FPA Australia Endorses MFB proposals For Victorian Building Reform

Posted on : Thursday, 10 December 2015

Fire protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) today strongly backed the MFB's proposals for reform of the Building Regulatory Regime which was recently released. The Association whole-heartedly supports the need for meaningful reform highlighted by the MFB and congratulates the Brigade on publicising these vital recommendations.


The proposals detail a range of potential reforms that could be implemented to better protect Victorians from the dangers of fire as well as creating additional clarity for all individuals in the building process in Victoria. The document  identifies regulatory failure in Victoria with regard to the building and construction sector and FPA Australia has consistently highlighted this over many years.


Association CEO Scott Williams said change was long overdue.


"We are frustrated that after numerous independent reports recommending improvements to the role of the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and the performance of building practitioners in Victoria, there has been no progression of these important issues by government," he said.


Among the many important reforms proposed by the MFB, FPA Australia is pleased to see a focus on targeted education and enforcement as well as the need to rebuild community and industry confidence in the building system.


"Targeted education and enforcement simply does not exist in the Victorian building industry," Mr Williams said.


"There is currently no deterrent to increase the level of compliance by building practitioners. The VBA must play a leadership role and exercise core regulator functions. 


"It is unacceptable that after more than 12 months there are not even any preliminary findings regarding the practitioner conduct investigations regarding the Lacrosse apartment fire. Unsurprisingly, after such a long period of complacency and neglect, there is a real lack of confidence and respect of the current regulatory regime in Victoria.


"We need  to restore confidence in the safety of Victoria's building stock and this can be assisted by the regulator leading strong education and enforcement programs and introducing robust regulatory reform that provides clarity regarding responsibilities for design, approval and maintenance of buildings and places of public entertainment."


The Brigade's proposals also include a recommendation to 'amend the Building Act and Building Regulations to introduce a category of registration for Essential Safety Measure (ESM) Contractors. The Association warmly welcomes this proposal and believes it supports FPA Australia's own efforts in professionalising the industry through the development of the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS).


Mr Williams said a tipping point had been reached and change must happen now.


"Here we have a Victorian statutory authority openly outlining critical changes that need to occur in the way the building industry is regulated, Mr Williams said. "What else is it going to take for the Minister to take notice of these issues, and to take action, if not this?"


"We call on Minister Wynne to carefully consider the recommendations made by the MFB, and to take immediate steps to see them realised. This must start with acknowledging the depth of the problem with the building and construction industry in Victoria and be followed by robust and meaningful reform."

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