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Steps to improve fire safety in NSW

The NSW government has released a report that provides recommendations on how to improve fire safety in new and existing buildings.

The project was commissioned by the Office of the Building Commissioner to draw upon specialist industry expertise to identify practical measures the NSW government could take to help improve fire safety in class 2 residential buildings.

“While there have been a range of reforms to improve fire safety,” the report reads, “there remains room for improvement. Serious defects in fire safety systems are the second most common defect identified by inspections of class 2 buildings undertaken under Fair Trading’s occupation certificate (OC) audit program, arising in around 46 per cent of buildings. Also, recently published research found serious fire-related defects were in around 14 per cent of strata buildings completed in the last six years.”

The project working group included fire safety, property, building and construction practitioners with expert legislative and technical knowledge. They identified three areas of focus:

  • Providing building owners and industry practitioners clear information on how to manage and maintain fire safety systems by producing a template building manual
  • Outlining the roles, experience and qualifications of fire safety practitioners throughout the building life-cycle (design, construct, maintain) to increase awareness and provide an evidence base to inform reform discussions
  • Identify ways to enhance the trustworthiness of Fire Safety Schedules, Fire Safety Certificates and Annual Fire Safety Statements given their critical role in ensuring that fire safety systems are appropriately installed and maintained.

After investigating these issues over a nine-month period, the working group offered four recommendations to help improve fire safety:

  1. Establish a customer-facing building manual
  2. Ensure the effective regulation of fire safety practitioners
  3. Enhance the trustworthiness of Fire Safety Schedules, Fire Safety Certificates and Annual Fire Safety Statements
  4. More effective regulatory and compliance action.

To read the report, click here.

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