Fire Safety Orders

Fire Safety Orders or Fire Safety Upgrade Orders or Voluntary Fire Safety Upgrades are issued under Schedule 5 Part 2 of NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (1979) for the following purposes:

To do what? In what circumstances? To whom?
To do or stop doing things for the purposes of ensuring or promoting adequate fire safety or fire safety awareness.

When provision for fire safety or fire safety awareness is inadequate to

  • prevent fire, or
  • suppress fire, or
  • prevent the spread of fire.

To ensure or promote the safety of persons in the event of fire.

When lack of maintenance of the premises or the use of the premises constitutes a significant fire hazard.

The owner of the premises or, in the case of a place of shared accommodation, the owner or manager.
To stop doing an activity on premises, including on premises used for the purposes of shared accommodation.

The activity is or is likely to be -

  • a life threatening hazard, or
  • a threat to public health or public safety,
  • prevent the spread of fire.

and the activity is not regulated or controlled under any other Act by a public authority.

Any person apparently engaged in promoting, conducting or carrying out the activity
To stop the use of premises or to evacuate premises, or not to enter the premises When an order under item 1 or 2 above has already been served and has not been complied with. Any person.

Lote are C10 Fire Safety Engineers and can assist Clients with responding to Fire Safety Orders issued by Council. Due to the existing nature of the building and site limitations, a prescriptive BCA Deemed-to-Satisfy (DtS) Approach could be technically impracticable. Therefore, Lote specialise in the application for Performance-based Fire Safety Design using Performance Solutions (also known as Alternative Solutions) to provide a customised buildable and practicable solution to address fire safety matters identified by Council.

The following sections provide background to the intent of Fire Safety Orders under Schedule 5 Part 2 of NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (1979):

Fire Safety Inspections

Premises thought to be at risk of fire will be inspected by authorised Council Fire Safety Officers.

This inspection will be conducted by Council Fire Safety Officers granted legislative power to enter and inspect premises. The Officers must carry photographic identification that can be produced if requested by involved parties.

Subsequent inspections may be organised to suit the ongoing needs of the occupier and/or owner of the structure.

Fire Safety Orders

Fire safety orders can be issued by the Council to building owners, specifying required safety improvements. This order lists the cause of the order, the required actions and the action deadline. Responsibility for compliance falls on the building owner, although tenants may also have legal obligations under various contract arrangements.

A 'notice of intention' will be issued prior to the order, allowing the owner to discuss the terms set out in the order with the respective Council. They can also be represented at this stage by an Agent or Legal Practitioner. It is advisable to get a C10 Fire Safety Engineer involved early to engage with Council, as most Fire Safety Orders can be amicably resolved with Council if attended to in a timely manner with input with appropriately qualified Fire Safety Engineer/s. The window for the owner to indicate intent to present representations to the Council is typically 14 days; any representation request must be in writing.

Some changes that may required by the order include safer fire exits, appropriate fire-safety equipment or appropriate fire-resistant construction. The cost of such improvements and their impact on the heritage status of buildings, if applicable, will generally be considered by Council. Depending upon the scale and complexity of the improvements, Council will generally allow ample time to the building owner. This is on the basis that a staged upgrade programme is developed and there is adequate commitment from the Owner to act according to the agreed upgrade programme.

Any Fire Safety Order recipient has the right to appeal or challenge their order or any of its parts at the Land and Environment Court of NSW, provided it is done within 28 days.

Contributory evidence and/or evidence of hardship must be supplied if a request is made to extend the compliance period. Such an application must also set out the remaining works to be completed and a proposed schedule for this work.

Complying with an Order

Council highly recommends that a suitably qualified professional (namely C10 Fire Safety Engineer or C10 Accredited Certifier or C10 Certifier - Fire Safety) is engaged by the Building Owner to appreciate the requirements of the Fire Safety Order and oversee its implementation. Arrangements should be made for either the Fire Safety Engineer or the building owner to meet with the assigned Council Fire Safety Officer regularly.

The completed work (and its accompanying compliance certification) will be inspected by the Council Fire Safety Officer. The Council will then issue their own letter of compliance. Following this, the building is added to the Council's fire certification database, requiring the periodic submission of an Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS), now known as FSS.

The Council will also release a compliance cost notice, allowing the owner to recoup some of the costs involved with formulating, monitoring, and compliance actions undertaken due to an order issued under Schedule 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.


The building owner can be taken to court by the Council if the order is not carried out. Should the Council be successful in this legal action, a court order will be issued, which can have serious non-compliance ramifications in terms of insurance, liability, obligations to tenants, duty of care, compliance with Work Health & Safety regulations, etc.

The Council can also apply for legal costs with severe fines / penalties for ignoring a Fire Safety Order. The Council can also issue penalty infringement notices for failure to comply with the conditions of a Fire Safety Order.

Lote C10 Fire Safety Engineers are experienced with responding to Fire Safety Orders and can assist Builder Owners with responding to Council and navigating the Fire Safety Order.