Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) - Ensuring Fire Safety Compliance

NSW Government implemented changes to fire safety compliance which took effect from the first of July 2020. This new legislation requires building owners to engage an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) to do a comprehensive evaluation of the Critical Fire Safety Measures in their building. This is to ensure your fire safety equipment meets the performance requirements of the initial installation. This requires a far greater level of expertise and more rigorous assessment than a routine fire safety inspection and testing.

We understand many building owners are confused about the requirements and unsure if they are compliant or not. We are here to help you understand the basics of AFSS certification and why it is essential for safeguarding lives and properties. Below is a clear overview of AFSS, annual fire safety inspections and annual fire safety certificates, empowering you to meet the necessary standards, avoid costly fines and maintain a fire-safe environment.

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What is an Annual Fire Safety Statement?

An Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) is a legal document that certifies a building's compliance with fire safety regulations and standards. It serves as proof that the necessary fire safety measures have been implemented, inspected, and maintained in accordance with the requirements. Since 1st July 2020, building owners are required to engage an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the Essential Fire Safety Measures (EFSM) in their building.

The Role of an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety)

Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety)s play a vital role in the AFSS process. We are experts in assessing fire safety systems and equipment, ensuring they meet the performance requirements of the initial installation. Our responsibilities include:

  • Reviewing and comparing routine service records: We review service records to make sure the Essential Fire Safety Measures are compliant and operational and make sure any defects or issues have been fixed.
  • Verifying system functionality and operation: We check the system connections are working properly and ensure they meet the safety requirements outlined in the Australian Standards, National Construction Code, and legislation.
  • Conducting visual inspections: A thorough visual inspection is conducted to identify any non-compliant alterations or compromises to the Essential Fire Safety Measures within the last 12 months.
  • Assessing performance test results: We review and verify performance test results obtained through routine service, ensuring compliance with AS 1851-2012 or other relevant methodologies.
  • Inspecting signage and means of egress: We inspect signage, means of egress, exits, exit doors, and discharge from exits, ensuring they meet the necessary safety requirements.
  • Providing an assessment report and declaration: We prepare a detailed assessment report outlining the conducted assessment, findings, and recommendations. A declaration is prepared for each Essential Fire Safety Measure endorsing or not endorsing its compliance.
  • Endorsing the assessment for the AFSS: The final step is for us to endorse the assessment, which is included in the Annual or Supplementary Fire Safety Statement..

Why AFSS Certification Matters

AFSS certification is essential for several reasons:

  1. Legal compliance: It is a legal requirement for building owners to submit an AFSS to demonstrate compliance with fire safety regulations. You can be fined if your AFSS certification requirement is not met.
  2. Safety assurance: AFSS certification ensures that the fire safety measures in the building have been inspected and maintained to the required standards, minimising the risk of fire-related incidents.
  3. Occupant protection: By obtaining AFSS certification, property owners prioritise the safety and well-being of occupants, providing them with a fire-safe environment.

How to Obtain AFSS Certification

To obtain AFSS certification, simply fill out the form below or give us a call to speak to a Fire Safety Specialist and book an inspection. We will conduct a thorough assessment of the Essential Fire Safety Measures in your building, ensuring compliance with regulations and standards so you have peace of mind.

Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) FAQs:

Q1: Who is responsible for submitting the Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS)?
A: The building owner and/or its agent is typically responsible for submitting the AFSS.

Q2: What is the deadline for submitting the AFSS?
A: In New South Wales, the AFSS must be submitted to your local council and NSW Fire Rescue within 12 months after the previous statement was submitted.

Q3: Can I complete the Annual Fire Safety Statement myself?
A: No, since 1st July 2020, building owners are required to engage an Accredited Practitioner to conduct an assessment and endorse the AFSS prior to submission.

Q4: What happens if I fail to submit the AFSS on time?
A: Failure to submit the AFSS by the deadline may result in penalties or fines of up to $4,000. Councils may impose fines such as the following: 
$1000 for the first week overdue
$2000 for the second week overdue
$3000 for the third week overdue
$4000 for the fourth and any subsequent week overdue

It's crucial to comply with the submission requirements to avoid any legal consequences. If you have any concerns about your compliance or deadlines, please reach out and we can help.

Q5: What is the role of an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety)?
A: An Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) (such as Total Fire) conducts a comprehensive assessment of the Essential Fire Safety Measures in your building to ensure compliance with regulations and standards. We provide a detailed assessment report and endorse the AFSS confirming your compliance with required standards.

Q6: How often should fire safety inspections be conducted?
A: Routine fire safety inspections should be conducted as per the guidelines outlined in the Australian Standard AS 1851-2012. The frequency may vary depending on the specific fire safety measures in the building. Please contact us to get a fire safety maintenance schedule for your specific needs.

Q7: Are there any specific qualifications or accreditations required for an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety)?
A: Yes, an Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) must hold the necessary qualifications and accreditations as mandated by the relevant authorities, such as being listed on the FPAS Fire Safety Assessment Accredited Practitioner Register. Total Fire Solutions is fully accredited, and our technicians are experts at these assessments.

Q8: Can I change my Accredited Practitioner (Fire Safety) during the AFSS process?
A: Yes, it is possible to change your Accredited Practitioner if necessary. However, it's important to ensure a smooth transition and to inform the authorities about the change. If you have a current provider and wish to change, let us know and we can help with this transition.

Q9: Is the AFSS required for all types of buildings?
A: The requirement for an AFSS may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of building. Simply get in touch and we can help determine your individual requirements to ensure you are compliant.  

Q10: What happens if the Essential Fire Safety Measures are found to be non-compliant?
A: If non-compliance is identified during the assessment, we will provide recommendations and work with you to rectify the issues and bring the building up to the required standards.

Q11: How much does an Annual Fire Safety Assessment (AFSS) cost?
A: The AFSS is not a ‘set’ fee. Completing the steps in section 2 and ensuring you are not penalised for non-compliance relies on a variety of factors. At Total Fire Solutions we offer finance options. To find out more and get an accurate quote, contact us.

Need help getting compliant with your Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS)?

Fill out the form below and one of our fire safety experts will be in touch. 

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