Building fire safety
Along with Fire and Rescue NSW, Council is a responsible for ensuring building owners have installed and maintained fire safety measures relevant to their building.
Fire Safety Certificates
A Fire Safety Certificate is the first step towards achieving fire safety compliance for your building.
The certificate is required for all new or altered buildings. It must include details of each new or altered essential fire safety measure in line with the Fire Safety Schedule. The Fire Safety Schedule is issued with either a Development Consent, Construction Certificate or Fire Order.
Annual Fire Safety Statement
The Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) certifies that an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) has:
- inspected the building
- determined that the fire safety measures within the building meet the relevant standards
All fire safety measures are required to be assessed by an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) to meet legislative requirements. A full listing of all accredited practitioners can be found here.
An AFSS must be submitted to Cessnock City Council on an annual basis after the initial Fire Safety Certificate is issued. Council will send the building owner two courtesy reminder letters on the following schedule:
- 3 months prior to the due date
- 14 days prior to the due date
Once the annual statement is complete, it should be lodged with Council by email, post, fax or in person with our customer service team.
A copy should also be provided to The Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW via https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/afsssubmission - please note the following Fees & Charges(PDF, 2MB) apply.
It's important to note that the building owner is responsible for ensuring the statement is lodged on time. It's an offence to fail to provide an Annual Fire Safety Statement, and the following penalties will apply:
- 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 lead to legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court, where the maximum penalty for a breach is $110,000.
Should an extension of time (Stay of Infringement) be required, please submit a written request to Council prior to the due date.
For information on the AFSS, please see this FAQ and Guide.
A fire safety measure includes any installations, equipment, or features of construction required to ensure the safety of a building occupants in the event of a fire or other emergency, such as:
- exit signs
- portable fire extinguishers
- emergency lighting
- fire hose reels
- smoke detection and alarm systems
Fire Safety Schedules list the installation measures and implementation standards required to achieve fire safety in a specific building. A Fire Safety Schedule can be issued by Council in the following circumstances:
- At the time of issuing a Construction Certificate
- With a fire safety order
- At the time of development consent (e.g. when works are for a ‘change of use’ to an existing building)
For more information on fire safety including smoke alarms, home evacuation plans, winter fire safety at home and fact sheets, please refer to NSW Fire and Rescue.
For more information on fire safety legislation, please refer to the Department of Planning website.