The highly anticipated Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) has now been formally approved by the NSW Government.

As of July 1, 2020, the FPAS has been recognised for: 

  • Fire Systems Design (FSD) – for practitioners who endorse plans and specifications in accordance with clauses 136AA and 146B of the EPAR; and
  • Fire Safety Assessment (FSA) – for those who endorse essential fire safety measures on annual or supplementary fire safety statements under Part 9, Divisions 5 and 7 of the EPAR. 

To perform these roles, practitioners will need to hold an accreditation number, unless they are designers who hold C8 certifier (electrical engineering) or a C14 (hydraulic certifier – buildings) registration with the Department of Customer Service. 

Other areas, such as approving performance solutions, applying for clause 164B exemptions, or designing mechanical fire safety systems, have not been recognised at this time. 

The good news for our customers at Betta Fire Protection is that we have had this accreditation since April (the original deadline).

Upskilling Our Team

We have minimised cost to the client by upskilling our Fire System Inspectors over the last year to also be accredited assessors for a majority of fire systems. This saves on the cost of sending two people to the site. However, there is still a considerable cost associated with getting the accreditations, which we unfortunately have to pass some on.

While we will endeavour to inspect a site just once at all times, there are some exceptions. We still need to send a second person to site for the more specialised fire systems. In case like this, we can provide a quote for the additional charges, which will be unique to each site.

As always with Betta Fire Protection, transparency is paramount. We itemise our quotes and are not simply bundling the cost into other charges for inspections and repairs.

If your current fire system maintenance provider has not got the accreditation, we can still review the site and the service records and endorse the AFSS.

Council Interpretation

As often happens with new legislation, councils may interpret the new regulations differently.
There are two likely scenarios here:

  • Some may want the accreditation number applied to any AFSS submitted after the 1/7/20
    • If the annual inspection was done prior to us receiving the approval to send an FSA to site, there will be additional charges to send an FSA back to site.
  • Other councils may want the accreditation number applied where the ‘inspection’ date is after 1/7/20 (which would seem the most logical process to us)
    • E.g. the annual inspection was carried out in June 2020 before the scheme was in place. Therefore, when the AFSS in submitted in July 2020, it does not need the accreditation number applied.

Either way, we have been giving our clients the option of sending an FSA to site since April 2020.

Compliance You Can Trust

No one wants additional charges, especially in the current environment. We get that. However, this additional accountability and cross checking is sorely needed in the fire industry.  Ultimately, it provides better value, more thorough product and improved safety while reducing risk to people and property in NSW.

Get in touch with us today if you have any questions, we’re here to help. For compliance you can trust, call our expert team at Betta Fire Protection on (02) 8669 9100.