An important update regarding the Updated NSW Annual Fire Safety Statement Template and Extension of Time Requests, 2021.

From 1st March 2021, an updated AFSS document – version 3.1 must be used. It can be found at: https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Buildings/Fire-safety-in-buildings/Fire-safety-certification

Providing Annual Fire Safety Statements have been being assessed in accordance with FPA Australia & SCA (NSW) guidance published in early 2020; changes to strata operations are likely limited to document version and terminology.

If your fire practitioner continued to sign as the agent or owner, some operational adjustment may be required.

Key changes:

  1. NSW Government made a last-minute alteration to the naming of the fire safety practitioner’s.  The names are, for all intents and purposes, interchangeable; however, only one is now to be used:
    1. Version 3.0 required a Competent Fire Safety Practitioner or “CFSP”.
    2. Version 3.1 requires an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) or “APFS”.
  1. Version 3.1 outlines in the notes who may (or may not) sign each section (summarised):
    1. Section 7 – Person Issuing this Statement: “The person issuing this statement must not be an APFS who is listed in section 6 or their employer/ employee or direct associate.
    2. Section 8 – Annual Fire Safety Statement Declaration: “The person who issues the statement by completing section 8 or 9 must not be an APFS who was involved in assessment of the building for the purposes of this statement or their employer/ employee or direct associate.

Further info:

In earlier SCA (NSW) presentations, some resistance to signing ‘owner’ or ‘agent’ sections was raised due to professional indemnity risk.

While individual, professional advice must be obtained; strata managers & their advisors should note that both version 3.0 & 3.1 of the AFSS require you state that “the essential fire safety measure……has been assessed by an accredited practitioner”.

This is distinctly different from earlier versions requiring you to state it was assessed by a “competent person” – for which there was no legal definition.

There is now a definition for an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) and it is legislated by NSW Govt. with the list published here: https://connect.fpaa.com.au/Shared_Content/FPAS_Register/FPAS_Register_Search.aspx

Each APFS must hold Professional Indemnity Insurance, sign a Code of Practice, and be on a pathway to qualified status.  The risk to strata managers in signing they engaged an APFS should largely be limited to checking that individual is accredited for each category on the list.