NSW Department of Customer Service

The NSW Government is introducing reforms to the State’s fire safety regulations to improve compliance with fire safety measures and reduce the number of fire safety defects in buildings.

Acting NSW Fair Trading Commissioner John Tansey said the amendments to the regulations were developed following consultation with industry groups such as fire practitioners, certifiers, strata and building managers, local government and regulators and the general public.

“The reforms have been designed to improve safety and reduce the risk of damage to property,” Mr Tansey said.

“Further, it will also improve compliance with regulations covering the design, certification and maintenance of fire safety measures in buildings.

“Owners, and ultimately residents, also benefit by having fewer fire safety defects in their buildings.”

NSW Fair Trading audit data and strata research showed fire safety systems were the second most common category of defect in residential apartment buildings.

The changes to the regulations included broadened requirements to consult with Fire and Rescue NSW on new developments and the mandatory use of templates when completing documents such as Fire Safety Schedules.

There are also mandated standards for building owners to maintain fire safety measures such as equipment and systems used for the suppression and containment of fires and to help residents and occupants to evacuate if there is a fire.

Developers would be required to use an accredited person to assess these fire safety measures.

There will be a staggered introduction to these reforms in the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 for industry and property owners to familiarise themselves with the changes.

The Department of Customer Service is preparing plain English explanations of the changes for publication in early 2023.

To read the Improving Fire Safety Report commissioned by the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner, visit www.nsw.gov.au/building-commissioner/building-and-construction-resources/research-on-fire-safety-reforms.

/Public Release.