Guide on Authority Submissions

Planning for change of use of your premise? Find out our comprehensive guide below to facilitate your change in space planning.

Wish to know more about SCDF fire safety compliance? We have prepared a detailed guide to allow you to gain insights into the fire protection requirements in Singapore.


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1. Change Of Use Guide

Q1) What are the examples of change of use?

Some common examples as follows:

a) Conversion of an unused space/tenanted unit in a building to another usage. For example an unused space to be change to a production area.

b) Change of use of a void deck space or retail shops into a childcare facility.

Q2) How do I go about making such a Change of Use with the relevant authorities?

You would have to engage an Architect as the Qualified Person (QP) to make the necessary applications to the respective authorities. These authorities which process the statutory compliance include JTC, SLA, HDB, URA, SCDF, etc.

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Q3) Which are the building professionals to be appointed to obtain a Change of Use approval from the SCDF department?

The following professionals are to be engaged to carry out the respective scope of works :

a) Architect (QP) – Overall in charge of the building plan compliance preparation and application of certifications.

b) Professional Engineer (PE) – In charge of Fire Protection Systems and Mechanical Ventilation plans submission.

c) Architectural Registered Inspector (RI) – Inspect completed architectural works in accordance to the approved plans obtained.

d) M&E Registered Inspector (RI) – Inspect and test the fire protection systems for functionality checks.

Q4) What are the submission procedures?

1) Architect (QP) to submit application to statutory land owners Eg. JTC/HDB/SLA to obtain land owner’s consensus should the land belongs to either of them.

2) Architect (QP) to submit application to URA to obtain change of use approval.

3) Architect (QP) to submit application to SCDF to obtain building plan approval.

4) Professional Engineer (PE) to submit application to SCDF to obtain fire-protection plan approval.

5) Architectural RI Inspection.

6) M&E RI Inspection.

7) Architect (QP) to submit final application to SCDF for the Fire Safety Certificate.

Should the change of use involve eatery outlets or affect any plumbing services, unit owners are required to obtain clearances from Singapore Food Agency-SFA & Public Utilities Board-PUB separately.
You would have to engage an Architect as the Qualified Person (QP) to make the necessary applications to the respective authorities. These authorities which process the statutory compliance include JTC, SLA, HDB, URA, SCDF, etc.

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Q5) What is the processing time for the respective authorities?

Jurong Town Corporation-JTC / Housing & Development Board-HDB / Singapore Land Authority- SLA – 2 weeks

Urban Redevelopment Authority-URA – 4 weeks

Singapore Civil Defence Force-SCDF (For building plan approval) – 1 week

Singapore Civil Defence Force-SCDF (For fire protection plan approval) – 1 week

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Q6) When can I start to operate my premise legally for the change of use?

In order to operate the new usage of your premise legally, you need the Urban Redevelopment Authority-URA’s change of use approval & Singapore Civil Defence Force-SCDF’s Fire Safety Certificate.

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2. Fire Guide

…download here

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A. The Terms SCDA VS FSSD

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Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
The main role of SCDF is to provide fire-fighting, rescue and emergency medical services; mitigating hazardous materials incidents, as well as formulate, implement and enforce regulations on fire safety and civil defence shelter matters.

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Fire Safety and Shelter Department (FSSD)
FSSD is one of the departments in SCDF. Any person who wishes to commence or carry out any addition & alteration works in any building shall apply in accordance with the Regulations made under the Fire Safety Act to the FSSD for approval of plans d fire safety certificate of the fire safety works.

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B. Who is a Qualified Person?

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Definition of Qualified Person(QP) in the building industry
A person who holds a recognized degree and a professional certificate in the subjected field. He/ She must be registered with its professional board, has extensive knowledge and experience in the subjected field and is also capable of design, analysis, evaluation and specification when handling any projects.

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Who are the Qualified Persons involved in a Fire Submission Process?
1. Qualified Person – Architect

  • A person registered with Board of Architects Singapore;
  • Overall-in-charge of the submission of Building Plan(BP) for Notice of Approval (NOA). 
  • Upon completion of works on site, to facilitate in the engagement of a Architectural Registered Inspector.
  • To apply for Fire Safety Certificate (FSC).

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2. Qualified Person – Mechanical & Electrical Engineer

  • A person registered with Professional Engineers Board, Singapore;
  • To  oversee and submit the Fire Protection Plan (FP) and Mechanical Ventilation Plan (MV)  of the building works.
  • Upon completion of works on site, to facilitate in the engagement of a M&E Registered Inspector.

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C. Architect’s Responsibility on Fire Compliance

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What are the Architect’s duties and the scope of services on fire safety compliance?

1. The Qualified Person – Architect, has to ensure that the following aspects are complied with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)’s latest Fire Code.

Some of the safety aspects include:

  • Means of escape               
  • Structural Safety               
  • Site planning               
  • Fire fighting provisions


2. Qualified Person – Architect, is responsible for advising the building operator before the commencement of any alterations or new building works to the premises.  He will follow through the project from site visit to the preparation of documents and plans submission.  

  • In cases when there are non-compliance, the Arch QP will assist the building operator to have consultation with the FSSD, as well as to follow up with a Waiver Application, if necessary.
  • Upon completion of building works, the Arch QP will facilitate the inspection and apply for the Fire Safety Certificate.  

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D. The Submission Work Flow Process

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The work flow consists of 3 stages leading to the Fire Safety Certificate (FSC)

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STAGE 1

APPOINTMENT

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1. Appointment of Qualified Persons (QPs)

  • Architect, Professional Engineer (PE) *
  • Registered Inspectors (RIs)

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STAGE 2

PLANS PREPARATION & SUBMISSION

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2. QPs to prepare plans for FSSD submission.

  • Building Plan (Architect)
  • Fire Protection Plan (PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER)*
  • Mechanical Ventilation Plan (PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER)*

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3. QP (Architect) and QP (PE)* to submit plans to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) for approval.

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4. SCDF processes and issues Notice of Approvals  (NOA). (approx. 1 week)

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STAGE 3

INSPECTION & APPLICATION OF FSC

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5. Upon completion of works on site, the Registered Inspectors (RI)s inspect the site to check that works done are in accordance to the approved drawings.

6. Upon satisfactory inspection, the RIs will issue  Form-1 certificate to the QP (Architect)

7. QP (Architect) applies to SCDF for Fire Safety Certificate (FSC).

8. Upon successful application, SCDF issues the Fire Safety Certificate (FSC). (approx. 1 week)

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E. FAQS

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1. Do I need to obtain other clearance before submitting to the Fire Safety Shelters Department (FSSD) for approval?

  • No. The FSSD’s submission procedure is independent  of other authority approval.

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2. If I am changing the layout within my existing shop/ commercial/ industrial unit, do I need to submit plans to SCDF for approval, and to obtain an Fire Safety Certificate (FSC)?

  • Yes. If you intend to change the layout of your unit, you are required to engage a Qualified Person(QP) to advise and to submit plans to the FSSD for approval.  This will be done in according to the workflow process listed in our item 5.

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3. After the completion of the addition & alteration works on my existing business premise, am I able to start operation prior to obtaining the FSC?

  • No.  Even if the business premise has been inspected by a Registered Inspected, a FSC must be obtained before you can commence operation on site.

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F. Do You Know?

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All business premises in Singapore have to comply fully with the  Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) fire safety requirements and obtain a Fire Safety Certificate(FSC) before they can be occupied. Build your knowledge with these 5 facts that all business owners should know regarding your work premises:

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DO YOU KNOW that failure to comply with FSSD guide will result in severe penalties?

According to the Fire Safety (Building Fire Safety) Regulations 1994, any person who: –            

  • Without lawful excuse refuses or neglects to  do anything which he / she is required to do;
  • Without lawful excuse fails to comply with the requirements of any notice served on    him;
  • Without lawful excuse acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any provision;

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.

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DO YOU KNOW how a fire compartment helps to protect your properties and save lives?

  • A fire compartment refers to a part of the building that is separated from all other parts of the same building.
  • The walls or floors have fire resistance. 
  • During an out break of fire these compartments help to contain the fire and prevent the spread of fire.
  • By having the compartmentation in place, the lives of the occupants can be saved effectively and damage to the property can be minimized.

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DO YOU KNOW that the architect is responsible for the site planning of a building for external fire fighting?

  • The architect has an important role to ensure that the fire-engines are able to access and park at a specific location known as the fire accessway for fire fighting purposes.
  • The coverage of fire hydrant and dry riser breeching inlets would have to be established at the beginning of the planning stage.

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DO YOU KNOW the importance of fire fighting systems and appliances in your business premise?

  • Fire fighting systems such as the automatic smoke detectors and sprinkler systems provide the immediate response to fire.
  • Alarms, stroke lights, emergency lights and exit signs.
  • These allow occupants to be alerted and evacuated quickly. 
  • The provision of  hosereels and fire extinguisher allow for the fire to be put out by the occupants directly prior to the arrival of the fire brigade. 

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DO YOU KNOW that failure to comply with fire safety regulations may affect your fire insurance claims?

  • If a fire breaks out in a property that does not comply with fire safety regulations or has  illegal alterations, the insurance company is likely to reject any claims of losses due to the result of negligence by the owner.

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