A Message from the CEO

This message is to clarify some misinformation which has unfortunately been circulated by a small number of individuals relating to our Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS).

Disappointingly, despite broad support from the community, regulators and the industry, some fundamentally incorrect information about the Scheme has been forwarded to regulators and other parties in an attempt to derail the strong success of the Scheme.

FPA Australia is extremely proud of the respect and good name that our brand commands and FPAS is an important part of this. With this in mind, it is necessary to clarify a number of items relating to the Scheme and make our position explicitly clear for all industry stakeholders.

It is my intention that this communication will draw a final line in the sand regarding facts and myths about the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme. Please see a few of these facts and myths outlined below.

Myth - If you work in the fire protection industry you must be part of FPAS

Fact -FPAS is a voluntary scheme available to individuals who wish to have their competence and experience recognised by a peak independent not-for-profit industry body.  It is not compulsory or referenced in regulation at this time but naturally recommended by FPA Australia. End users of fire protection industry services are seeking the use of accredited individuals to meet their expectations to use competent persons and protect their interests.

Myth - You must be an FPA Australia member to be part of the Scheme. FPAS allows for no external participation and is wholly run and ruled by FPA Australia

Fact - You do not need to be an FPA Australia member to be accredited under FPAS. Any person working in the classes of fire protection currently available is welcome to apply. There are currently many technicians accredited under the scheme who are not FPA Australia members or employees of member companies.

FPA Australia member companies that employ FPAS Accredited technicians can have their business recognised, however this is their choice. Business Recognition is a way of promoting businesses that hold the appropriate insurances and comply with a professional Code of Practice as well as committing to transitioning all of their Inspect and Test technicians to FPAS Accredited status. While there are clear benefits of Business Recognition, it is not a requirement for either FPA Australia members or non-members who employ FPAS Accredited technicians.

Myth - FPA Australia is unfairly using its strong relationships with government organisations to force them to recognise FPAS

Fact - Community expectations for the overall professionalisation of the fire protection industry have driven many regulators to encourage industry self-regulation to satisfy these expectations, without the burden of government regulation. It was only after significant demand from governments that FPA Australia established the scheme in the first instance, so it is fitting that some regulators and other statutory authorities should now choose to promote the Scheme and / or reference it in legislation.

Myth - The Scheme represents a restriction of trade that is being forced on me and I cannot continue to practice without it

Fact -FPAS is a voluntary scheme and therefore does not represent a restriction of trade.  If you are not Accredited by FPA Australia under the Scheme, this does not prevent you practicing subject to obtaining the necessary licences or registrations currently required by regulations for some activities in some jurisdictions.

Myth - I hold a Certificate III in Fire Protection (CPC32813) and I am therefore licensed to carry out all work in the fire protection industry 

Fact -If you are a qualified sprinkler fitter, and you have obtained the necessary licenses for the states / territories you work in, you can undertake a range of work focused on wet systems. Beyond this, there are no licences necessary to undertake the majority of work within the fire protection industry (with some exceptions in some states and the federal Extinguishing Agent Handling Licence permit scheme). The (voluntary) Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme accredits individuals based on specific units of competency that are aligned to specific work activities, many of which are outside the core units required by CPC32813. FPA Australia fully supports that anyone undertaking fire protection work should be trained, competent and licensed where required. However, simply holding a license does not mean an individual is competent in all disciplines of fire protection, as this is subject to the specific units of competency held.    

Myth - If you don't have current qualifications and competencies you cannot enter the Scheme without going back to school

Fact - FPAS incorporates three levels of accreditation; Trainee, Experienced and Qualified. Individuals with relevant experience can enter the Scheme and be accredited under the experienced category and are given ample time (up to 2 years for Inspect and Test Accreditation) to transition to the Qualified category. This transition can be achieved via recognition of prior learning (RPL), or through formal training and assessment.

Myth - FPA Australia has only developed FPAS to generate income and additional members

Fact - FPA Australia is a not-for-profit industry association.  The small application fees ($100 per year for Inspect and Test individual Accreditation) are necessary to cover the costs of delivering the Scheme. 

Membership of FPA Australia is not a prerequisite for entry into the scheme.  FPA Australia's motives are to improve the professionalism of the industry to meet community and regulator expectations, provide improved life safety and property protection outcomes and recognise individuals with minimum competencies and insurances to achieve these goals.

I hope the information above has clarified any confusion you may have held or misinformation you may have been provided. I look forward to now being able to move forward with the strong plans we have to expand FPAS to other classes of work in the industry and trust you will join us as we continue to lead the fire protection industry on this important journey to professionalism which will deliver improved fire safety outcomes for all.

For further information visit www.fpaa.com.au/fpas.

Warm regards

Scott Williams

FPA Australia - Chief Executive Officer