FPA Australia Pleased By Draft Report Into NSW Building Professionals Act
FPA Australia has commended the work of Mr Michael Lambert, who recently released his Draft Report into the NSW Building Professionals Act 2005.
The Report highlights some key failings of current regulation to address the competency of practitioners designing, installing, certifying, testing and maintaining lifesaving fire protection systems and equipment. In late 2014, the Assistant Minister for Planning (now the Minister for Planning), the Hon. Rob Stokes, appointed former Treasury Secretary Michael Lambert to conduct a broad review to examine certification and its application in the wider building industry.
Among the many important findings contained within the report, Mr Lambert has specifically recommended that fire safety regulation be reformed by "accreditation of suitably qualified and experienced persons for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire safety systems and that these same professionals be required to certify their work, preferably drawing upon the existing accreditation schemes developed by the relevant professional associations."
The report notes that "there is no certification process in place to properly assess fire safety systems and, while Fire and Rescue NSW has legislated responsibility to undertake a review role, it has neither the resources nor the technical capability to undertake this role, which in any case should not be its responsibility. There is clear evidence of non-compliant and hence unsafe fire safety systems in new and existing buildings."
Mr Lambert further noted that "there is clear evidence that the current system of checking to ensure the proper design, installation and maintenance of fire safety systems is not working."
FPA Australia Announced as Accrediting Body for Bushfire Practitioners in Western Australia
In August, the Western Australian government announced Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) as the first organisation to be recognised as an accrediting body for bushfire practitioners in accordance with the state's Bushfire Accreditation Framework released earlier this year.
FPA Australia has been working closely with the state government to develop an appropriate framework for the recognition of individuals who undertake bushfire assessments which is based on similar systems that are in operation in other parts of Australia.
The Framework sets out the government's road map for establishing a professional bushfire practitioner industry and is in response to recommendations made in an independent review into the Perth Hills bushfire which occurred in February 2011.
FPA Australia is the national peak body for fire safety that provides information, services and education to the fire protection industry and the community. Association CEO Scott Williams said the move was good news for the Western Australian Bushfire Planning industry and the community.
"This is a proactive and responsible approach from the Western Australian government and we are pleased to see such a positive move towards professional recognition for practitioners undertaking this important and potentially lifesaving work," he said.
"Ensuring that only appropriately skilled and competent practitioners are engaged to conduct bushfire planning work in Western Australia is critically important for maintaining community safety in bushfire prone areas."
FPA Australia Lodges Strong Submission to Senate Smoke Alarms Inquiry
FPA Australia has this week lodged a strong submission to the Federal Senate inquiry on the use of smoke alarms to prevent smoke and fire related deaths.
The submission considers the current requirements for smoke alarms under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and state and territory legislation for new and existing buildings to identify how these can be improved to prevent smoke and fire related deaths.
It explores the principles behind smoke alarms and their use to achieve their purpose: to detect fire in its initial development stage and provide early warning of the fire to allow occupants time to escape.
The submission also explores the variances in legislative requirements for smoke alarms in new and existing residential buildings in each state and territory.
The Association looks forward to the response of the Senate on these important issues. To learn more about the inquiry visit the website here.
Western Australia Launches False Fire Alarm Fee
The Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has recently announced a fee of $750 per attendance for the fourth false alarm experienced at any given site. The fines will continue to apply for every false alarm experienced after the first fine within any financial year.
The fee is part of an overall DFES strategy to minimise the number of false fire alarms attended by firefighters. It is anticipated that reducing the number of false fire alarms will help to resolve the following problems:
• firefighters being unable to attend to a genuine emergency;
• the ineffective use of DFES resources, which means that DFES is not serving the community as effectively as possible; and
• the increased risk to firefighters and the community when firefighting vehicles are driven under emergency conditions.
False fire alarms are a major issue in Australia. In 2014/15, firefighters responded to 9839 false fire alarm activations, or about 27 false fire alarm attendances each day.
To learn more about the new False Fire Alarm Fee you can download the brochure here or the fact sheet here. Alternatively can visit the website www.dfes.wa.gov.au or email email@example.com
Fire Protection Association Australia turns 55
2015 marks 55 years since the establishment of the Australian Fire Protection Association (AFPA) which would later go on to merge with the Fire Protection Industry Association Australia (FPIAA) forming one unified peak body to represent the broad range of fire protection activities undertaken in Australia.
Today, FPA Australia is stronger and more active than at any other time in our history. As well as offering all of the important services expected of a national peak industry Association, FPA Australia has:
• Launched our Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) the only nationally harmonised, industry run scheme for recognising fire protection professionals in Australia
• Strongly advocated for the national harmonisation and roll out of AS 1851-2012, ensuring best practice outcomes for routine inspection and testing of fire protection systems and equipment is possible in most Australian states and territories
• Moved to our outstanding new 1319m2 national office facility in Blackburn North, Melbourne which allows for further growth. The Association currently employs more than 30 staff in Melbourne and Sydney
• Accepted appointment to the Australian Building Codes Board's (ABCB) Building Codes Committee (BCC). The BCC is the peak technical advisory body tasked with considering technical matters related to the National Construction Code
• Built on the success of our national Bushfire Planning and Design Scheme (BPAD) for recognising bushfire practitioners, including recently being recognised by the Western Australian government as the first accrediting body for bushfire practitioners working in that state
• Launched our Workplace Relations service, ensuring that members have access to high quality workplace relations services including tailored sprinkler and electrical enterprise agreements for the fire protection industry and much more
FPA Australia would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the industry, either through membership, event attendance, education and training activities or through other channels. We look forward to continuing momentum in supporting the industry and the community in the protection of life, property and the environment for many more years to come.
EAHL Training Special (Licence 2 & 3) - Members Price $1650
FPA Australia specialises in the provision of training and assessment required to enable technicians to apply for a Qualified Persons' Extinguishing Agent Handling Licence (EAHL).
Individuals who handle certain extinguishing agents require an EAHL unless exempted. These requirements are imposed by the Federal Government. Our EAHL Licence training products are delivered as self-study units, where each student enrols and receives materials to work through in their own time and pace.
We are currently offering a special offer including up to 50% off training for EAHL Licences 2 & 3 for our members. For more details on this special offer, click here.
Once self-study has taken place, students can then enrol in one of the regular assessment sessions in order to be assessed. FPA Australia acknowledges that complying with the licence requirements is an added expense, therefore we are aiming to assist our members wherever possible through the provision of discounted training and assessment.
To learn more about FPA Australia's training options click here.
DHHS Fire Risk Management Guidelines - Extra Seminar Added - Wednesday October 21
FPA Australia and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will hold a second seminar on the Guidelines for Fire Risk Management on Wednesday October 21, after the first session on September 23 sold out in record time.
At the seminar, three leading experts will present on the implementation of the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Capital Development Guidelines for Fire Risk Management at FPA Australia National Office, Blackburn North, Victoria.
In particular, the seminar will address issues that have arisen in relation to compliance to guidelines and statutory requirements. The Practice Notes issued in 2015 will also be covered.
Fire Risk Management Accredited Practitioners and other persons with an interest in the fire risk management guidelines are encouraged to attend.
The session will include information on Fire Performance of Materials, approaches to material assessments, testing, assessment criteria and compliance to Guidelines.
Practitioners must attend this seminar in order to satisfy requirements to undertake work on any DHHS managed or owned building in Victoria.
Hank Van Ravenstein Principal Manager Fire Risk Management Unit Department of Health & Human Services
Dr Ian Bennetts Consultant Fire Safety Engineer Fire Risk Management Unit Department of Health & Human Services
Stephen Kip Fire Safety Engineer & Building Regulatory Consultant SKIP Consulting
Date: Wednesday 21 October 2015 Time: 2:00pm for 2:15pm to 4:15pm Cost: Members $30, Non-Members $40 Capacity: This event is strictly limited to 80 attendees Venue: FPA Australia National Office Building 2, 31-47 Joseph St Blackburn North, VIC Parking: View the parking guide here
Sprinkler / Electrical Enterprise Agreements Expire Soon - Help Us To Better Understand Your Business Needs
2015 sees a number of enterprise agreements scheduled for renewal across the fields of sprinkler fitting and electrical work.
With this in mind, FPA Australia has compiled a short survey to obtain views and feedback, which will help to shape our response concerning the renewal of these agreements. It will also ultimately help tailor what support and assistance we are able to offer members in this important area.
We ask that you complete this survey to assist in the further development of our enterprise agreements and also to help us provide contemporary, engaging and professional workplace relations services that add real value for your business.
FPA Australia acknowledges there are several industry associations / bodies providing a range of varying services to the industry. The sole focus of FPA Australia is to provide a comprehensive support structure to its members working in the broader fire protection industry, irrespective of sprinkler fitting, electrical, or any other fire protection discipline.
We believe our initiatives will help reduce the fragmented array of services currently available by combining everything you require from an industry peak body, including workplace relations support, without unnecessary duplication or expense.
We greatly appreciate your time in completing this survey and we look forward to your feedback.
New State & Territory Membership Group Terms of Reference Coming Soon
FPA has recently completed a review of the operation of State and Territory Membership Groups (STMG's) which were introduced in May 2014, replacing State Divisional Committees.
STMG's were introduced to broaden the Association's engagement with all members and establish a two way communication channel to discuss and resolve a range of matters of importance to members and to provide updates on key issues affecting the fire protection industry.
As part of the introduction of STMG's, the Association gave a commitment to review their operation and function within the first 12 months of introduction to assess whether the objectives foreshadowed as part of the transition from State Committees to STMG's were being achieved.
The outcome of the preliminary review led to a rewrite of the Terms of Reference and Guidelines for the operation of STMG's. The initial draft of this document was completed in March and after some further discussion with key stakeholders, the Terms of Reference and Guidelines for the operation of STMG's has now been finalised.
In the next few weeks, these documents will be provided to all FPA Australia members and then made available on our website. After this time we will commence the process of calling for nominations for positions on each of these important groups.
If you have any questions regarding the new arrangements, please contact our Engagement and Education Department on (03) 8892 3131 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outstanding Achievements by Two FPA Australia Members - Executive Risk Solutions (ERS) and Essential Safety Solutions (ESS)
FPA Australia is proud to congratulate two of our outstanding Corporate members, Executive Risk Solutions (ERS) and Essential Safety Solutions (ESS) on some recent achievements.
Based in Perth, Corporate gold member ERS was recently named as the 2015 Telstra WA Business Of the Year Overall Winner. ERS also took out the category of Medium Business winner.
The Association is proud of the work undertaken by Mr Scott Houston and his team to build the fantastic ERS business, which today provides support to individuals and businesses in high risk sectors, including fire protection.
ERS employs 110 highly trained individuals with backgrounds in police, special forces, fire and emergency services and each of these employees are congratulated for their efforts in achieving this fantastic accolade.
Additionally, Melbourne based Corporate silver member Essential Safety Solutions (ESS) has recently achieved triple ISO Certification, namely ISO 9001(Quality Management Systems), AS/NZ 4801 (Occupational health and Safety Management Systems) and ISO 140001 (Environmental Management).
Impressively, the certification was achieved entirely paperlessly, with the ESS team using digital-only processes to store and maintain information for audits.
FPA Australia again congratulates Executive Risk Solutions and Essential Safety Solutions on their achievements. If you know an FPA Australia member doing great things, email us at email@example.com.
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.