When it comes to fire safety, you’re not expected to be an expert; that’s our job. But, when you own or manage a business or property, it’s important that you understand your obligations in order to remain compliant.

A key aspect of fire safety compliance is your Annual Fire Safety Statement. To help you out, here are the answers to some of our AFSS frequently asked questions:

What is an AFSS?
An Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) is a declaration from the building owner that the fire safety measures that apply to a building have been checked and continue to perform to the relevant standard. It is a statement that declares the building owner/manager has had an accredited fire safety practitioner inspect the building’s fire systems and that they have been verified as compliant. 

Do I need an AFSS?
Your local council may request an AFSS from you. You may also require an AFSS for WHS or insurance purposes. It is your legal obligation to ensure the safety of your tenants and or employees. Having your property certified indicates that in the event of a fire, all fire protection equipment on site will work effectively and can be used to minimise damage to your property. Even if the local council has not requested an AFSS, we would still strongly advise that you have us undertake all scheduled maintenance of the equipment on your property. We can supply a condition report for all compliant equipment to you free of charge on completion of required works and receipt of payment.

What’s involved in endorsing an AFSS?
An AFSS can only be endorsed by an accredited fire safety practitioner to ensure compliance with relevant performance standards. This means the fire safety assessor conducts the assessment and inspection on-site or at the property. This will involve testing and inspecting each necessary fire safety measure, including exit signs, safety equipment and fire systems. The time this takes varies depending on the size of the building and the level of testing required.

Can I get an AFSS before repairs are completed?

Any defects where the fire safety measures don’t meet the minimum performance standard must be rectified before the AFSS can be endorsed/issued. It’s vital to remember that a fire won’t choose not to spread through a building because there is an ‘intention’ to rectify the fire system

Who issues the AFSS?
An accredited fire safety practitioner must endorse the AFSS; however, the regulation requires that the fire safety statement be issued by or on behalf of the owner. A building owner could be an individual, a company or an owners’ corporation. Where a person acting as an agent issues the statement on behalf of the owners, they need to have appropriate prior authority from the owners to do so. An agent may include a strata manager, an executive committee of an owners’ corporation, an authorised employee of the company that owns the property, the executor of a deceased estate or another person appointed to manage the affairs of the building owner. In the case of a building with multiple owners, one owner may issue the statement. However, each of the other owners must authorise the owner who issues the statement to act as their agent.

We hope this guide has helped clear up some of the most common AFSS frequently asked questions. To discuss your AFSS requirements or to book your AFSS certification, contact us today on (02) 8669 9100.