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Fire safety reforms to be implemented across NSW are set to affect building owners, developers and the construction industry from April 2020.
Kevin Anderson, NSW minister for better regulation, has advised that only persons who are accredited as competent fire safety practitioners under the Fire Protection Association Australia Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme will be authorised to endorse plans and specifications of fire safety systems in the state.
Functions that will be required to be undertaken by a competent fire safety practitioner include the annual assessment of essential fire safety measures and the annual inspection of fire exits and paths of travel to fire exits.
Accredited persons will also be the only individuals able to endorse plans and specifications for the installation or modification of hose reels, hydrants, sprinkler systems, fire detection and alarm systems to comply with the Building Code of Australia.
The only alternative to obtaining the endorsement of the plans and specifications from a competent fire safety practitioner will be to obtain a compliance certificate from an accredited certifier.
Mr Anderson said the change would strengthen the state’s building regulation and certification industry by improving the quality of checks made.
“Assessing performance of essential fire safety measures should be completed by a trained and competent fire safety professional, according to a transparent accreditation system,” he commented.
The minister noted that the state government will be working to simplify the co-regulatory framework that sees industry associations helping to accredit individuals “to ensure that construction can continue, but not at the expense of safety”.