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President's Report - October, 2021

Posted on : Friday, 29 October 2021

Dear members,

 

Our building regulation system is built on referenced standards, and fire safety is no exception. 

 

Standards Australia has a pivotal role in providing the technical detail that underpins the National Construction Code (NCC), and FPA Australia is a key contributor to the fire industry standards that it publishes. 

 

Our relationship with Standards Australia has been long and productive - we are members of the organisation and are well represented on its various fire safety standards committees. 

 

This involvement is important, given that our diverse industry is covered by over a hundred primary and secondary references. 

 

All of FPA Australia's participation is guided by our Technical Advisory Committees (TAC), who consider the content and advise our standards representatives about how to address the industry's concerns. 

 

Our members manufacture, supply, design, install, and maintain fire safety systems, and they are well placed to identify where standards are, and are not, working - we contribute a significant amount of intellectual property to Standards Australia, for the betterment of the industry. 

 

However, our members are finding two problems with the current arrangement: 

 

  • it is difficult to get interpretations (formerly know as rulings) from Standards Australia on ambiguous clauses; and
  • gaining access to required standards at a reasonable cost. 

 

While the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) made the NCC free for all users a few years ago, Standards Australia is a private company, which is not able to call on taxpayer subsidies. 

 

However, FPA Australia recently met with Standards Australia to discuss options that might deliver the suite of fire industry standards more cost-effectively to our membership. 

 

The discussion was positive, and we are currently reviewing some of the available options to see what works with our current membership structure. 

 

We are also collaborating with Standards Australia on how we can get timely and accurate interpretations for standards users. 

 

Both of these initiatives will take some time to implement, but we hope to be able to make an announcement about them early in the new year. 

 

On another note, the 2021 Board elections close today.  If you are an eligible voter, I encourage you to have your say about your Association. 

 

Polls close at 5pm AEDT this afternoon, so if you haven't yet voted make sure you log in using the details provided by the Returning Officer before the deadline. 

 

I wish all candidates the best of luck. 

 

Stay safe! 

 

William Lea AFSM

President


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