All residential dwellings, townhouses, units, apartments, flats, places of shared accommodation, moveable dwellings, holiday vans or park van annexes must have smoke alarms installed in appropriate locations under Division 7A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation.
All smoke alarms must comply with Australian Standard AS3786-1993 and can either be a:
- battery operated smoke alarm (ionisation or photoelectric types), with a hush button
- hardwired 240 Volts smoke alarm with battery backup (ionisation or photoelectric types).
A licensed electrician must install hardwired smoke alarms, which can also be interlinked together, so that they sound together.
Please note: Dwellings, alterations, and additions built since 1993 must have hardwired smoke alarms to comply with the Building Code of Australia.
The number of smoke alarms required will depend on the size and layout of each particular dwelling whilst the location will depend on the different class types of the dwellings. Details on the installation position requirements for your dwelling can be found at NSW Planning & Environment.
Care should always be taken to ensure that smoke alarms are not installed in areas of dead-air.
Please note: A penalty infringement notice is applicable if no smoke alarm is installed within the premises or moveable dwelling. It is also an offence to interfere with or remove a smoke alarm unless it is for the purpose of maintenance or replacement of the smoke alarm.
It is the responsibility of all building owners to protect their building and occupants in the event of a fire through maintenance and certification of fire safety measures.
It is recommended that you read the NSW Planning and Environment Fact sheet for owners - Building Fire Safety Regulation
Where fire safety measures are required, the owner of the building is responsible for issuing a fire safety statement, so it is important that you understand what your responsibilities are and the need to engage competent fire safety practitioner to undertake the assessments and inspections of the property. For further information read:
- NSW Planning and Environment - Selecting a competent fire safety practitioner - Guide for building owners
- NSW Planning and Environment - Competent fire safety practitioners - Guide for building certifiers
It is essential that fire safety measures and systems are installed and maintained under the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (the EP&A Regulation). It is the building owner’s responsibility to maintain each essential fire safety measure installed in the premises, whether the building is occupied or vacant.
You can find a list of the statutory fire safety measures in the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000.
Please note: other essential fire safety measures may be listed for your building/premises depending on whether alternate solutions have been considered as part of the construction of the building or premise. These will be listed on the Fire Safety Schedule issued with your development approval (DA), construction certificate (CC), complying development certificate (CDC) or fire safety order.
Under the provisions of Section 177 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000, the owner of a building that is classified as 1b to class 9 under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) are subject to the essential fire safety measure requirements and must submit a Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) annually.
|Class 1b to Class 9 buildings|
Aged care buildings
Places of shared accommodation
Public assembly buildings
Residential flat buildings
Health care buildings
Hotels and licensed premises
Shops and restaurants
Places of public entertainment
If you are not sure whether you need to provide information on essential fire safety measures or what classification your building is under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) you should contact Council's Duty Building Surveyor (available 8.30am to 12.30pm, Monday to Friday) on 02 4934 9700.
Where a new building is proposed, or a change of use of an existing building is proposed, a Fire Safety Schedule must be issued which specifies the fire safety measures (both current and proposed) that are to be implemented in the building. The extent of the required fire safety measures to be implemented in the building are to be assessed by a suitably qualified person/company.
Where a new building has been completed, and prior to issue of an Occupation Certificate, or prior to the occupation of a building that is the subject of a change of use, a fire safety certificate must be provided in accordance with sections 170 and 171 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000. The fire safety certificate shall confirm each required fire safety measure identified in the fire safety schedule is capable of performing to the standard identified.
For further information on fire safety and matters concerning the Building Code of Australia refer to Part 9 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.
A fire safety certificate is a type of certificate submitted by, or on behalf of, the building owner which in effect certifies that the specified essential fire safety measures have been installed, tested and verified by a properly qualified person. A fire safety certificate must be certified in accordance with the relevant Building Code of Australia requirements and Australian Standards, prior to the occupation of the building.
The assessment of the fire safety measures must be carried out within a three month period prior to the date on which the final fire safety certificate is issued.
Building owners are required to issue a fire safety certificate in the form approved by the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment. This form can be downloaded from the NSW Planning & Environment website for completion then returned to Council either by post to PO Box 220, Maitland NSW 2320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
An electronic copy is to be forwarded to the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW at email@example.com
The property owner must also ensure a copy of either the interim or final fire safety certificate, together with a current copy of the Fire Safety Schedule, is prominently displayed within the building.
An annual fire safety statement certifies that the essential fire safety measures have been tested, are currently operational and have been maintained in accordance with the relevant requirements and standards. Building owners need to be aware of the date on which the fire safety statement must be submitted to Council to enable the necessary arrangements to be made for the fire safety measures to be inspected and certified prior to the due date.
Building owners are required to issue an annual fire safety statement in the form approved by the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment. This form can be downloaded from the NSW Planning & Environment website for completion then returned to Council either by post to PO Box 220, Maitland NSW 2320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
An electronic copy is to be forwarded to the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW at email@example.com
The property owner must also ensure a copy is prominently displayed within the building.
Failure to give an Annual Fire Safety Statement to Council within the time frame described constitutes a separate offence for each week beyond the expiry of that time for which the failure continues.
The legislation provides the following penalties: (Schedule 5, Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000)
- $1,000 for the offence of failing to give an Annual Fire Safety Statement that occurs during the first week after the time for giving the statement expires.
- $2,000 for the offence of failing to give an Annual Fire Safety Statement that occurs during the second week after the time for giving the statement expires.
- $3,000 for the offence of failing to give an annual fire safety statement that occurs during the third week after the time for giving the statement expires.
- $4,000 for the offence of failing to give an annual fire safety statement that occurs during the fourth or any subsequent week after the time for giving the statement expires.