Implementing NSW’s fire sprinkler system reform
Implementation of the new requirement that all aged care facilities across New South Wales are now required to be fitted with automatic fire sprinkler systems is underway.
Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) has welcomed the fact that all aged care facilities across New South Wales are now required to be fitted with automatic fire sprinkler systems. The regulation, which began in January 2013, applies to nearly 600 aged care facilities, caring for around 24,000 people across the state.
The New South Wales Government is exhibiting proposed changes to planning regulations by:
- creating new offences and penalties for building owners who fail to comply with the sprinkler requirements
- fast-tracking planning approvals for the retrofitting of sprinklers by allowing the majority of them to be approved in 10 days as complying development, and
- establishing an implementation committee to oversee the rollout.
Commonwealth-accredited aged care facilities have been given 18 months to retrofit sprinklers. Providers who can’t meet that timeframe have been given until January 2016 to complete the work and will be required to submit six-monthly progress reports to the implementation committee.
Operators will need to inform residents, prospective residents and families about whether sprinklers are installed and progress reports will be made publicly available.
“FPA Australia commends the New South Wales Government for taking decisive action on this issue, which introduces retrospective requirements on nursing home fire protection measures similar to Victoria and Queensland,” says Scott Williams, FPA Australia chief executive officer.
“Automatic fire sprinklers offer proven performance in controlling fire growth and raising the alarm to significantly increase the time for escape and limit property damage and business interruption,” he adds. The association hopes to see these reforms rolled out in the other states and territories.