Engaged owners: the key to fire safety

Regulations in NSW, Victoria, and other jurisdictions place an emphasis on owners submitting annual statements about their fire systems.

The purpose of this so that owners are informed about the performance of their systems and ensure their ongoing maintenance.

In NSW a recent change has introduced penalties for owners who fail to maintain their systems or to submit annual fire safety statements (AFSS), so there is clearly an expectation that owners are responsible – while an agent can submit an AFSS, they cannot be made responsible for maintenance requirements.

However, over several years, many owners have sought to delegate their responsibilities – often to the practitioners carrying out the assessments themselves.

This has reduced their knowledge of the safety of their buildings and created opportunities for practitioners to cut corners or (in more extreme cases) perhaps not even turn up at all.

While this loophole has now been closed, the questions remain:

  • Do owners know their responsibilities?
  • Can they take a greater role in ensuring the safety of their buildings?
  • Should they?
Paul Waterhouse_new

Paul Waterhouse

National Manager - Engagement, FPA Australia

Paul Waterhouse is the National Manager, Engagement for Fire Protection Association Australia. 

In a career spanning more than twenty years in advocacy and public policy, Paul has covered issues as diverse as cities, planning and development assessment reform, disability access, building regulation, risk, counter-terrorism, sustainability, transport safety, manufacturing, energy, police policy, and property law. 

Starting as the State Manager – NSW, in October, 2018, he moved into the engagement role in 2020, covering member engagement and services, communications and marketing, and events. 


Nicholas Burt

Chief Executive Officer, Facility Management Association of Australia

Nicholas Burt is CEO of the Facility Management Association of Australia (FMA). He has over 20 years’ leadership experience, including appointments at the senior executive level within the community services and facility management sectors for both NGOs and local government. His roles have covered the entire spectrum of policy development and planning, program implementation and management. During his time with the FMA, Nic’s commitment to improving process has helped to drive industry development and deliver high-quality services to stakeholders in the facilities management sector. Nic also chairs the Standards Australia technical committee MB-022, Facilities Management, and was involved in the development of the new ISO standards for facilities management.

John Lynch

General Manager Business Services, Wormald

John is the General Manager for Business Services for Wormald. He has been involved in the Fire Industry for 22 years and is a current member of TAC 3/7 and the current chair of TAC 1. Prior to working in the fire industry, John held sales and marketing roles with Nestlé in Australia and PNG, and Cadbury Schweppes.

Andrew Cialini

Andrew Cialini

State Building Surveyor, Victorian Building Authority

As the State Building Surveyor, Andrew is an industry advocate for building surveyors and building practitioners across Victoria. He brings a wealth of knowledge to this important role, with more than 30 years’ industry experience as a building surveyor as well as roles in the private sector as a structural design engineer and as an adviser to the Government of South Australia.

Andrew is passionate about the industry and its future. He has led the creation and implementation of the Code of Conduct for Building Surveyors to improve standards, trust and oversight in the building industry and help keep Victorians safe. Andrew is also driving new career pathways to address the critical shortage of building surveyors.

Active participation with industry is fundamental to Andrew’s role and he chairs several state government committees and engages regularly with industry associations, forums and working groups.

Angela Shaw - Pic

Angela Shaw

Essential Services Coordinator, Monash University

Angela has had a career spanning many diverse roles – including 25 years in Facilities Management roles in large to small organisations, across both the private sector and public sector. She has worked in the Public Service in Federal, State and Local Government, in Facilities Management, program management, and procurement.

For the last 10 years Angela has been working primarily in the area of fire and ESM compliance, developing a passion for fire safety while working in compliance/ESM’s roles in several organisations. She has been at Monash University for the last 7 years, managing the fire and EWIS systems, testing and compliance across the University’s campuses in Victoria.