The impact of recent changes to the Environmental Planning & Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety) Regulation on property values

As of July 18th 2014 a number of changes came into play for the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety) Regulation. These include changes to requirements for Complying Development Certificates (CDCs) and Construction Certificates (CCs), such as the removal of building fire safety reports when submitting a CDC.

The NSW Government Building Professionals Board states the amendments to the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000 affect class 1b-9buildings, not class 1a or 10 buildings. A descriptive list regarding the classification of buildings and structures can be found at the end of this post.

The amendments, as per the NSW Government Building Professionals Board, include obligations for certifiers in relation to:

  • Inspecting egress routes before issuing a construction certificate or complying development certificate (refer to clauses 129B (1A) and 143B (2)).
  • Notifying council if a ‘significant fire safety issue’ is identified, in this instance the certifier must notify council within two days from when the issue was identified.
  • Development standards for CDCs for change of use or internal reconfiguration (refer to clauses 132 (2)(a1) 132(2)(a) and 132(2)(b)).

The Building Professionals Board advises that clauses 130(4) (e), 132A and 154D are repealed.

Valuers will need to be mindful of adjusting valuations when buildings don’t comply. This has always been the case, however the NSW Governments decision to make amendments to the Fire Safety Regulation re-emphasises the need to consider BCA compliance in valuation.

For more clarification on the technical guidelines please visit the below PDF kindly supplied by the NSW Government Planning & Environment division:

http://bpb.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/public/Information%20sheets%20%26%20practice%20advice/EPandA_Reg-Fire_Safety_Technical_Guideline_July2014.pdf

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According to the Building Code of Australia (1996) building classifications are as follows:

Class 1: one or more buildings which in association constitute-

(a) Class 1a – a single dwelling being-

(i) a detached house; or

(ii) one or more attached dwellings, each being a building, separated by a fire-resisting wall, including a row house, terrace house, town house or villa unit; or

(b) Class 1b- a boarding house, guest house, hostel or the like with a total floor area not exceeding 300m²  and in which no more than 12 persons would ordinarily be a resident; which is not located above or below another dwelling or another Class of building other than a private garage.

Class 2: a building containing 2 or more sole-occupancy units each being a separate dwelling.

Class 3: a residential building, other than a building of Class 1 or 2, which is a common place of long term or transient living for a number of unrelated persons, including-

(a) a boarding house, guest house, hostel, lodging-house or backpackers accommodation; or

(b) a residential part of a hotel or motel; or

(c) a residential part of a school; or

(d) accommodation for the aged, children or people with disabilities; or

(e) a residential part of a health care building which accommodates members of staff; or

(f) a residential part of a detention centre.

Class 4: dwelling in a building that is Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 if it is the only dwelling in the building.

Class 5: an office building used for professional or commercial purposes, excluding buildings of Class 6,7, 8 or 9.

Class 6: a shop or other building for the sale of goods by retail or the supply of services direct to the public, including-

(a) An eating room, café, restaurant, milk or soft-drink bar;

(b) a dining room, bar, shop or kiosk part of a hotel or motel; or

(c) a hairdressers or barbers shop, public laundry ,or undertakers establishment; or

(d) market or sale room, showroom, or service station.

Class 7: a building which is-

(a) Class 7a- a car park; or

(b) Class 7b- for storage, or display of goods or produce for sale by wholesale.

Class 8: a laboratory, or a building in which a handicraft or process for the production, assembling, altering, repairing, packing, finishing or cleaning of goods or produce is carried on for trade, sale or grain.

Class 9: a building of a public nature-

(a) Class 9a- a health-care building; including those parts of the building set aside as a laboratory; or

(b) Class 9b- an assembly building, including a trade workshop, laboratory or the like in a primary or secondary school, but excluding any other parts of the building that are of another Class; or

(c) Class 9c- an aged care building.

Class 10: a non-habitable building or structure-

(a) Class 10a- a non-habitable building being a private garage, carport, shed, or the like; or

(b) Class 10b- a structure being a fence, mast, antenna, retaining or free standing wall or a swimming pool, or the like.

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