If you own a building in NSW that has essential fire safety measures installed, you need to comply with the annual fire safety statement (AFSS) requirements. An AFSS is a legal document that certifies that your fire protection systems including fire sprinklers, smoke alarms, fire doors, emergency lighting etc., are working properly and meet the relevant standards. Failing to submit an AFSS on time can result in fines of up to $4,000 and legal action.
What is an annual fire safety statement (AFSS)?
An AFSS is a statement issued by or on behalf of the building owner that confirms that:
– each essential fire safety measure has been assessed by an accredited practitioner (fire safety) and found to be capable of performing to the required standard. Or simpler, it all works, and is all signed off by the right people.
– the building has been inspected by an accredited practitioner (fire safety) and was found to be in a condition that did not disclose any grounds for a prosecution under Division 7 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021 (EP&A Reg.). In other words, your building was inspected and all in order.
You need an up to date AFSS every year which includes all the essential fire safety measures and equipment that apply to your building. If you have any critical fire safety measures that require more frequent inspections like fire dampers, smoke detectors etc, you also need to issue a supplementary fire safety statement for those.
Thankfully, the NSW Planning, Industry and Environment website provides the standard AFSS form, just remember it must be filled out by an accredited practitioner. You must provide a copy of your AFSS and your current fire safety schedule to the Fire Commissioner (i.e. Fire and Rescue NSW) and your local council as soon as possible after issuing it. You must also display a copy of your AFSS and your current fire safety schedule prominently in your building.
Why do you need an annual fire safety statement (AFSS)?
There are two reasons you need an AFSS. Firstly, it’s a legal requirement. Secondly, it is a way to ensure the safety of your building occupants, visitors, customers, and staff.
By having your fire safety measures assessed by an accredited practitioner (fire safety), you can:
– prevent or minimise the risk of fire outbreaks and spread
– facilitate safe evacuation in case of emergency
– protect your property and assets from fire damage
– avoid potential liability claims and lawsuits
– comply with your insurance policy requirements
An AFSS also demonstrates your commitment to fire safety and helps you maintain a good reputation with your stakeholders.
How much does an annual fire safety statement cost?
The cost of an AFSS depends on several factors, such as:
– the size and complexity of your building
– the number and type of fire safety measures installed
– the frequency and scope of inspection and testing required
– the qualifications and experience of the accredited practitioner (fire safety) you hire
According to some estimates, the average cost of an AFSS ranges from $500 to $1500 per building. However, this is only a rough guide and may vary significantly depending on your specific circumstances.
To get an accurate quote for your AFSS, you should contact a reputable and certified fire protection specialist company that can provide you with a comprehensive service tailored to your needs.
Who can issue an annual fire safety statement (AFSS)?
An AFSS can only be issued by or on behalf of the building owner. However, there’s nothing DIY about it. It’s not like you just pop down and buy a fire extinguisher from Bunnings, fill out the form and expect to comply with Australian standards. The owner must engage an accredited practitioner (fire safety) who is qualified to assess each fire safety measure in the building.
An accredited practitioner (fire safety) is a person who has been accredited by an approved accreditation authority under the NSW Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) and is recognised by the Minister for Fair Trading and the Minister for Planning.
The FPAS has two categories of accreditation for practitioners who can issue an AFSS:
– Fire Safety Assessment (FSA): This category covers practitioners who can assess all types of essential fire safety measures except for critical ones.
– Fire Systems Design (FSD): This category covers practitioners who can assess all types of essential fire safety measures including critical ones.
The bottom line
Don’t risk your safety or compliance. Ensure you contact an accredited provider of fire protection services to facilitate your annual fire safety statement for peace of mind for you, your employees and stakeholders.