President's Report - 31 August, 2020

Posted on : Monday, 31 August 2020

Dear members,

 

2020 has been the year that keeps on giving. 

 

The fire protection sector has not been immune to the effects of COVID-19, and many of our members have had to make strategic changes to their business models in order to weather the storm. 

 

Businesses with strong balance sheets and engaged leadership stand the best chance of surviving.  

 

But, if sectors like banking are anything to go by, they are increasingly going to need a 'social licence' to operate. 

 

In other words, organisations that act ethically and in line with community expectations will thrive; those that don't will struggle. 

 

I believe that there are three goals for fire protection that underpin our social licence:  integrity, professionalism, and competence. 

 

Customers need to be able to rely upon the advice they receive from their service providers and have faith that a fair price is being charged for work being done. 

 

They should not have to guess whether or not the person who turns up on site is qualified to do the work. 

 

And they have a right to assume that, if someone does try to take advantage of them, they will be held to account. 

 

Your Board is weighing these issues up at the moment and working with the FPA Australia team to develop practical pathways for members to achieve these goals. 

 

In line with current regulatory reforms, we believe that the future is in accreditation and nationally consistent qualifications. 

 

Our Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) is the vehicle to deliver this future. 

 

The 2021 Vision aims to ensure that all individuals will be 'fit-for-action' (trained, competent, and accredited) by 2021 and that all Corporate members will be Recognised Businesses. 

 

This is to improve quality and consistency of the inspection and testing of fire protection systems and equipment, and the safety of the community. 

 

But we aren't stopping there. 

 

Thanks to the successful rollout of FPAS Fire Systems Design (FSD) and Fire Safety Assessment (FSA) in New South Wales, we are looking to expand these accreditations to other states and territories, to ensure greater reliability of practitioners across the country. 

 

We are also seeking to extend the current FSD classifications to include mechanical smoke extraction, passive fire safety, and exit and emergency lighting, to ensure that designers are more qualified and experienced. 

 

And we hope to extend the mandatory accreditation categories to include Fire Systems Certification (FSC), to ensure that systems are properly certified against their original design, not just confirming what has been installed. 

 

These reforms will make fire safety more reliable in NSW, and will hopefully serve as a useful model for other jurisdictions. 

 

Contrary to some suggestions, these moves are not an attempt to earn more revenue or gain greater control, but to create certainty of outcome for clients and to hold ourselves, and our industry, accountable for the delivery of fire safety.  

 

 

FPA Australia Board Elections

 

Nominations will open in September for candidates for the FPA Australia Board.

 

This year, in an attempt to improve transparency and accountability, we will be giving each of the candidates an opportunity to have a voice. 

 

Each candidate will be required to provide a candidate statement as well as being invited to record a video in which they will give answers to set questions. 

 

These will be made available on a campaign page on the FPA Australia website, so that members can watch them before making up their minds as to who they should support. 

 

In addition, the video profiles of the successful candidates will be attached to their entry on the Board page on the website, so that their election pitch and philosophy will be available for viewing throughout their tenure. 

 

 

Changes to training

 

Earlier this year FPA Australia made the decision to have both in-house and locally based (casual and contract) trainers. 

 

The purpose of this decision was to make our training more agile, responsive, and locally available. 

 

If trainers are available in all states and territories we won't need to move staff around the country to provide training for members, and can conduct assessments in more than one location at a time. 

 

An expression of interest process for those who'd like to become trainers was commenced in April of this year.  

 

We are in the process of finalising our selections, but the opportunity will always be there for interested parties to nominate. 

 

Successful candidates will have several years of industry experience and be passionate about passing on that knowledge to others.  

 

Although it would be desirable for applicants to have a formal training qualification, FPA Australia is prepared to subsidise practitioners who are willing to make a long-term commitment to our industry to obtain such credentials. 

 

If interested, please contact us at info@fpaa.com.au

 

 

Stay safe! 

 

William (Bill) Lea, AFSM

President