Are You Ready for the New Maintenance Standard in Queensland? Seminars 16-19 September
Recent changes made to MP6.1 of the Queensland Development Code have adopted AS 1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment, meaning there is a need for practical education on the new standard before it becomes mandatory on 1 January 2015.
Over two days these seminars will provide an overview of the changes included in the 2012 version of AS 1851 and how they will impact fire protection technicians, building owners and other stakeholders in QLD.
The seminars will be held in Townsville September 16 & 17 and in Brisbane on September 18 & 19. To view time and location details and to register download the brochure.
This seminar program has two parts: a regulatory compliance session and various technical sessions. The regulatory compliance session has been designed to inform a broad range of stakeholders on the changes to the regulatory requirements covering maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment for existing buildings.
This session is most relevant to building owners, occupiers, facility managers and those with a responsibility for maintenance and will address:
Changes to the regulatory requirements
The responsibilities of building owners and tenants in meeting regulatory compliance requirements
Understanding the administrative requirements of AS 1851-2012
The technical sessions are primarily targeted at fire protection companies and their technicians and will provide details of the technical requirements of AS 1851-2012.
The sessions have been divided up to provide a focused presentation on the various areas of fire protection systems and equipment. Day one will address Electrical (Fire Detection and Alarm Systems) and Wet (Water Based Fire Protection) systems.
Day two will cover Passive Fire and Smoke Systems and First Attack Fire Equipment as well as a brief overview of the regulatory and administrative requirements for those only attending this day. Delegates can choose to attend just the regulatory session, one or both days.
Seminar speakers Include:
Chris Wyborn – Engagement & Education Manager, Fire Protection Association Australia
Shane O’Brien – Principal Advisor, Building Codes Queensland
John Harrison – Manager, Places of Public Assembly and Unwanted Alarms Unit Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
Chris Lee – Fire Safety Consultant, FERM Engineering
Stephen Burton – Fire Safety Engineer, FERM Engineering
To learn more about the seminars and to register download the registration brochure here or contact the FPA Australia events team on 03 8892 3131 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about FPA Australia's AS 1851-2012 logbooks, click here.
Fire Cable Recall Highlights Real Fire Safety Risks of Non-Conforming Products
The nationwide recall of substandard electrical cables is just one of many potential fire risks from unsafe products that are currently being sold in Australia according to the peak body for fire safety, Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia).
The ACCC last week issued a full recall of the faulty Infinity Cable Co cable, which was sold in major retailers including Masters and Home Timber & Hardware stores in 2012 and 2013 and is estimated to have been installed in around 40,000 homes and businesses.
While the impacted sites will now have the cabling replaced, this comes at great cost and the incident highlights a much larger issue around inferior quality products that do not meet minimum fire and safety requirements being openly sold on the Australian market.
FPA Australia applauds the strong enforcement action taken by the ACCC in issuing a recall in this case, but also believes much more should be done to resolve non-conforming building and construction products being sold in the first instance.
FPA Australia CEO Scott Williams said non-conforming products were a continuing issue of community safety, especially where fire risks were involved.
"While the action taken by the ACCC is to be praised, it is only the tip of the iceberg with regard to product conformance and is a reaction long after non-compliant product was sold and installed," he said.
"Inferior and potentially dangerous products have been, and continue to be, sold in Australia for building and construction purposes and these products routinely end up being installed in all types of construction, from family homes right up to major public and commercial buildings."
"Frighteningly, the resulting safety issues are often not picked up until many years later, if at all."
"In instances where such products may dramatically increase the risk of fire, such as the cables that were recalled last week, it is easy to see the potential deadly consequences of such non-compliance. This is why there are established minimum standards in Australia, but there is a current lack of scrutiny and general complacency at point-of-sale and installation that means product may not always meet these expectations.
"The hard truth is that, in the rush to reduce technical barriers to trade and generate import and export opportunities, government has established multiple options for product compliance with varying assessment rigour."
FPA Australia has recently released a Position Statement regarding Product Compliance and Evidence of Suitability. This Position Statement advocates that fire protection products required to be installed by legislation and/or installed in pursuit of life safety, property protection and environmental protection, must be "fit for the purpose for which they are intended" to achieve minimum safety standards and to maintain consumer confidence.
To view the full media release from FPA Australia click here, to view the recall information on the ACCC website click here.
Fire Protection Maintenance Now Required in WA - Good Practice Guide Updated
Following the publication of AS 1851-2012 in December 2012, FPA Australia produced a Good Practice Guide, GPG03, to provide practical guidance on the regulatory framework relating to the maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment in each state and territory and the use of AS 1851-2012.
Since this GPG was released, the Association has continued to advocate for regulators to amend their regulatory requirements to allow for the automatic adoption of AS 1851-2012 as industry best practice. This advocacy has recently resulted in positive regulatory change in Western Australia where, for the first time, a state-wide regulation (Regulation 48A WA Building Regulations 2012, amended 2014) now requires building owners of existing Class 2 to Class 9 buildings to ensure that safety measures in each part of the building are capable of performing as expected.
This new Western Australian regulation has created the requirement for the routine servicing and preventative maintenance of safety measures to be conducted to demonstrate the required performance of safety measures is being achieved and is written in a way that allows AS 1851-2012 to be automatically adopted as industry best practice to perform this task.
Changes in Tasmania and Queensland have also been captured in the updated GPG. Other changes captured include the status of requirements in the ACT where the previous ACT Fire Brigade Policy FS-05 has been withdrawn and how the Northern Territory regulations have been affected by the deletion of part I and associated Northern Territory part I variation from the Building Code of Australia.
FPA Australia is working with regulators in these jurisdictions and is continuing to advocate for regulatory changes in Victoria where the sun-setting of the regulations is providing an opportunity for comprehensive review, and South Australia where significant changes are required. Table 3 from the GPG provides a snapshot of the current status regarding AS1851-2012 adoption by state and territory.
Non-members can view a sample of the updated GPG here, while FPA Australia members can download the full document from CONNECT.
One Year On - FPAS Reaches 500 Accredited Technicians
More than 500 individual technicians have now taken up accreditation under the The Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS).
The Scheme, which was launched in July of 2013, continues to go from strength-to-strength and now also includes 20 Recognised Businesses and the wide-ranging support of regulators and other industry stakeholders.
Recent examples of this support include the NSW Government's inclusion of FPAS in its largest tender, and the Victorian Government's upcoming requirement that all Department of Human Services Buildings be serviced exclusively by FPAS accredited technicians.
In order to measure the success of the engagement with the FPAS scheme among members and related stakeholders, the Association recently undertook a survey of the scheme's State & Territory Stakeholder Consultation Groups.
The survey revealed that more than three quarters of respondents (76%) have read articles and / or seen advertisements relating to the scheme in recent months. In addition, two thirds of respondents (65%) indicated they had heard conversations occurring among stakeholders throughout the fire protection industry and / or other industries, about FPAS.
Finally, the majority of respondents (88%) also indicated that the Scheme would have even greater impact in the future as it gains further additional momentum.
The Association takes this opportunity to thank the 500 individual technicians and 20 recognised businesses that are leading the way by becoming the first to enter the FPAS scheme. For more information about FPAS contact Accreditation & Licensing on 03 8892 3131.
NSW Home Building Act Review - FPA Australia Provides Strong Response
In July 2014 the NSW Government - Office of Fair Trading, released a Regulatory Impact Statement seeking public comment on a draft of new proposed home building regulation, which will replace the current regulation, and incorporate changes that are necessary to:
Implement the outcomes of the Review of the Home Building Act 1989;
Implement the Home Building Amendment Act 2014;
Fast-track some key recommendations made by the Independent Pricing Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in its draft report, Reforming Licensing in NSW and
Implement some other machinery, insurance, licensing and fee changes
FPA Australia provided comments on the proposed regulations. It is the view of the Association that the review of the Home Building Regulations presents an opportunity to clearly confirm the licence prerequisites for practitioners involved in all fire protection work, in particular fire sprinkler systems, due to the increased use of this measure in NSW since the retrospective reforms requiring fire sprinklers to be installed in nursing homes were introduced.
Specifically, the Association has advocated that all wet-system fire protection work not be classed together into one licence category, due to the difference in knowledge skills and competency required between tasks such as installing automatic fire sprinklers compared with installing fire hydrants or hose reels.
Importantly, the Association questions why fire protection plumbing is included as a licence category under the proposed regulations, without other equally important areas of fire protection work requiring licenses. As a result, FPA Australia does not support the proposed transitional licensing arrangements.
To read the Association's full submission, click here. To learn more about the Home Building Act Review, click here.
Workplace Relations Services Now Live
In August FPA Australia formally launched a range of employee/employer relations services as part of its new Workplace Relations Department.
FPA Australia members can now access a range of important free information from the Association's member resource platform CONNECT, including legislative information, economic data, wage trends and other general workplace advice. Many more documents will be uploaded over comings weeks.
In the near future, members will also have the option to subscribe to a dedicated Workplace Relations 'Infoline' that will include customised, individual advice on workplace matters and the ability to utilise FPA Australia's tailored enterprise agreements and other employment related documents such as workplace policies and procedures, certificates of service and deeds of release.
Historically, fire protection has not been recognised as an individual sector of industry in Australia and this has meant that few professional, tailored and cost effective workplace services have existed to support fire protection businesses.
This has led to significant challenges for fire protection business owners, who have had no option but to use a fragmented and expensive framework of agreements and contracts that were designed for other trades, due to a lack of support dedicated to fire protection.
The Workplace Relations Department will address these gaps with a range of customised services including enterprise agreements, workplace polices and guidelines, mediation and conciliation assistance, economic data and WHS support. Members who access the Workplace Relations Infoline will receive personalised service and follow-up support, with all information provided being specifically tailored to the fire protection industry.
To read more click here. To contact the Workplace Relations Department please call 03 8892 3131.
Changes to Bushfire Policy & Regulations - VIC and QLD
Recent changes to Victoria’s bushfire planning regulations have provided more flexibility for landowners to develop their land, clear vegetation, and use bushfire defences tailored to their property.
These reforms allow alternative planning measures and regulations to be considered, which may enable people to reduce their defendable space and build to a lower Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating.
The reforms have also introduced, for the first time in Australia, the ability for private bushfire shelters to be used as a trade-off for reduced bushfire construction measures.
Meanwhile, the Brisbane City Council has recently released its long awaited Brisbane City Plan 2014, which includes a Bushfire Planning Scheme Policy.
The new Plan specifically cites FPA Australia's Bushfire Planning & Design Scheme as a means for professionals with expertise in bushfire planning to demonstrate their competence.
To find out more about the changes to the Victorian planning regulations click here To find out more about the Brisbane City Plan 2014 click here.
Free Seminar - Tyco Water Suppression Technical Symposium
In September Tyco Fire Protection Products is holding a series of free technical symposiums on water suppression in several cities across Australia and New Zealand.
The topics from city to city will vary based on collective feedback from attendees from the past years. Details of the Australian seminars are as follows:
The guest speaker will be Mr. James Golinveaux, senior fellow, Tyco Fire Protection Products. James brings with him more than 30 solid years of expertise in the fire protection industry particularly in water based fire suppression systems. These symposiums are about sharing knowledge and perspectives.
Who Should Attend
Whether you design fire protection systems or are responsible for the fire suppression systems of a facility or a community, you are welcome to attend, discuss and learn about specific applications and their impact on the industry in the coming years.
There is no cost to attend this technical seminar. Please select the city you wish to attend from the list above. We encourage you to register early to avoid disappointment. Registration is based on first-come-first-served basis.
Cabletalk Winter Out Now & Available to Download
The Winter 2014 edition of the CableTalk newsletter has recently been released and features a number of important articles for registered cablers.
This edition includes information on the new requirements for specialised cabling that have recently taken effect, news about how to use the Telecommunications Advice form (TCA1) and guidance on the requirements for cabling in high voltage (HV) buildings.
To read CableTalk Winter click here. For more information about cabling registration with FPA Australia email email@example.com.
Fire Protection Association Australia | Building 2, 31-47 Joseph Street, Blackburn North, VIC 3130 | 1300 731 922
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