Fire safety

You can reduce the risk of fire by being prepared. Find out about smoke alarms, essential fire safety measures, fire certificates and statements.

Refer to Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and Regulations for specific requirements.

Smoke alarms

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.

What type of smoke alarms should be used?

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.

Where should you install the smoke alarms?

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.

Fire safety measures

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. 

What are fire safety measures?

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.

When is a building subject to fire safety measure requirements?

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

Boarding houses

Public assembly buildings

Commercial buildings

Residential flat buildings

Health care buildings

Serviced apartments

Hotels and licensed premises

Shops and restaurants

Industrial buildings

Tourist accommodation

Office buildings

Townhouse developments

Places of public entertainment

Warehouses

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

What happens with fire safety measures for new buildings and or a 'change of use' for existing buildings?

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.

Fire safety certificate and statements

After submission of the initial Fire Safety Certificate, the building owner must arrange for all the fire safety measures to be certified annually and a Fire Safety Statement be provided to Council.

What is a fire safety certificate

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.

How do I submit a Fire Safety Certificate?

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.

To submit, please complete the Fire Safety Certificate and return to Council either by post to PO Box 220, Maitland NSW 2320 or email info@maitland.nsw.gov.au

A copy is to be forwarded to the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW at afss@fire.nsw.gov.au

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. 

What is an annual Fire Safety Statement

A 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.

How do I submit an Annual Fire Safety Statement?

To submit, please complete the Annual Fire Safety Statement and return either by post to PO Box 220, Maitland NSW 2320 or email info@maitland.nsw.gov.au

The statement must be submitted to Council within 12 months after the date on which an AFSS was previously given otherwise strict penalties apply.

A copy is to be forwarded to the Commissioner for Fire & Rescue NSW at afss@fire.nsw.gov.au

The property owner must also ensure a copy is prominently displayed within the building. 

What happens if I do not submit an Annual Fire Safety Statement?

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)

  • $500 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.
  • $1,000 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.
  • $1,500 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.
  • $2,000 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.