Victorian restricted plumbing classes for water based fire protection

Posted on : Thursday, 30 April 2020

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has announced the release of the new restricted plumbing classes for water based fire protection work. 

 

Changes introduced to the Plumbing Regulations in November, 2018, resulted in the routine servicing of water based fire protection systems to be carried out by an appropriately qualified plumbing practitioner. 

 

Information about the changes can be found at http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/plumbing/registrations-licences/fire-protection-restricted-classes

 

From the outset, FPA Australia raised concerns that the changes to the regulations would prevent routine servicing from being completed at thousands of buildings across Victoria. 

 

This places the community at risk and affects the livelihood of hundreds of fire technicians, who have been undertaking this work for many years. 

 

FPA Australia advocated for the VBA to implement a range of restricted registration classes to address the consequential impacts of the new regulations.  Throughout 2019, the Association worked very closely with the VBA to develop the required classes of registration to reflect industry needs and we welcome today's announcement. 

 

The introduction of permanent classes for fire hose reel and unpumped fire hydrant systems is a welcome addition.  However, the Association has concerns with the transitional classes introduced for pumped fire hydrant systems and fire sprinkler systems. 

 

While the Association supports the need for all technicians working on fire equipment to have an appropriate balance of skills, knowledge, and experience, we are concerned that the requirements are disproportionally focussed on high-rise buildings. 

 

As a result, it is unlikely that an experienced technician working in suburban and regional areas of Victoria will be able to meet the minimum experience requirements. 

 

Additionally, we are concerned that the experience requirements are not being applied equally to all technicians irrespective of whether they do or do not hold a Certificate III in Fire Protection. 

 

The Association considers that any individual applying for registration to undertake the same job role must be assessed by the VBA consistently with regards to experience and competency, including those who apply for unrestricted registration. 

 

The four new restricted classes introduced for practitioners include: 

 

Fire Protection restricted to the routine servicing of fire hose reels Ongoing
Fire Protection restricted to the routine servicing of unpumped hydrants and valves Ongoing
Fire Protection restricted to the routine servicing of pumped hydrants and valves Transitional
Fire Protection restricted to the routine servicing of fire sprinkler systems Transitional

 

 

 

 

 

 

The VBA requires all technicians to be registered or licensed with the VBA by 31 December, 2020, in one of these classes, or face enforcement action. 

 

Those registered or licensed in a transitional class will be able to work until 31 July, 2021, after which time they will need to be enrolled in or have completed a Certificate III in Fire Protection - this must be completed by 31 December, 2025. 

 

FPA Australia has been appointed by the VBA to deliver the approved exam on their behalf and can provide training and assessment for the required units of competency to support technicians to meet the application requirements.

 

Further information on the assessment and exam requirements will be released by the Association soon. 


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