FPA Australia submission on the ABCB National Registration Framework for Building Practitioners

Posted on : Monday, 31 August 2020

FPA Australia has lodged a submission in response to the Australian Building Codes Board's (ABCB) draft National Registration Framework (NRF) for Building Practitioners.  


The Framework is a response by the ABCB to Recommendations 1 and 2 of theBuilding ConfidenceReport, released by Professor Peter Shergold AC and Ms Bronwyn Weir in 2018, in which they called for:  


  • the registration of building practitioners involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings; and
  • each jurisdiction to prescribe consistent registration requirements covering knowledge of the National Construction Code, competency and experience, insurance and financial viability, and integrity. 


Consultation on the draft NRF closed on Sunday, 23 August, 2020, and our submission focussed on four key areas:  


1.  A strong focus on fire protection: 


FPA welcomed the strong focus on fire protection in the NRF, as was recommended in the Building Confidence Report. 

However, our submission also called for the addition of three further categories of fire protection practitioners, covering:  


  • routine service;
  • annual assessment / fire safety assessment; and
  • bushfire assessment. 


2.  Accreditation/registration for any person undertaking fire protection work: 


The draft NRF included several disciplines that could extend to fire protection works without practitioners holding the necessary competencies specific to fire protection. 


FPA Australia recommended that where a non-fire protection discipline has the potential to extend to fire protection works, it should be expressly excluded from performing such work.  


This is not intended to prevent competent and qualified individuals from continuing to perform fire protection work, but it will ensure that there is no ambiguity as to the level of qualification and experience required to do so. 


3. Modification of the definition of fire systems design work


The definition offire systems designwas poorly drafted in the NRF, and misrepresented the work undertaken by persons operating in this profession.  


In particular, there were several references to "engineering" that bore no resemblance to the role or the practitioners who carry it out.  


We called for these references to be removed, and for the qualification requirements for Level 1 to include practitioners with a Diploma of Fire Systems Design.  


We also recommended that all qualification pathways for fire systems design require practitioners to hold relevant units of competency from the Diploma of Fire Systems Design.  


These changes will establish a benchmark for the discipline, but would not exclude practitioners with equivalent or higher qualifications from obtaining registration. 


4.  Recognition of national accreditation schemes 


The draft NRF supports co-regulatory models for registration / accreditation of practitioners in specified disciplines or special areas of expertise.  


FPA Australia fully supports this model and contends that a modern, effective, and nationally consistent model is best operated by industry associations, coupled with strong regulatory recognition, enforcement, and oversight.  


The Association's Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) and Bushfire Planning and Design (BPAD) accreditation schemes are examples of highly successful co-regulatory accreditation and registration systems that have been recognised by jurisdictions across Australia.