capable of performing to the referenced Standard (this may mean a different CFSP for each measure or if they have the relevant skillset – all measures)
  • The owner of the building must forward copies of the Certificate or Statement and the current fire safety schedule to the NSW Fire & Rescue, and also prominently display them in the isolated exits and doors have appropriate signs on display, and
  • fire exit paths are not impeded or obstructed.

The fire safety certificates and annual fire safety statements can only be signed by the owner or his agent and not by any of the “CFSP” person or persons who conducted any of the assessments.

  1. As the owner of the building, what are my legal responsibilities with respect to essential services?

It is an offence to make a false statement, to fail to submit the certificates within the prescribed time, or to fail to maintain essential fire safety measures. You may be liable under common law if you-

  • do not ensure that the persons that you rely on for inspecting the services are acting within their level of competency, or
  • fail to maintain the essential fire safety measures and it can be shown that this had led to an injury, death or loss.
  1. What about my other legal responsibilities with which NDIBS can assist?

The building owner is responsible for the environment of the occupants and their guests (under WH&S) a number of Acts and regulations prescribe these for most buildings, including:

  • the Public Health Act (maintenance of air handling equipment)
  • the Clean Water Act. (pollution of storm water)
  • the Disability Discrimination Act (access and awareness), and of course
  • the Commonwealth Work Health & Safety Act & Regulations.
  1. Who qualifies the CFSP?
  • Until June 31st 2020 the building owner is deemed responsible in NSW for selection of the CFSP to assess their building but the prudent thing to do is to check the FPAA register of assessors and ensure that they are accredited for your measures.
  • From July 1st 2020, all submissions of AFSS’to regulators in NSW must have been endorsed by a CFSP accredited as an assessor (inspect & test accreditation is unacceptable) who must physically visits each facility to make the assessment.
    At present, assessors only path to accreditation for any measure, is via the FPAS training scheme administered by FPAA.

Who can I contact for assistance?

If you have any queries regarding the matters raised in this Information Sheet, contact NDIBS’ Ian Childs on (02) 9594 4477 / 1300-AS4655[1] or[2]

Revised 20th March 2020

[1] AS4655 is the Australian Standard for the Audit of Fire Safety Systems in Buildings – Our phone number is therefore 1300-274655.

[2] NDIBS have been providing Building Services & Compliance advice to Building Owners & their Managing Agents since 1998

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CFSP Assessor for NSW AFSS’ & SFSS’

Any AFSS of SFSS in NSW submitted after 6th April (now deferred till 1st July 2020) must have the performance of each measure (listed on the FSS and reflected in Section 4 as well as paths of travel in Section 5) attested to by an accredited CFSP Assessor who will be identified and sign-off (in section 6).

There seems to be a whole lot of confusion about who and how the Section 4 and Section 5 & 6 of these forms can be filled out.

A CFSP inspect and test accredited individual is not necessarily a CFSP accredited assessor and those who have only CFSP inspect and test may not be listed in Section 4, 5 or 6 of the form. Only accredited CFSP assessors can be listed in these sections.

The FPAA are the administrators of the CFSP Accreditation and are adamant that the CFSP Assessor must not be reliant upon CFSP inspect and test individuals when doing their assessments, but must physically inspect and assess each site and be able to show what evidence they acquired  to form the view that the measure performed.

The FPAA are required to audit registered CFSP’s and ensure that they are following the correct assessment criteria (physical assessment done and performance evidence records for all measures attested to). Those who don’t follow the required criteria will be disciplined and/or deregistered.

It will simply not be good enough to have a CFSP Assessor on staff in the office signing off on these sections referencing only the inspect & test dockets from that companies inspect and test technicians.

Note that no CFSP listed in Section 6 can be the submitter referenced in Section 7.

The only form that may be used for AFSS’and SFSS’ is that from:



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Crown Exemptions

There is a misconception about those involved in all levels of Government and instrumentalities that they are exempt from having to conform to the Building Code Requirements and ongoing performance of essential services in buildings.

While “Crown/ Prescribed Persons” do have some exemptions regarding shortcuts to development approvals (projects of state significance. There are no exemptions under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act’79, Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, Amended Regulation 2014 or Amended Regulation 2017, for Crown/ Prescribed Persons (such as Public Hospitals, Universities, Local Councils, Utilities, etc.). So there are NO exemptions from those requirements associated with  annually attesting to the performance of all essential fire safety measures to a performance value not less than that of the performance standard of the installed measure when installed. This takes the form of an Annual Fire Safety Statement.

Australian Standards are referred to as minimum best practice and the minimum best practice for the service and repair of fire protection measures is Australian Standard AS1851-2012, emergency lighting & exit signs AS2293.2-1995 (but hopefully soon we’ll see a 2019 version which is sorely needed), emergency lifts servicing to AS1735.2-2001, and standby power systems to AS/NZS3010-2017.

Therefore the minimum best practice for the assessment of performance of these systems is AS4655-2005 Audit of Fire Safety Systems in Buildings. We suggest that there is a need to conduct these audits at a minimum to Level 2 audit routines which requires physical at site assessment as well as (Level 1 audit, which is) review of documentary evidence associated with service & repair.
For complex buildings having performance solutions and /or complex fire interfaced systems, we suggest Level 3 audits which consist of witness testing for the full function interface test.

It is imperative that the AS4655 assessor/ auditor has reasonable knowledge of the EP&AR2000 Div.7, NCC/BCA Vol.1 Part C, D & E (and variances from 1990 version to date), relevant Australian Standards for installed essential services measures (and the variances versions associated with the time of construction), plus the servicing standards. For older buildings earlier building codes such as Ord.70 and associated Ministerial Specifications would be necessary.

AS4655-2005 identifies that such audits need to be independent of the incumbent service providers.

Yes, we are somewhat biased being “independent fire safety assessors” who’s principal has been doing such assessments since AFSS’ were first introduced in NSW in 1987. We are still doing them and continually adding to our knowledge of all essential (fire safety) services as well as other issues associated with building services compliance in buildings.

FIRE ASSESS can be contacted by phone on 1300-AS4655 / 1300-274655 / 02-9594-4477

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Facilities Management & Fire Safety Systems – Ongoing.

ceilingfireOnce fire protection measures are installed in a building, it would be comforting to think that they were simply waiting in case they were needed, at which point they would activate and protect the building and its occupants from the effects of fire. However, as with any machinery or appliance, upkeep is necessary to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Legislation in most States of Australia, (Building Act & regulations) requires fire protection equipment and systems for the safety of persons to be subject to a suitable programme of maintenance and repair (where they apply – current versions of AS1735.2, AS1851, AS2293.2 and AS3510 are deemed minimum best practice). In addition, any negligence or deficiencies of coverage in this area can affect the building fire insurance policies and could result in the insurance being considered invalidated due to these oversights in the case of a fire (this is especially important when occupiers have introduced additional hazards which may overwhelm the base building systems).

As a lack of maintenance of systems designed to protect building occupants may lead to injuries or even fatalities, the potential for individual as well as corporate litigation is significant.

While most States require an Annual Certification pertaining to the performance of such systems, every company or organisation should have a formal inspection schedule, appropriate to the systems and building type, informal inspections are to be encouraged. The inclusion of elementary fire protection awareness in occupant fire training (re AS3745) could mean that small deficiencies are spotted by occupiers as they go about their duties in the building.

It is important also that a system is put in place to enable any reporting from staff in relation to fire safety should be followed up promptly and dealt with appropriately e.g. sticking fire doors, discharged or missing extinguishers, exit directional signs not illuminated, grease dripping from seam in ductwork, etc.

The organisation should compile checklists to be followed at appropriate intervals. For example, facilities managers should conduct inspections and identify observable issues, security checks should include an “issue found” logbook. These checks would include simple tasks such as checking evacuation routes are clear of obstructions and fire escapes are working and not obstructed either inside or outside the building.

While checklists are important to ensure that no important element is neglected, it is also important that not only those considerations listed are followed, but that any changes to the building or systems involved are noted and followed up on.

While active fire protection measures such as fire alarms or sprinkler systems are commonly highlighted as an area requiring regular attention to function correctly, it is also important that passive fire protection measures are considered and understood by any relevant parties. The potential for harm following a new service penetration (through a compartment wall) which has not been appropriately fire-stopped could mean the spread of fire from one area to the next through that vulnerability.


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Competent Fire Safety Practitioner NSW

Engineers Australia
Accreditation Scheme for Competent Fire Safety Practitioners

Engineers Australia’s Society of Building Services Engineers welcomes this scheme by Engineers Australia and looks forward to providing appropriate support.
Ian Childs NSW Chair Soc.Building Services Engineers.

A scheme for approval by Secretary of the Department of Finance Services and Innovation NSW Government

The Proposed Scheme

The scope of the proposed scheme is to be expressed in terms of functions, under the  NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation (regulatory functions), to be performed by the competent fire safety practitioners that EA accredits under the scheme.  The range of regulatory functions, as proposed by NSW Fair Trading, is reproduced at Annex A.  The scheme can also state restrictions.  Restrictions can apply to the scheme as a whole or to individuals accredited under it.

The primary objective is to keep the scheme as simple as possible.

NER is to be the vehicle for the operation of the scheme.  However, it is proposed that the scheme be available only to members of Engineers Australia on NER to simplify rules and processes associated with professional conduct, complaints handling and disciplinary requirements.

In Annex A, NSW Fair Trading sets out four groups of regulatory functions to be covered by accreditation schemes.  No scheme is expected to apply universally to all functions.  Each proponent is expected to define which regulatory functions its scheme applies to and how accreditation is to be managed.  The proponent is to outline its evaluation of competence methodology and to specify the names and positions of personnel involved in the management and operation of the scheme.

Proposed accreditation

A new area of practice on NER, Competent Fire Safety Practitioner, could be added and taken to apply to any, or a combination of, the regulatory functions that are available under the EA accreditation scheme, when taken in conjunction with existing NER area(s) of practice.

For example, NER Fire Safety Engineer taken in conjunction with Competent Fire Safety Practitioner (CSFP) would qualify to endorse a fire safety alternative solution report under Clause 130 and 144A of the EP&A Regulation.  Assessment for the CFSP area of practice would be automatic, based on a declaration that the member was working in the building industry and familiar with the Building Code of Australia.

However, the scheme could provide for other regulatory functions to be carried out by NER Building Services Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Civil Engineers or Structural Engineers.

For example, an Electrical Engineer may wish to endorse plans and specifications for fire detection and alarm systems as a relevant fire safety system under Clause 136AA and 146B of the EP&A Regulation.  To provide such an endorsement, the NER Electrical Engineer would also require to be NER Competent Fire Safety Practitioner.  In this case also, assessment for the CFSP area of practice would be automatic, based on a declaration that the member was working in the building industry and familiar with the Building Code of Australia.

A Competent Fire Safety Practitioner may also endorse non-compliance with BCA standards for minor works to existing relevant fire safety systems under Clause 164B or EP&A Regulation.  Accreditation to perform this regulatory function must assess competence with the BCA and the Australian Standards it calls up as well as relevant fire safety systems.  Members seeking this accreditation are likely to be Professional Engineers, but may also be Engineering Technologists or Engineering Associates within the appropriate specialist sub-discipline or area of practice.

Application to all Occupational Categories

The scheme could quite reasonably be extended to include Engineering Technologists and Engineering Associates who are registered on NER.  Many Engineering Associates work in the plumbing design space that includes fire hydrant systems, fire hose reel systems and the like.  Engineering Associates and Engineering Technologists may also undertake assessment of the performance capability of existing essential fire safety measures (annual fire safety statement) for Division 5 of Part 9 of the EP&A Regulation.

Scoping the EA accreditation scheme

It is proposed to engage with the Society of Fire Safety Engineering and the Society of Building Services Engineering in order to ascertain which regulatory functions are typically performed by their members.  Also, suitable spokespeople from the various College Boards should be consulted about their members’ engagement in such regulatory functions.  The objective of this consultation will be to reduce the list of functions to those typically or potentially performed by our members and to identify the competence required for each function under EA’s proposed scheme.

The scheme will become extremely complex if EA chooses to include restrictions to practice.  The accreditation decision should be “the applicant is competent” or “not yet competent” to perform the regulatory function in question.  Differentiation on the basis of size and complexity of projects, such as in Clause 130 (5) of the EP&A Regulation is considered unwieldly and should be avoided in our scheme.

Accordingly, the major part of scoping the accreditation scheme will involve deciding:

  • Which NER Areas of Practice should be required to endorse plans and specifications for relevant fire safety systems in relation to functions under section 2) in Annex A; and
  • Which NER Areas of Practice should be required to undertake assessment of the performance capability of existing essential fire safety measures (annual fire safety statement) under section 4) of Annex A; and
  • The extent to which previous knowledge and application of the BCA requires to be assessed for accreditation purposes; and
  • The extent to which the accreditation scheme can apply to Engineering Associates and Engineering Technologists registered appropriately on NER.


Consultation along the proposed lines is a matter of urgency and should be conducted by e-mail and telephone during the next week or two at most.


Prepared by
Michael Bevan MA FIEAust CPEng NER
Engineers Australia’s Competency Advisor
22 February 2018



The following list of functions has been compiled by the NSW Department of Fair Trading.  The functions are required to operate the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations (EP&A Regulations) 2000 after the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Fire Safety and Building Certification) Regulation 2017 [NSW] commenced 1 Oct 2017.  Engineers Australia has been invited to submit an accreditation scheme under Clause 167A of the EP&A Regulation.

Functions that may be covered by the EA accreditation scheme include:

  1. Endorse a fire safety alternative solution report –
    (clause 130 and 144A of EP&A Regulation)
  2. Endorse plans and specifications for relevant fire safety systems –
    (clause 136AA and 146B of EP&A Regulation)

    1. A hydraulic fire safety system (as defined in clause 165 of EP&A Regulation):
      1. Fire hydrant system
      2. Fire hose reel system
  • Sprinkler system (including a wall wetting sprinkler or drencher system)
  1. Any type of automatic fire suppression system of a hydraulic nature that is installed in accordance with a requirement of, or under, the Act or any other Act or law
    (EA must specify which systems are covered)
  1. A fire detection and alarm system
    (EA must specify which systems are covered)
  2. A mechanical ducted smoke control system
    (EA must specify which systems are covered)
  1. Endorse non-compliance with Building Code of Australia standards for minor works to existing relevant fire safety systems –
    (clause 164B of EP&A Regulation)
  2. Undertake assessment of the performance capability of existing essential fire safety measures (annual fire safety statement)
    (Division 5 of Part 9 of EP&A Regulation)

    1. Access panels, doors and hoppers to fire-resisting shafts
    2. Automatic fail-safe devices
    3. Automatic fire detection and alarm systems
    4. Automatic fire suppression systems
    5. Emergency lifts
    6. Emergency lighting
    7. Emergency warning and intercommunication systems
    8. Exit signs
    9. Fire control centres and rooms
    10. Fire dampers
    11. Fire doors
    12. Fire hose reel systems
    13. Fire hydrant systems
    14. Fire seals protecting openings in fire-resisting components of the building
    15. Fire shutters
    16. Fire windows
    17. Lightweight construction
    18. Mechanical air handling systems
    19. Perimeter vehicle access for emergency vehicles
    20. Portable fire extinguishers
    21. Safety curtains in proscenium openings
    22. Smoke alarms and heat alarms
    23. Smoke and heat vents
    24. Smoke dampers
    25. Smoke detectors and heat detectors
    26. Smoke doors
    27. Solid core doors
    28. Standby power systems
    29. Wall-wetting sprinkler and drencher systems
    30. Warning and operational signs

Other – Please list:


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Prescriptive format of AFSS & problems

Sent to NSW Planning,

As part of our consultancy business conducting independent fire safety assessments based upon AS4655 We’ve just had a couple of AFSS submissions knocked back by City of Sydney Building Compliance under the regulatory changes for submissions from 1 December 2017, because we did not complete the AFSS form exactly as required (as we didn’t have the owners signature on the form as required in Sect.9).

So I’m making this representation as a representation of our membership and for the sake of others similarly afflicted by your form as we have identified that the prescriptive nature of this form is also impacting upon members of various other associations such as the Property Council of Australia, Institute of Strata Title Management, etc.

Firstly – We’re quite ok with sections 1 to 5 (Type of Statement, Building address, building description, owner & owner’s address, schedule of fire safety measures detailing measure, date assessed, nominated assessor, and minimum performance requirement)

Whilst Section 6 (details of each competent fire safety practitioner/assessor) is partially ok in that CFSP’s are identified, we would be knocked back for the lack of signature (even though we can produce separate supporting service records and / or reports signed by these CFSP assessors – can you remove this mandatory requirement for signatureswe suggest that the CFSP simply be initialled on the AFSS in Sect.5 and named in Sect. 6 but that a referenced document and having the name, contact number, email and signature be acceptable – this would allow CFSP assessors checking a portfolio of buildings to use this one document as a point of reference.

We also approve of the competency matrix example published by NSW Planning and suggest that such a competency matrix would be completed by anyone claiming to be a CFSP, and this be provided to the AFSS Issuer with or as the CFSP signed document.

 If the submitter of the AFSS are required to obtain the signatures on each AFSS and for each CFSP conducting performance tests, as well as the requirement to have the building owner provide signed authorisation on every AFSS form, this shall blow the AFSS preparation costs way out without any enhancement of a delivered complying and performing building.

We’re so far ok with Section 7 (signed AFSS Declaration by issuer) and ask if, on an AFSS (not supplementary), Section 8 be deleted or simply have n/a rather than including the full text as on the form.

Section 9 (owner’s authorisation) is a real problem as regulators such as City of Sydney will not currently accept any attached authorisation letter, stating that Planning’s Form requires each AFSS to have the owner signed authorisation.

We suggest that such a referenced letter should be deemed acceptable and that such a letter nominate:

  • detail the Building owner details to include: building or for a portfolio of buildings (such as City of Sydney owned Property Portfolio),
  • Entity (Building Owner) Name, entity representative, entity representative title,
  • declaration that the entity representative is duly authorised to make this authorisation,
  • the ABN of the entity if applicable, the contact mailing address of the entity, the contact phone number of the entity representative, the email address for the entity,
  • the agent subject to the authorisation, the ABN of the agent, the representative of the agent,
  • the expiry date for the agency agreement whence the authorisation becomes void unless replaced by a new authorisation letter, the signature of the entity representative and date of the authorisation.

We also see Section 11 as a duplication of Section 5. The Regulator (Council) already have a copy of the Fire Safety Schedule of record for the building and usually issue this with their 90-day reminder letters. We simply see no real purpose in requiring as demanded by the AFSS form a separate copy of the FSS as part of the AFSS when Section 5 clearly replicates that same schedule.

Another alternative would be to remove the prescriptive requirements for some of the form content such as is the case with EP&AR2000 cl.181

Note that EPAAR2017 ref to this clause (181) requires the change: A fire safety statement for a building or part of a building must “be made in the form approved by the Secretary and must” contain the following information:

  1. the name and address of the owner of the building or part,
  2. a description of the building or part (including its address)
  3. a list identifying:
    1. each essential fire safety measure in the building or part(for an annual statement),
    2. each critical fire safety measure in the building or part (for a supplementary statement),

together with the minimum standard of performance specified in the relevant fire safety schedule in relation to each such measure,

  1. the date or dates on which the essential fire safety measures were assessed,
  2. The date on which the building or part was inspected,
  3. The type of statement issued (Annual/Supplementary),
  4. A statement to the effect referred to in cl.175 for an Annual or cl.178 for a Supplementary
  5. The date of issue of the statement.

So the real trigger for all of this angst is that we may now only use that PRESCRIPTIVE form as approved by the Secretary for submission after 1st December and all other forms of the AFSS conforming to EP&AR2000 cl.181 such as those previously developed and which were previously in a format approved by the Secretary are now deemed as voided.

Please call with any queries.


Ian Childs | NSW Chair – Society, Building Services Engineers |
Member – Engineers Australia Learned Society Advisory Council

Representative – Standards Australia, Technical Committee ME/62 |


The response received by NSW Planning was that they would give consideration to amendments at a future review.
Most NSW Councils acting as the Planning Regulator’s Agent have recognised the difficulties and are allowing copy of a signed register of incumbent CFSP’s accompanying and referenced the statement, as well as a copy of the letter of authority from the schedule one owner – also referenced in the statement and following the format (but not necessarily the actual form) of the new planning form (Sectional layout and Sectional numbering/ content).
We know of one council (Katoomba) who insists that only the “Form” from Planning can be used.

So still a lot of confusion, misdirection and misinterpretation by these regulators.
The intent of the format of the form was to provide consistency and accountability by the CFSP’s – we agree this is a good thing, but that this NEEDS to be simplified.

So what is a Competent Fire Safety Practitioner (CFSP)?
This is the person who has verified, tested, etc. that the performance of that particular fire safety measure as identified on the fire safety schedule, does in fact meet or exceed the performance specified in that fire safety schedule as defined in EP&AR2000 cl.176(3).

A new clause has been added (CL.167a) regarding recognition of what a competent person shall be and this includes:

  • Those registered with the Building Professionals Board, and
  • a person who has undergone particular training or assessment carried out by a specified professional or industry organisation.

Once these professional/industry schemes are recognised by Government, these individuals can act as CFSP’s for the specific skills that they have been accredited with.

Note that there has always been a requirement to be competent, however, such competency is now being scrutinised and verified.

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