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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions 

 

1.What is the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS)?

2. Why does the fire protection industry need accreditation?

3. What can accreditation do for me as a fire protection technician?

4. Do I have to be part of the Scheme?

5. How much will it cost for individuals or businesses?

6. How do I get individual accreditation?

7. What are the different types of individual accreditation?

8. What does transitional accreditation mean?

9. What are classes, categories and levels?

10. How much will it cost me to get the required competencies / qualifications

11.What can FPAS do for my business?

12. How do I get my business recognised?

13. I already hold another licence (BSA, EAHL etc.) Should I also gain FPAS accreditation?

14.  Do I automatically gain Qualified Accreditation if I hold a vocational trade such as an electrician or a plumber?

15. Is it possible for me to hold Qualified status in some categories and Experienced status  in others?

 

1.What is the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS)?

 The Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) is a voluntary national accreditation system designed to recognise and promote individuals with the minimum skills, knowledge and competencies required of professional fire protection technicians, as well as the businesses that support these individuals.

 

The Scheme is a vital component of ongoing efforts by the broader fire protection industry and the Association to increase the level of competence in our industry workforce; leading to improved fire safety outcomes for the community.

 

2. Why does the fire protection industry need accreditation?

 The fire protection industry has been criticised by various sectors of the community in response to some high-profile fire incidents over recent years. Criticism has particularly related to a lack of regulation, variations in levels of competency and standards of service delivery among fire protection industry workers, supervision, training and the lack of a national skills based accreditation such as FPAS in the fire protection workforce.

 

The current fragmented patchwork of regulation in Australia means it is often difficult and complex for consumers to determine if a fire protection contractor operating on their site has the appropriate skills and is competent. In addition, fire protection technicians moving from state to state have, in the past, struggled to map their skills across to the different requirements under each jurisdiction.

 

The Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme delivers significant benefits both for industry and the community. For end users, it provides confidence, thanks to the ability to validate individual fire protection technicians via their accreditation cards. For accredited individuals and recognised businesses, it provides a powerful marketing tool that is managed and governed by the peak national body for the industry - FPA Australia. 

 

3. What can accreditation do for me as a fire protection technician?

Individual accreditation under FPAS demonstrates to customers, employers, regulators and peers that you hold the minimum skills, knowledge and competencies required of a professional fire protection technician in Australia. Formal recognition of your skills, knowledge and competencies is an important gateway to a nationally recognised career pathway in the fire protection industry.

 

4. Do I have to be part of the Scheme?

No, the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme is entirely voluntary. However there are significant benefits for individuals and businesses that elect to be part of the scheme. Additionally, State and Federal governments as well as state and territory building & construction regulators are all fully aware of the Scheme and may choose to recognise FPAS either informally or through legislative provisions, now or in the future.

 

5. How much will it cost for individuals or businesses?

FPAS is financed through a fee-based system and these fees apply to both individual accreditation and recognised business.

 

Individual accreditation is subject to a two (2) year accreditation fee of $200.

There is no fee for Recognised Business status.

Status changes are subject to status change fee, this includes the addition or removal of categories and/or levels for both individual accreditation or business recognition.

 

Individual Accreditation Fee Example:

 

An individual fire protection technician will be required to pay a two (2) year accreditation fee of $200, which includes one or more applicable categories.  Training fees will vary depending on individual requirements (see question 10.) Fees will also be applicable for status changes ($44 per status change).

 

All prices listed are inclusive of GST.

 

6. How do I get individual accreditation?

Individuals who submit an application to FPAS have the option of entering under two accreditation pathways. The Transitional pathway recognises those individuals who have worked in the industry for a significant period of time and hold the required skills, but may not be qualified or may be part qualified but have not attained the necessary units of competency. These individuals will be required to obtain any additional units of competency within a 24-month period. The qualified pathway, on the other hand, recognises those individuals who are already qualified and who have obtained all units of competency required to undertake work in their chosen work categories.

 

7. What are the different types of individual accreditation?

There are three types of individual accreditation, Qualified, Transitional and Trainee. Ultimately, all technicians who participate in the national FPAS accreditation scheme must transition to Qualified status, either by demonstrating they hold the required competencies or by attaining the required competencies through recognition of prior learning (RPL). Individuals who hold Qualified status are easily recognised as they hold an FPAS accreditation card with a green band. Technicians with Transitional status carry cards with blue bands while Trainee technicians hold yellow banded cards.

 

 

8. What does transitional accreditation mean?

Individuals with Transitional or Trainee status will have 24 months to transition to 'Qualified' status. This occurs through evaluation of the required units of competency necessary for work in each selected category. The full matrix of units required for each category can be found in the FPAS Indvidual Qualified Accreditation Fact Sheet on pages 5-6. 

 

 

9. What are classes, categories and levels?

 Class

 

'Class' refers to the class of work being undertaken. At the launch of the scheme only the 'Inspect and Test' class is initially being accredited, however other classes will come on-stream over time. These include, design, install & commission, certify and maintain.

 

Categories

 

Categories are the types of fire systems and equipment worked on by fire protection technicians. FPAS accredited fire protection technicians may elect to only be accredited to work in one or two categories, depending on the scope and requirements of their daily duties.

 

The categories accredited under the Inspect & Test Class are:

 

Fire Sprinkler Systems (R, C)

Fire Pumpsets (R,C)

Fire Hydrant Systems (R, C)

Fire Detection and Alarm Systems (R, C)

Gaseous Fire Suppression Systems (C)

Pre-engineered Fire Suppression Systems (non-gaseous) (C)

Portable Fire Equipment & Fire Hose Reels (C)

Fire and Smoke Doors (C)

Fire Seals and Collars (C), and

Exit and Emergency Lighting (C).

 

Levels

 

Within each category under the 'Inspect & Test' class, there may be one or two levels. These levels are indicated by the 'R & C' in the list above. R represents 'Routine' and C represents 'Complex'. Individuals accredited with Routine (R) in a given category have been deemed competent to conduct Inspect & Test activities up to and including six (6) monthly as described in AS 1851-2012. Individuals accredited with Complex (C) in a given category have been deemed competent to conduct those activities for Routine Level (R) and generally those activities conducted annually as described in AS 1851-2012.

 

10. How much will it cost me to get the required competencies / qualifications

 The costs associated with training may differ. Many individuals working in the industry will already hold some units or even full certificates, while others may not have completed any nationally recognised training (NRT). In addition, some experienced individuals may be eligible for recognition of prior learning, meaning they would not require learning materials and would be able to progress directly through to assessment, thereby reducing their costs and fast tracking the FPAS accreditation process.

 

 

11.What can FPAS do for my business?

 A business entity that has achieved recognised business status under the scheme demonstrates to regulators, other practitioners and customers that it supports industry best practice by engaging accredited fire protection technicians. In addition FPA Australia will actively highlight recognised businesses on the FPA Australia website (www.fpaa.com.au), creating a competitive advantage for recognised over non-recognised businesses. FPA Australia will also provide marketing materials to help promote recognised business status, including logos and other branded material.

  

12. How do I get my business recognised?

"Recognised Business" is open to all businesses that engage appropriately accredited fire protection technicians to provide services in each category for which the business provides a service.  Business entities awarded business recognition are bound by a professional code of practice by holding FPA Australia Corporate membership. At the commencement of the scheme for a business to be recognised you must engage one or more accredited technicians, and commit to transitioning the majority of your workforce toward individual accreditation. The current plan is that a business entity will migrate 25 percent of its workforce each year so that after four years the entire workforce will be accredited. This timeframe takes into consideration affordability and access to training. As the Scheme provides for both Qualified and Experienced (transitional) accreditation, sufficient numbers of fire protection technicians will be accredited under the scheme to support the requirement for businesses to engage accredited fire protection technicians.

 

13. I already hold another licence, (e.g. QLD BSA, EAHL etc.) Should I also gain FPAS accreditation?

 Yes. FPAS is the only nationally harmonised voluntary accreditation scheme designed to recognise fire protection technicians across all Australian state and territory jurisdictions. However, the FPAS accreditation scheme does not replace any current mandated State or National Licencing Schemes for example:

  • by law, you are required to hold a national licence such as an Extinguishing Agent Handling Licence with the Fire Protection Industry ODS and SGG Board (EAHL) if you are working with scheduled extinguishing agents e.g. FM200.
  • by law, if you are working within Queensland and are undertaking fire protection work within the built envronment, you are required to have an occupational licence with the Queensland Building Service Authority (QLD BSA)

 

All fire protection technicians are encouraged to take up FPAS accreditation even if they hold a state based licence (such as a QLD BSA licence or an EAHL).  Some units of competency required for these licences may also be required for accreditation under FPAS. In such cases holders of existing licences may be close to, or ever fully eligible for FPAS accreditation, without undertaking any additional training for certain categories. 

 

14.  Do I automatically gain Qualified Accreditation if I hold a vocational trade such as an electrician or a plumber?

 

No. FPAS Qualified accreditation requires that the applicant holds the required units of competency that relate to workplace health and safety and to the 'inspect and test' category(s) that reflect the work being undertaken.  These units of competency are generally found in the Certificate II Fire Protection - Inspection and Testing (formerly called the Certificate II Asset Maintenance - Fire Protection).

 

However, there are related fire protection qualifications that may contain some of the relevant units of competency required for FPAS Qualified accreditation.  For example, various sprinkler fitter qualifications may contain relevant 'Inspect & Test' units, depending upon how long ago those qualifications were delivered.  Please see the Unit Exemptions section of the Qualified Accreditation Fact Sheet.

 

15. Is it possible for me to hold Qualified status in some categories and Transitional status  in others?

 Yes, in some instances individuals may be Qualified in one or more work categories, and working towards Qualified status in other categories. In these situations the technician would be issued with two separate cards: a green 'Qualified' card that includes a list of their Qualified work categories on the reverse side of the card, as well as a blue 'Transitional' card featuring the same information for those categories.