HURSTVILLE CITY COUNCIL
CIVIC CENTRE, MACMAHON STREET, HURSTVILLE.
__________________________________

SUMMARY OF ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED AT
THE POLICY PLANNING ENVIRONMENT AND MASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION MEETING
TO BE HELD ON 18TH FEBRUARY, 2009


Summary:


Item No: PPE001 - 09 FIRE SAFETY PROGRAMItem No: PPE002 - 09 MATTERS SUBMITTED FOR THE INFORMATION OF MEMBERS - LEGAL MATTERS INVOLVING COURT ACTION AND LIMITED CONSENTS - PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTORATE


___________________________________________________________________________
Meeting No. 1 to be held on 18/02/2009







Meeting Date: 18/02/2009

PPE001 - 09FIRE SAFETY PROGRAM

REPORT AUTHOR/S

Manager - Building Control, Ms J Nicol

FILE REFERENCE

08/2243

REASON FOR REPORT

To advise Council of the Fire Safety Program

DOES AN EXISTING POLICY COVER THIS MATTER?

No

IF "NO" - SHOULD A POLICY BE DEVELOPED?

No

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

Yes - There will be additional income from registrations and penalty infringement notices

DOES THIS REPORT REFERENCE AN EARLIER REPORT? (If so, then indicate full report reference details)

No


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Owners of all Class 1b to Class 9c buildings under the Building Code of Australia (every building other than a house and its ancillary structures) are required under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 to maintain Essential Fire Safety Measures. A Fire Safety program has been implemented and is being further developed to proactively ensure compliance with these requirements, ensuring that life safety and protection of property are maintained in the public interest.

The fire safety program involves both an educational and enforcement aspect which will be supported by the automation of the fire safety register.

RECOMMENDATION
1. THAT the report be received and noted.
2. THAT Council endorse the fire safety program.

REPORT DETAIL
There are huge social implications in fires which include loss of life, property and jobs; as such Council has a moral responsibility to the community to ensure that fire safety is maintained.

Recent inspections of buildings by Council Building Surveyors and the NSW Fire Brigade have revealed a systematic failure of building owners to maintain essential fire safety measures. This, together with the failure of owners to submit to Council and the NSW Fire Brigade their required annual fire safety certificates, places our community in a position of risk.

Owners of all Class 1b to Class 9c buildings under the Building Code of Australia are required under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000 to maintain Essential Fire Safety Measures and have their building's Essential Fire Safety Measures inspected to confirm the have been maintained and kept in good repair.

Essential Fire Safety measures can include everything from fire rated construction to fire hose reels, smoke detection and alarm systems, evacuation plans, exit signs, emergency lighting and fire safety notices.

It should be noted that, under the Regulation, the owner need only engage a person who is "properly qualified" to carry out the inspection. No clear definition is provided on what exactly "properly qualified" means. Here lies one of the concerns for Council in that, at times, inexperienced contractors submit statements to the owner for submission to Council which are either incomplete or incorrect.

On an annual basis, the owner of each building must submit to Council an Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) as required. Council has no obligation under the legislation other than to file the AFSS. However, as part of the Fire Safety Program, Hurstville City Council has put in place a register of Fire Safety Certificates and AFFS’s and has, through the Fire Safety Program, implemented a procedure to improving building owner compliance with the requirements of the regulations in the interests of life safety and protection of property.

Currently, Council’s Fire Safety Officer, Senior Environmental Health & Building Surveyor Mr Michael Alexander, and Council Management Information System department are working towards automating and updating the existing manual fire safety register. Automation of the register will allow for tracking of AFSS’s, the generation of reminder and warning letters, Notices and Orders and penalty infringement notices. It will also assist with the regulatory inspection program, both at a Council level and with the Police and Fire Brigade.

Currently there are 792 premises registered on Council's system. New premises are being added to the system when final occupation certificates are issued either by Council or a private certifier. The lodgement of an AFSS with Council incurs an administration fee of $50. Should the owner fail to submit an AFSS, they may be subject to a penalty infringement notice ranging from $500 to $2000, depending on the time taken to lodge the statement.

Not all 792 premises are operational. When automation of the register is complete, any reminder and/or warning letters that remain unanswered will require an inspection to verify the premises are still operating. It is expected this will be a one off procedure, as after the initial first twelve months all premises will be current.

Once automation is complete, the fire safety register will not be comprehensive as it is thought there maybe some 200 premises, mainly commercial, which, due to their age, have never been captured on any prior approval or register list and therefore, unlike the existing 792 premises, their information could not be transferred or included in the new register . It is expected an information retrieval exercise through an inspection auditing program will need to be undertaken in the future to capture these premises.

With Council only having one fire safety officer, resources to undertake the auditing program will be sourced from the Building Control Unit if there is a decline in either development application referrals or principal certifying services, rather than seeking the appointment of another fire safety officer.

Although Council has no obligation under the regulation other than to file the AFSS’s, Councils Fire Safety Officer does review the statements ensuring that the Essential Fire Safety Measures are consistent with Council's approvals. This procedure captures the concerns with unqualified and inexperienced contractors undertaking the previously mentioned inspections. If the AFSS is not consistent with Council's records, an inspection is undertaken and, if the required measures are found not to be provided, appropriate Notices /Orders under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act are served.

It is anticipated that the full automation of the fire safety register will be completed in March.

In the interim, the following fire safety program initiatives have been or will be undertaken:-

1) a review of council buildings has been undertaken resulting in all council buildings becoming compliant,
2) a manual list of all high risk premises including places of public entertainment (POPE’s), shared accommodation, and aged care facilities, which have not submitted an AFSS or where the AFSS is inconsistent with Council's records is now being developed with the aim of undertaking inspections to ensure essential fire safety measures comply,
3) new fact sheets have been developed to assist owners to understand their responsibility,
4) joint inspections and enforcement of high risk premises (POPEs) are continuing with the NSW Licensing Police and the NSW Fire Brigades, and
5) information relating to fire safety is currently being updated on Council's website.

Hurstville City Council is leading the way in community safety by teaming with licensing police and Fire Brigades fire safety officer to conduct regular, random after hours safety inspections of bars, clubs and other entertainment venues. Both the New South Wales Fire Brigade and Police have applauded Council for conducting the joint fire, building and liquor safety inspections on places of public entertainment (POPE’s). These after hour joint inspections are undertaken once a month and have already resulted in over $5,000 in penalty infringement notices and the serving of Notices and Orders.

The number of AFSS’s submitted to Council has increased from 10% to 75%, of known premises, in the last year by the implementation of the manual process. It is expected full automation of the fire register will be successful in achieving a higher submission rate of AFSS. There has been some kick back by building owners but there is no room for negotiation on mandatory life safety and fire safety issues. Council has an overriding duty of care to enforce fire safety laws.

APPENDIX


COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION
1. THAT the report be received and noted.
2. THAT Council endorse the fire safety program.
(Moved Clr A Istephan/Seconded Clr D Perry)
COUNCIL RESOLUTION
RESOLVED THAT the report be received and noted.

FURTHER, THAT Council endorse the fire safety program.
(Moved Clr S McMahon/Seconded Clr P Sansom)


Meeting Date: 18/02/2009

PPE002 - 09MATTERS SUBMITTED FOR THE INFORMATION OF MEMBERS - LEGAL MATTERS INVOLVING COURT ACTION AND LIMITED CONSENTS - PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTORATE

REPORT AUTHOR/S

Director Planning and Development, Mr B Daintry

FILE REFERENCE

07/180

REASON FOR REPORT

For the information of Councillors

DOES AN EXISTING POLICY COVER THIS MATTER?

No

IF "NO" - SHOULD A POLICY BE DEVELOPED?

No

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

Yes

DOES THIS REPORT REFERENCE AN EARLIER REPORT? (If so, then indicate full report reference details)

No


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
To update the Legal Case Management report and Limited Consents report that are actioned by the Planning and Development Directorate.

RECOMMENDATION
THAT the information be received and noted.

REPORT DETAIL
The attached reports are updated for the information of Councillors.

Legal Case Management - Public Report

Legal Case Managment - Public Report February 2009.pdf


Limited Consents Report

Limited consents report February 2009.pdf


APPENDIX


COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION
THAT the information be received and noted.

It is noted that the Committee resolved to close the meeting to the public from 7.25pm to 7.30pm and 7.42pm to 7.50pm to discuss a confidential matter as part of this report.
(Moved Clr A Istephan/Seconded Clr D Perry)
COUNCIL RESOLUTION
RESOLVED THAT the information be received and noted.
(Moved Clr S McMahon/Seconded Clr P Sansom)