Building safety regulations

In This Section

This page contains the building safety regulations that are essential to keeping the buildings, homes and people in our Municipality safe. Council's compliance officers are responsible for the enforcement of building safety within our municipality.

Asbestos safety

Complaints about unsafe work with asbestos

Any concerns or complaints about unsafe work on a building or work site that may contain asbestos are to be reported to  SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.

Concerns and complaints about unsafe work at a residential property by the home owner or tenant as part of home maintenance and small scale demolition can be reported to Council on 9391 7000.

Asbestos Licensing

Bonded asbestos licence

A bonded asbestos licence (Class B asbestos removal licence) is required to remove, repair or disturb more than 10 square meters of bonded asbestos material such as fibro, corrugated cement sheeting and asbestos cement pipes.

Friable asbestos licences

A friable asbestos licence (Class A asbestos removal licence) is required to remove, repair or disturb any amount of friable asbestos, such as sprayed limpet, asbestos cloth, millboard and pipe lagging. It also allows the removal of bonded asbestos. More information on asbestos licensing

Asbestos information

For information regarding asbestos, please refer to the following NSW Government and independent websites:

Safework NSW

Health

Environment & Heritage (encompassing the Environment Protection Authority)

Asbestos Disease Research Institute

Fire safety

Upgrading your building

It is assumed that when a building is built it will comply with the relevant building standards of the day - however these standards change over time. There are continuing advancements in technology and changes in our knowledge and community expectations. The community will not accept a low level of safety simply because a building is old.

Since 1948 the State Government has given local councils the power to require the upgrade of buildings deficient in fire safety. Currently local councils can issue ‘Fire Safety Upgrade Orders’ requiring the fire upgrade of buildings under item 6 of Section 121B of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979. Fire Safety Upgrade Orders are issued to remedy fire safety deficiencies in existing buildings to ensure and promote adequate fire safety and fire safety awareness.

An adequate level of fire safety is not necessarily full compliance with the current building regulations, as consideration must be given to the age of the applicable building and the practicality of compliance along with the benefits that will be achieved.

Generally an upgrade of a building in relation to fire safety cannot be conducted without either:

  • a development consent; or
  • a Fire Safety Upgrade Order issued by Council pursuant to Section 121B of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979

Due to the significant number of heritage buildings in our area, it is critical that fire upgrades are undertaken sympathetically. Council will not give a Fire Safety Upgrade Order unless it has considered the impact of the order on the heritage significance of the building.

Examples of how sympathetic upgrades can be achieved include the following:

  • Emergency lighting

    Emergency lighting

  • Timber balustrade/handrail required to be increased in height

    Timber balustrade/handrail required to be increased in height

  • Replicated original door-sets to fire door-sets with restored and re-instated door hardware

    Replicated original door-sets to fire door-sets with restored and re-instated door hardware

Fire safety orders

Fire Safety Upgrade Orders are issued pursuant to Section 121B of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.

Prior to issuing an Order Council will generally issue a ‘Notice of Intention to Give an Order’ that will detail the schedule of work that is considered necessary and the timeframe within which the Order is to be satisfied. At that time the owner of the building can make representations as to:

  • why the order should not be given; or
  • the terms of or period for compliance with the order; or
  • period for compliance with the order

A ‘Notice of Intention to Give an Order’ will not be issued if there is serious risk to health or safety or where there is an immediate fire safety threat. In such cases Council will issue an ‘Emergency Fire Safety Upgrade Order’.

On service of a Fire Safety Upgrade Order the owner may lodge an appeal against the Order to the Land & Environment Court within 28 days.

Fire Safety Upgrade Orders can be amended if changes in circumstances so dictates.

If a Fire Safety Upgrade Order is not complied with and a property owner is not making a genuine effort to work towards compliance, the Council can initiate enforcement proceedings in accordance with Council’s adopted ‘Enforcement Policy’. If enforcement action is taken in the Land & Environment Court the maximum penalty that can be imposed pursuant to the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 for not complying with a Fire Safety Upgrade Order is $5,000,000.

New building requirements

Before new building work is constructed the Principal Certifying Authority will issue a construction certificate with a Fire Safety Schedule attached.

The Fire Safety Schedule will indicate all existing and proposed fire safety measures to be installed in the building as required by the Building Code of Australia.

The principal certifying authority must issue an Occupation Certificate before the building (or part) can be occupied. The Principal Certifying Authority must ensure that they have received a Final Fire Safety Certificate.

The Final Fire Safety Certificate is used to ensure that a competent fire safety practitioner has properly installed the fire safety measures. The Final Fire Safety Certificate should be noted upon the Occupation Certificate as a part of the information that was used to determine that the Occupation Certificate can be issued.

A Final Fire Safety Certificate is issued by or on behalf of the owner of a building indicating each essential fire safety measure specified by the fire safety schedule for the building has been assessed by a competent fire safety practitioner. It should also indicate that the measure was found, when it was assessed, to be capable of performing to at least the standard required by the current Fire Safety Schedule.

The owner of the new building must also as soon as practicable provide a copy of the Final Fire Safety Certificate to the Commissioner of the NSW Fire Brigades and cause a further copy of the certificate, together with a copy of the current Fire Safety Schedule to be prominently displayed in the building.

Within 12 months after the Final Fire Safety Certificate is issued the owner of the new building must cause an Annual Fire Safety Statement to be given to the Council and the Fire Commissioner and be prominently displayed in building.

Annual requirements

Every building that is not a single residential dwelling or a residential garage is required to have the fire safety measures assessed annually and have an Annual Fire Safety Statement given to the council, to the Fire Commissioner and prominently displayed in the building.

Building owners should be aware of their obligations and establish as a matter of priority the date that the Annual Fire Safety Statement is due each year. It is recommended that the inspection and maintenance of the fire safety measures be addressed in the months prior to the date the Annual Fire Safety Statement is due to allow any necessary maintenance to be conducted.

Council's fire safety register is constantly maintained and updated. Significant penalties apply to owners of buildings that do not ensure that annual fire safety statements are provided to council by the due date.

Please scroll through the Annual fire safety statements (PDF) alphabetical street listing to establish the due date of your annual fire safety statement.

Private swimming pools and spas

Swimming pool and spa registration

Private or ‘backyard’ swimming pool safety is legislated by the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (the Act) and the Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 (the Regulation). The legislation also applies to moveable dwellings, hotels and motels.

Under the Act all owners of properties on which a swimming pool is located were required to register their pool on the Office of Local Government (DLG) state-wide Swimming Pool Register by 29 October 2013. Any owner who has failed to register their pool faces fines of $220 or up to $2,200 if the matter is referred to court.

Registration can be carried out either:

1. Online at the NSW Swimming Pool Register website; or

2. By lodging Pool Registration form with Council

  • Pool Registration form (PDF) or get a form at Council's Customer Service Area
  • Complete the details and answer the questions on page 1
  • Identify the Self Assessment document that best suits your pool and complete the Self Assessment document online
  • Sign and date the Registration form
  • Lodge the completed registration form and Self Assessment document with Council.

Please refer to the NSW Swimming Pool Register Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) for more information.

The Swimming Pool Register will also record whether or not a swimming pool has been inspected by an appropriately qualified person and if a current Certificate of Compliance has been issued.

Council will rely on the Swimming Pool Register to determine what swimming pools are required to be inspected in accordance with our adopted Swimming Pool Barrier Inspection Program.

Swimming pool fencing

People choosing to have a swimming pool have a responsibility to ensure that pool safety barrier(s) and gate(s) are installed, operated and maintained to the Australian Standard referred to in the Regulation.

From 1 July 2010, newly constructed pools on very small properties (less than 230 sq metres), large properties (greater than 2 hectares or more) and waterfront properties will no longer receive exemptions from the requirement for four-sided, child-resistant pool barriers.

For information on all swimming pool safety requirements, please read NSW Office of Local Government - Backyard Swimming Pools.

The NSW Office of Local Government has also prepared the following useful resources:

The above documents are essential for all pool and spa owners and for renters of properties where a pool or spa exists. Please take the time to read these documents as it could save a child’s life.

Pool safety barrier book and fact sheets

A number of NSW Councils have come together to commission a Pool Safety Barriers Book (PDF) to help owners and occupiers better understand the pool barrier requirements. While this book is unable to include all of the provisions of the Act and relevant Australian Standard, it does help explain the general requirements that are to be complied with.

In addition to the Pool Safety Barriers Book, Council has also developed the following fact sheets to address particular circumstances:

Special requirements for spas

For the purpose of the Act and Regulation, a swimming pool includes, by definition, a spa pool but not a spa bath. Therefore the Act requires access for young children to spa pools to be restricted by the provision of a child-resistant barrier or a lockable child-safe structure when the spa pool is not in use.

Spa pools can also be hazardous, particularly if not correctly installed and maintained. In Australia and overseas, there have been a number of fatalities and injuries linked to poorly designed, installed and maintained spas. Fatalities and injuries usually result from users, particularly children, being trapped by the suction outlet systems of spas, including active main drains in the floors of spas.

Care must be taken to ensure that spa pools are properly installed so as to eliminate the danger of entrapment on the spa suction outlets. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's Product Safety Australia website details some of the key concerns with spas and should be reviewed by all spa pool owners.

Responsible swimming pool and spa ownership

The Royal Life Saving Society - Australia advise that every year in Australia over 35 children under the age of 5 drown. Therefore swimming pool safety is of extreme importance. The loss or injury of a child in a backyard swimming pool or spa is a tragedy that should never happen.

As a result of an inquest by the NSW Deputy Coroner in April 2010 into the deaths of eight children in NSW swimming pools between 2006 and 2009, it was found that the breakdown of supervision was a significant contributing factor in all deaths. Also, the failure to ensure the barrier surrounding the pool was properly constructed and maintained was a significant factor in the deaths of several of the children.

With over 3,500 private swimming pools and spas located in our municipality, Council is committed to ensuring that all pool owners are aware of their responsibilities and that all pools are adequately fenced and the fences are properly maintained. Inspections will be carried out by Council in accordance with our adopted Swimming Pool Barrier Inspection Program.

Importance of supervision

It is important to remember that while fencing may assist in reducing drownings in backyard pools, the most effective way to prevent drownings is for children to be adequately supervised by a responsible adult.

Research conducted on child drownings in backyard swimming pools indicates that the most common contributing factors are inadequately fenced pools and human error (for example, people leaving the gate open or fences not being maintained in good condition).

Importance of CPR

It is important that parents and others responsible for supervising children know how to administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). The Royal Life Saving Society of NSW and Surf Life Saving NSW conduct CPR courses. All supervising adults are encouraged to undertake CPR training.

Pool and spa owners are also encouraged to obtain a 'Home Pool Safety in a Box' kit developed by the Royal Life Saving Society - Australia. The kit is designed to encourage more home pool and spa owners to learn CPR and provides a 'watch and do' DVD and a Mini-Anne CPR Manikin. With the kit it is possible to learn the core skills of CPR in under 30 minutes. To obtain your kit, please contact Royal Life Saving on 1300 737 763 or visit the Royal Life Saving website.

Useful links

Window and balcony safety

Each year, around 50 children fall from windows or balconies in Australia. Many suffer serious injuries. Sometimes these falls are fatal.

Children aged between 1 and 5 years are most at risk and too young to judge potential danger.

In May 2013 the Building Code of Australia (BCA) was amended to include new provisions for protecting openings in all residential buildings. Essentially any window above the ground floor (that has a fall of 2 metres or metre to the ground below) now needs to be protected in some way to avoid children falling through them. This may be done in a number of ways, so each window will need to be checked to ensure it meets the new requirements.

NSW Fair Trading has two great new YouTube videos on child window safety, presented by DIY guru and TV personality Rob Palmer. These bite-sized videos deliver a simple yet vital message – window locks could save your child’s life and can be easy and cheap to install. To watch these videos or to find more information on protecting your windows and balconies visit NSW Fair Trading.