As of 2 October 2015, a number of changes to clauses in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 will commence, impacting developers that require an alternate solution of a Category 2 fire safety provision and need to be referred to Fire and Rescue NSW.
Fire and Rescue NSW can now decide whether or not to provide initial and final fire safety reports, which will allow them to focus on buildings and occupancies of a higher risk.
Construction Certificate applications for buildings that require an alternate solution of a Category 2 fire safety provision must be submitted to Fire and Rescue NSW within seven days for review and comment. If Fire and Rescue NSW do not provide a response within 10 days or dismiss the need for an initial fire safety report, a Construction Certificate may be issued. If Fire and Rescue NSW confirm that an initial fire safety report will be provided, the developer will have to wait 28 days from the date of the initial application to receive the initial fire safety report.
Regardless of whether the initial safety report is required by Fire and Rescue NSW or not, MBC is required to apply for a final fire safety report before issuing an Occupation Certificate. Fire and Rescue NSW have seven days from the date they acknowledge receipt of the application, to arrange an inspection of the premises and issue a final fire safety report. It’s likely that Fire and Rescue NSW won’t acknowledge receipt of applications until they’re in a position to arrange an inspection.
These changes support the referral process that has developed over time and will hopefully reduce lengthy delays and avoid complex review processes for simple alternate solutions. Other aspects of the process have not changed, including the triggers for referrals, time of referral, documents to be referred and MBC’s obligations when an initial or final fire safety report is received.
These changes apply to applications received on or after the 2 October 2015. They also apply to applications received before the 2 October 2015, if the Construction Certificate has not been issued. If MBC has referred an application before 2 October 2015, we have notified Fire and Rescue NSW and begun to resolve the process with the least possible impact to our clients and their developments.
We are confident that our clients will have nothing to fear from these changes, as it merely formalises a process that already exists within the industry.
Contact us if you’d like to discuss how your development may be impacted by these changes, or read the Building Professionals Board’s summary or NSW legislation for more information on the reforms.