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Improving fire safety in new and existing buildings

The Office of the Building Commissioner commissioned a report by a working group of industry experts to identify ways the NSW Government can improve fire safety in class 2 residential buildings.

Key information

  • The report identifies practical responses that could help improve fire safety in class 2 residential buildings in NSW. 
  • Fire safety systems are the second most common category of defect according to strata research and Fair Trading audit data. 
  • The working group was comprised of a range of fire safety, property, building and construction practitioners with expert legislative and technical knowledge. 
  • The research forms part of the Construct NSW strategy to reform the building and construction industry.

Key recommendations

The report makes 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.

About the report

Based on the current state of the industry and research into fire safety, the working group identified three areas of focus: 

  • Provide building owners and industry practitioners clear information on how to manage and maintain fire safety systems by producing a template building manual.
  • Outline the roles, experience and qualifications of fire safety practitioners throughout the building lifecycle (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.

These issues were investigated over a nine-month period by sub-committees, established to deliver feedback to the overall working group.

The report was commissioned by the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner and the full report can be found here.

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