FPA Australia Joins the ABCB Building Codes Committee
FPA Australia is excited to announce that the Association has recently been appointed as a member of the Australian Building Codes Board’s (ABCB) Building Codes Committee (BCC).
The ABCB is responsible for the publication of the National Construction Code (NCC) which currently includes the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA). The Building Codes Committee (BCC) is the ABCB's peak building technical advisory body.
The BCC is a valuable national forum for regulatory authorities and industry to consider technical matters relevant to building regulation reform and plays an active role in assisting the Board in meeting its obligations under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Guidelines and the Intergovernmental Agreement. The BCC also provides advice and guidance to the ABCB office at key stages of technical projects and on the overall direction and development process for technical projects.
As the leading fire protection organisation in Australia, FPA Australia welcomes the opportunity to represent fire protection matters alongside the pre-eminent organisations on the committee including governments at all levels and all peak industry and community bodies relating to the built environment.
BCC representation will assist in raising the profile of fire protection issues and participation and engagement with the BCC will also compliment the Association’s ongoing activities with State and Territory regulators and Standards Australia in increasing national consistency and best practice.
The next meeting of the BCC is in October 2014 and FPA Australia looks forward to being a valuable source of information and expertise to assist ABCB in achieving its goals. To view the full list of organisations on the Building Codes Committee click here.
Position Statement-05 Product compliance and evidence of suitability Released
FPA Australia has long advocated that fire protection products sold in Australia are fit for purpose, have been appropriately tested and have received any necessary certification. Now the Association has formalised this position with the recent release of Position Statement 05 - product compliance and evidence of suitability.
Significant concerns relate to the diverse options available for demonstrating product compliance and the inconsistency of the rigour which can be applied to the development and approval of evidence of suitability under each of these options.
Some of the less robust options have the potential to be abused and this poses a risk to the community. Testing product to recognised standards is a necessary investment in quality assurance that should always form part of preparing evidence of suitability.
Australia has migrated from a local and controlled product compliance market to a more dynamic and flexible compliance landscape that is predicated on supporting free-trade and providing export opportunities for Australian manufacturers. Australia, as a signatory to the World Trade Organisation agreement on reducing technical barriers to trade, is obliged where possible to accept overseas products in the Australian market.
This has introduced the need for reciprocal acceptance of local and foreign product approval however it has also introduced difficulties in ensuring foreign products meet local performance standards. As a result, the Australian market is now trading in products that may, or may not, have demonstrated that they satisfy the same performance criteria.
The Position Statement has been extensively researched and should provide a useful tool for manufacturers, suppliers and end users of fire protection systems and equipment. It will also form the basis of an increase in the treatment of product compliance issues by the Association in the future. The Position Statement is free to download from the FPA Australia website. Simply visit www.fpaa.com.au/technical and select the Position Statement from the technical documents tab.
NSW Government Tender Document Released With FPAS Requirement
The NSW Government, via the Department of Finance & Services, has recently released a significant tender document for a range of fire protection work.
The tender, which applies to state-wide services for fire safety systems and associated equipment including maintenance and professional & training services, is one of the largest fire protection contracts in Australia.
Importantly, this tender specifically requires interested businesses conducting inspect and test / maintenance work to employ individuals with Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) accreditation. This is the first time (that the Association is aware of) that a state government has specifically cited FPAS as a requirement in its tender process.
Section 1.8.1 of the Statement of Requirements and Schedules for the tender reads as follows:
1.8.1 Qualified Personnel
The supplier must ensure that all personnel are competent as defined by AS 1851-2012.
"A person who has acquired through training, qualification, experience, or a combination of these, the knowledge and skill enabling them to correctly perform the required task."
Competence based solely on experience is deemed insufficient to meet this requirement.
Evidence of completion or enrolment in Fire Protection Association of Australia (FPA) Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) training and accreditation scheme is deemed to satisfy this requirement.
The cost of training shall be borne by the supplier.
The inclusion of FPAS as a requirement in this significant tender marks a major milestone for the advancement of the Scheme, which has seen steady progress since its launch in July 2013.
To read the full version of this story click here.
To access the tender document visit the NSW Government E-tendering website here. To learn more about FPAS visit the web page here or call FPA Australia on 03 8892 3131.
Extra Discounts on Logbooks for FPAS Recognised Businesses
In recognition of the commitment to industry professionalism made by Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) Recognised Businesses, FPA Australia is pleased to offer these companies a new, extra discount on the full suite of our AS 1851 logbooks (2005 and 2012 editions).
From today, Recognised Businesses are eligible to receive another 10 percent discount on all logbook orders in addition to their corporate member prices. This can represent a significant saving for eligible businesses, particularly when used in conjunction with membership vouchers.
In order to redeem the discount, Recognised Business owners are simply required to cite their Recognised Business number (found on their certificate) at the time of purchase. This offer is valid until June 30, 2015.
You can check out all of the FPAS Recognised Businesses via our new Recognised Business rotator on the home page of the FPA Australia website. To learn more about becoming an FPAS Recognised Business visit the FPAS webpage here. To purchase AS 1851 logbooks visit the Sales Centre here.
AS 1851-2012 Formally Adopted in Queensland
FPA Australia has warmly welcomed the announcement by Building Codes Queensland (BCQ) that AS 1851-2012 will be the State's required maintenance standard for fire protection work.*
Amendments to the Queensland Development Code (QDC) Mandatory Part 6.1 (MP 6.1) - Commissioning and maintenance of fire safety installations have now taken effect, formalising the adoption of the 2012 edition of Australian Standard AS 1851 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment.
A six month transition period now applies during which MP 6.1 will reference both the 2005 and 2012 editions of AS 1851. The transition period will apply until 31 December 2014. From 1 January 2015, only the 2012 edition of AS 1851 will be able to be used to meet the requirements of MP 6.1.
Importantly, the adoption of AS 1851-2012 will deliver a reduction in red tape and provide savings for building owners, while still protecting the safety of building occupants.
FPA Australia has strongly advocated for the adoption of the new standard in Queensland, as part of the industry working group convened by BCQ.
To read the full version of this article click here. (*Alternative solutions or manufacturers requirements are permitted to vary AS 1851-2012 according to these specific requirements).
Ozone Protection Act Review - FPA Australia Delivers its Submission
On 23 May 2014, Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt announced a comprehensive review of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (The Act), and its associated legislation, to ensure continued protection of the environment, while reducing complexity for business and individuals who operate under the legislation.
The Department of the Environment has sought submissions responding to the Terms of Reference from all interested businesses and members of the community. FPA Australia commends the Australian Government’s recent actions to review the Act and has recently made a detailed submission on the changes.
As the leading fire protection organisation we are committed to working collaboratively with the Australian Government and as such we are happy to have accepted the invitation to participate on the technical working group providing support to the review.
As the fire protection industry permit scheme administered by the Fire Protection Industry (ODS & SGG) Board is now well established, FPA Australia believes more stringent adherence to the Regulations by the fire protection industry is expected. In this regard FPA Australia notes the requirement to use only licensed technicians when handling Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (SGG) extinguishing agents provides a very important step within the fire protection industry to train and develop a competent workforce.
FPA Australia strongly advocates the importance of ensuring technicians are appropriately trained and assessed to handle ODS and SGG extinguishing agents used in the fire protection industry.
At the same time the Association will continue to identify opportunities to prevent the unnecessary discharge of any scheduled ODS and SGG extinguishing agents and improve awareness of the safety risks.
Information Bulletin IB-09 Application of Primary and Secondary Reference Documents Released
FPA Australia has recently released Information Bulletin 09 - Application of Primary and Secondary Reference Documents under the Building Code of Australia.
IB-09 is an important document which explains what edition of Australian Standards, and other documents referenced by the Building Code of Australia, must be used to meet the deemed-to-satisfy provisions of the BCA.
The Information Bulletin also discusses how you can adopt the latest version of a standard if it is not applicable under the existing BCA deemed-to-satisfy provisions.
You can download the Information Bulletin by visiting www.fpaa.com.au/technical and selecting "Technical Documents". FPA Australia members can also access all technical documents at connect.fpaa.com.au.
Victorian DHS Releases Practice Notes on its Fire Risk Management Guidelines
As part of its service provision mandate, the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to providing safe and secure buildings for its staff and customers/clients. A critical part of this commitment is the development of the Fire Risk Management Strategy (FRMS).
As presented to FPA Australia members and industry at briefings in late 2013, the suite of Capital Development Guidelines- Series 7 Fire Risk Management have recently been reviewed and improved by the Department.
The Guidelines assist in achieving compliance with the obligations of the Department and the Director of Housing for fire risk management in buildings that are operated or funded by the Department for the accommodation of people under statutory supervision of the Secretary of the Department of Human Services, Secretary of the Department of Health, Director of Housing or an Agency.
To further support the consistent implementation of the Guidelines, The Department has produced a suite of six practice notes which set out common procedures and issues that apply to the Guidelines and must be taken into account as part of the Guidelines.
The Practice Notes provide guidance on the required practice of accredited fire safety engineers, building surveyors, building inspectors and auditors dealing with particular issues and provide greater consistency and certainty in interpreting the Guidelines and its procedures.
The Practice Notes do not contain all of the Guideline procedures and must be read in conjunction with the Guidelines. To view the Guidelines and the related practice notes, click here to be directed to the DHS website.
Enterprise Agreements - A Right, Not A Requirement
Recently, Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) advised that it has received reports of people being told they need an enterprise agreement to operate on sites.
The following sets out the FWBC statement, which states that this is not correct. Employers and employees have the right to make an enterprise agreement but it is not a requirement.
Employers can pay employees under the award system instead of negotiating an enterprise agreement. An enterprise agreement can be tailored to meet the needs of particular employees while awards cover a whole industry or occupation.
Enterprise agreements can include the following:
Rates of pay
Employment conditions such as hours of work, meal breaks, overtime
Dispute resolution procedures
Deductions from wages for any purpose authorised by an employee
It is also important for employers and employees to know that they are not required to have a specific enterprise agreement for an aspect of their work such as abseiling or scaffolding.
FWBC states that if an employer feels bullied or threatened to have an enterprise agreement then the employer may be the target of coercion.
Accordingly, if an employer believes that this may be happening or has happened to them, they should call the FWBC hotline on 1800 003 338 to speak to the FWBC confidentially.
All industrial action or threatened industrial action should be reported to the FWBC as soon as practicable. The FWBC website can be found at www.fwbc.gov.au. FPA Australia members with workplace relations questions should contact Richard Krajewski, FPA Australia Workplace Relations Manager on 03 8892 3133.
Fire Protection Association Australia | Building 2, 31-47 Joseph Street, Blackburn North, VIC 3130 | 1300 731 922
The opinion or information
provided to you in the FireSignals e-newsletter (verbal, written,
electronic or by any other means) is forwarded in good faith on behalf
of FPA Australia. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of any organisation with which the author is associated (including FPA Australia). FPA Australia or the
individuals providing this opinion / information do not accept any
responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the opinion /
information provided, nor do they accept either directly or indirectly
any liabilities, losses and damages arising from the use and application of this opinion / information. FPA Australia does not endorse or
support any of the advertising businesses or products in the FireSignals e-newsletter. All advertising businesses or products appearing in
FireSignals e-newsletter do so at their own cost.