Fire Orders: What You Need To Know To Stay Compliant

Old vs. New Fire Safety Standards:

In a perfect world, every building would have simple regulations and requirements and understanding your obligations and responsibilities would be a breeze, but unfortunately it can be a bit of a minefield working out what fire safety standards you do and don’t have to meet to remain compliant. 

As a general rule, a building is only required to sign off to the standards that were current when the building was originally constructed. This prevents the need for significant structural changes and costs for old buildings trying to meet modern standards and is generally the fairest approach. 

Consider this, if an elerdly person and a young person were to take a fitness test, there would have to be different standards, as the elerdly person is obviously going to be unable to complete the same exercises; they must be measured against what is healthy for their age bracket. This same principle applies to fire safety standards in a building. 

NSW legislation doesn’t expect old buildings to have the most modern safety equipment installed but requests that the standards remain on par with the age of the building unless specific hazards are identified or the building is being modified or upgraded.

Changes to EFSM regulations:

Any upgrades or modifications that are done to a building involving a Development Application (DA), such as extensions and renovations, may require the fire systems and essential fire safety measures (EFSM) to be brought up to the current standards in order to remain compliant. In which case, the original building fire safety standards no longer apply. 

To find out what standards apply to you, a Building Certifier must first assess the building according to the current standards and provide recommendations on what upgrades need to be carried out in order to keep the premises safe from fire hazards. This is known as a Fire Order and often has a strict guideline and timeframe that must be followed. 

Local councils also have the power to place a mandatory Fire Order on a building. This usually occurs when:

  • A specific hazard or fire has been reported to the council.
  • The council targets particular types and ages of building, e.g. backpackers, or unit blocks built prior to the 90s.

These Fire Orders are non-negotiable and failure to comply with a council Fire Order can cost up to a whopping $1.1 million, with a further daily penalty of $110,000 if the Fire Order isn’t completed by the required date.

Fire Orders Process:

Once a Fire Order is placed on the building, it will specify a time frame for a Building Certifier to review the building.

We do not get involved at this point as it is considered a conflict of interest to provide the report on the upgrades and carry out the upgrades ourselves.

Instead, the upgrade report is given to us by the Building Certifier and we then quote on the required installation/upgrades.

We then carry out the required works and then the Certifier closes off the Fire Order. 

It’s important to note that the Fire Safety Schedule for the building will also be updated, meaning each subsequent Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) will then need to be signed off to the new standards, not the original ones. 

Using a sub-optimal fire safety agency can compromise the safety of your premises,  your certification and your insurance, so choosing a top-tier fire protection service like Betta Fire Protection is the accurate and efficient way to complete Fire Orders.

With Betta Fire Protection, all work is conducted with the highest attention to detail and inspected by a competent fire safety practitioner CSFP. This ensures that all aspects of the Fire Order is completed to the necessary standard and covered by insurance. 

Here at Betta Fire Protection, we’ve spent the last 40 years carrying out trustworthy and compliant installations and upgrades requested by Fire Orders right across NSW. 

As the industry leaders in fire safety, we ensure your building’s EFSM are up to standard, with all work only signed off when 100% compliant.

For more information or to receive a quote on your Fire Orders, call Betta Fire Protection today on (02) 8669 9100.