The Roll of the Competent Fire Safety Practitioner (CFSP)
The competent fire safety practitioner is a new term created in the Environmental
Planning and Assessment Act Amendment. A competent person must hold a qualification in order to conduct specific tasks. One part of the reform is to develop a method of accreditation to ensure that individuals are qualified to conduct tasks such as regular fire safety assessments and inspections.
According to EP&A Regulation requirements a CFSP will be responsible for the following:
Preparing and endorsing fire safety alternative solution reports – Clauses 130, 134 & 144A;
Endorsing plans and specifications for new or upgraded fire systems – Clause 136AA;
Endorsing exemptions to the current Building Code of Australia for minor works to existing relevant fire safety systems – Clause 146B;
Undertaking the annual fire safety statement assessments in buildings – Clauses 167(4)(b) & 175(a);
Undertaking the Division 7 Inspection for the annual fire safety statement in buildings – Clause 175(b);
Endorsing the Annual Fire Safety Statement prior to be issued to council – Clause 181(j);
How to Become a Competent Fire Safety Practitioner
Due to the reforms in New South Wales, anyone engaging in design work for fire safety systems or preparing annual fire safety statements is required to be recognized as a competent fire safety practitioner. In order to receive the designation, it is necessary to be accredited through an approved industry organization as determined by the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. Currently the Fire Protection Association Australia offers accreditation classes in Fire System Design, Fire System Certification and Fire Safety Assessor.
Why You Need a Competent Fire Safety Practitioner
In the wake of previous tragedies and to prevent future tragedies a set of reforms was
necessary. Having individuals who meet a standard set of qualifications to uphold these reforms ensures that the standard will be met. Making accreditation necessary for qualification ensures that these individuals meet the necessary standard.
New South Wales’ reforms to building standards are a necessary and important step in ensuring public safety. Developing an accreditation system for individuals to perform the routine assessments and assist in developing fire safety systems ensures that a standard for public safety is set and maintained.
Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety and Building Certification) Regulation 2000 (amended 2017)
The following extracts are taken from the current EP&A Regulation 2000:
Clause 130 (5) & 114A(3) – Alternative Solution Reports:
A person has the qualifications required by this clause if:
(a) the person is a competent fire safety practitioner who is also a fire safety engineer and the report is about an alternative solution under the Building Code of Australia in respect of the requirements set out in EP1.4, EP2.1, EP2.2, DP4 and DP5 in Volume 1 for:
(i) a class 9a building, as defined in the Building Code of Australia, that is proposed to have a total floor area of 2,000 square metres or more, or
(ii) any building (other than a class 9a building so defined) that is proposed to have a fire compartment, as defined in the Building Code of Australia, with a total floor area of more than 2,000 square metres, or
(iii) any building (other than a class 9a building so defined) that is proposed to have a total floor area of more than 6,000 square metres, or
(b) the person is a competent fire safety practitioner, in the case of any other report.
Clause 134 - Form of complying development certificate:
(f1) the following details of any alternative solution report about the building work that is required to be obtained or provided under clause 130 (2A):
(i) the title of the report;
(ii) the date on which the report was made;
(iii) the reference number and version number of the report;
(iv) the name of the competent fire safety practitioner who prepared the report or on whose behalf the report was prepared;
(v) if the competent fire safety practitioner who prepared the report or on whose behalf the report was prepared is an accredited certifier — the accreditation number of that practitioner.
Clause 136AA - Condition relating to fire safety systems in class 2–9 buildings:-
Where new or amended fire services are being proposed;
(c) those plans and specifications:
(i) have been certified by a compliance certificate referred to in section 109C (1) (a) of the Act as complying with the relevant provisions of the Building Code of Australia, or
(ii) unless they are subject to an exemption under clause 164B, have been endorsed by a competent fire safety practitioner as complying with the relevant provisions of the Building Code of Australia.
Clause 167A - Competent Fire Safety Practitioners
(1) The Secretary may, by order published in the Gazette, recognize a class of persons as competent fire safety practitioners for the purpose of one or more provisions of this Regulation.
(2) Without limiting the classes of persons who may include:
(a) a class of person holding a specified category of certificate of accreditation under the Building Professionals Act 2005, or
(b) a class of persons holding a specified category of certificate of accreditation under the Building Professionals Act 2005 and having some other characteristic or qualification, or
(c) class of persons who have undergone particular training or assessment carried out by a specified professional organization or body or an industry organization or body.
Clause 175 - What is an annual fire safety statement?
An annual fire safety statement is a statement issued by or on behalf of the owner of a building to the effect that:
(b) the building has been inspected by a competent fire safety practitioner and was found, when it was inspected, to be in a condition that did not disclose any grounds for a prosecution under Division 7.
Clause 181 - Form of fire safety statements:
(1) A fire safety statement for a building or part of a building must be made in the form approved by the Secretary and must contain the following information:
(j) the name and contact details of the competent fire safety practitioner who endorsed the statement.
Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety and Building Certification) Regulation 2017. Retrieved from http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/~/media/Files/DPE/Other/fire-safety-and-building-certification-regulation-environmental-planning-assessment-amendment-2017.ashx. Accessed on 18/10/2017
FSD Consultancy. Why you need a Competent Fire Safety Practitioner. Retrieved from https://firesystemdesign.com.au/competent-fire-safety-practitioner/need-competent-fire-safety-practitioner. Accessed on 18/10/2017