REG-06

Forced Building Fire Safety Upgrade Report

NSW  Hendry building certifiers advise that recent changes to legislation will affect commercial property owners of buildings more than 500m2 in area. Changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations – Exempt and Complying Development, need to be seriously considered by the building owner.

/ PLANNING CIRCULAR
A Planning Circular issued by NSW Planning and Infrastructure in part states:

Development proposals for a change of use or addition or alteration to an existing building that was erected prior to 1 January 1993, and that involves an area of more than 500m², will require a building upgrade report from an independent accredited certifier (who is not assessing the Complying Development Certificate application). The report must provide an assessment of matters relating to the compliance with the deemed-to-satisfy provisions of the Building Code of Australia, and may make recommendations for the complying development to include appropriate work for fire protection. A copy of the report must be submitted to the council, and the Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) must obtain acknowledgement receipt of this report from the council before an occupation certificate is issued.

/ CONSIDERATIONS FOR BUILDING OWNERS
Building owners must give serious consideration to this regulatory development, not only are the proposed alterations (including a change of use) being assessed by your nominated accredited certifier, but you must also employ a separate independent accredited certifier to provide an alternative assessment/report. The required building works to be performed under the two certifier’s requirements may far outweigh the benefits of the proposed alterations/change of use. An owner may want to assess these ramifications before applying for statutory approvals.

/ TENANTS AND BUILDING OWNERS
In our opinion building owners and property managers must not allow a tenant to approach an accredited building certifier/council without first obtaining an opinion on the likely affect that alterations will have on the building. The tenant and or building owner may wish to withdraw the application after considering the application, this may be too late as authorities could be involved who now know the building needs substantial fire protection upgrade.

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