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Building Fire Safety

Cessnock City Council implements the guidelines of relevant NSW legislation to ensure buildings are maintained with appropriate fire safety measures.  Council’s Fire Safety Officer is available to answer questions in relation to fire safety on (02) 4993 4100, Monday Tuesday and Thursday.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, contains a list of statutory fire safety measures that may be installed in a building. The Regulations also specifies the inspection, maintenance and certification requirements of these fire measures. 

Buildings that are used for business, tourist accommodation, commercial or industrial use that have been constructed, renovated or had a change of use since 1988 should be included in Council's Fire Safety Register.

Fire Safety Certificate(s):

Fire Safety Certificates are issued with either a Development Consent or a Construction Certificate, they are required for all new or altered buildings. The certificate must detail each new or altered essential fire safety measure that is present within the building.  This information is detailed in a Fire Safety Schedule that is unique for all buildings.

A copy of a blank Fire Safety Certificate form can be found under Forms 

Essential Fire Safety Measures:

Essential Fire Safety Measures are installed or constructed in buildings to ensure the safety of the buildings occupants in the event of a fire or other emergency.  Some examples include:

  • automatic fire sprinkler systems
  • smoke detection and alarm systems
  • fire extinguishers
  • exit signs
  • emergency lighting
  • fire hose reels
  • fire hydrants
  • fire exits and exit systems

Fire Safety Schedules:

Fire Safety Schedules list the Essential Fire Safety Measures required to be installed and the standard to which they need to be implemented. A Fire Safety Schedule can be issued by:

  • Council or an accredited certifier at the time of issue of a Construction Certificate;
  • Council with a fire safety order; or
  • Council, at the time of development consent, e.g., when works are for a ‘change of use’ to an existing building.  

Annual Fire Safety Statement:

An Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) must be supplied to Council once every 12 months after the initial Fire Safety Certificate is completed. The AFSS certifies that a qualified person has inspected the building and determined that the fire safety measures within the building meet the relevant standards.  

Once the annual statement is complete, it can be lodged with Council by email, post, and fax or in person at the Council’s Administration Building. A copy is also to be provided to The Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW via email afss@fire.nsw.gov.au  

Once Council has received an initial Fire Safety Certificate, Council will send courtesy reminder letters annually to the building owner/s, providing them with details of their property and fire schedule(s) to assist with inspection and certification.

A blank copy of the annual fire statement can be downloaded from forms.

Essential fire safety measures needing repair:  

In circumstances where an annual fire safety statement (AFSS) cannot be submitted because repairs are required, Council may consider postponing weekly penalty infringement notices. If you want Council to consider your case for an extension of time please complete a written request or email outlining the reasons the AFSS will be delayed.  

Failure to submit an Annual Fire Safety Statement:  

Council treats Fire Safety issues seriously. The owner of a building is responsible for ensuring lodgement of an Annual Fire Safety Statement is submitted. An Annual Fire Safety Statement is required to be submitted for occupied, tenanted and vacant buildings. Failure to submit on time may result in:  

  • Incomplete or late Annual Fire Safety Statements may result in a fine.
  • Unsatisfactory statements will be required to be re-submitted to correct inadequacies
  • On-the-spot fines can be imposed against the owner for 'Failure to provide an Annual/Supplementary Fire Safety Statement'. See penalty amounts below.
  • The issue of a fine does not excuse the need to lodge a complete Annual Fire Safety Statement.
  • Failure to meet your statutory requirement will result in Council taking legal action against you, in the form of an Order, and/or the continued issue of on-the-spot fines.
  • 'Failure to maintain essential Fire Safety Measures' (which is a separate offence) can also result in a fine. The penalty in this instance is no less than $1,500.00 and council will impose this as necessary.

Penalties:  

It is an offence to fail to provide an Annual Fire Safety Statement. Substantial and continuing weekly penalty notices apply for this offence. Penalty rates are as follows:  

  • 1 week late, no less than $1000
  • 2 weeks late, no less than an additional $2000
  • 3 weeks late, no less than an additional $3000
  • 4 weeks late, no less than an additional $4000.  

Failure to submit an annual fire safety statement could also lead to legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court, where the maximum penalty for a breach is no less than $110,000.

Other Links:  

For other information on Fire Safety, including smoke alarms, home evacuation plans, winter fire safety at home and fact sheets, please refer to the NSW Fire Brigade web site and for more information on legislation refer to the Department of Planning.

Bushfire Protection

 This document, Planning for Bushfire Protection, has been developed by the NSW Rural Fire Service in close consultation and collaboration with Planning NSW.

This document is intended for use by councils, fire authorities, developers, planning consultants, building practitioners (including accredited certifiers), and home owners. It provides the necessary planning considerations when developing in bushfire prone areas.

A list of Certified Consultants recognised by the Rural Fire Service as proficient in bushfire protection can be found at www.fpaa.com.au.  

Guidelines for Single Dwelling Development Applications and Guidelines for Subdivision Applications

Click on the links below to view the documents.

For more information please open the Rural Fire Service Information.