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Building an industry to be proud of

Whether it’s through our training and accreditation programs, recognising excellence, contribution and commitment at our Gala Awards, or our ongoing advocacy for improved regulation, codes and standards, Fire Protection Association Australia is committed to building a better industry.

It’s a commitment we back up with action and investment every day and with the continued support of our members and the wider industry, we are measurably raising the bar.

In recent years much has been made about a lack of professionalism in the fire protection industry. As many fire protection work activities are unlicensed, at least in Australia, negative perceptions have (justifiably) emerged about cowboy operators working with little accountability.

As an Association, we have always taken these concerns seriously but over the past five years we’ve translated this concern into strong action, investing heavily into initiatives to improve the professionalism of our industry and its standing with the community.

Three strong examples of this action are our accreditation programs, our upcoming Gala Awards event and our ongoing advocacy work. In 2012, after years of clamor from both industry and regulators for national accreditation/ licensing of the full range of fire protection activities, we launched our Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS), starting with the inspect and test areas of work.

Moving our industry to embrace professional accreditation was no easy task. However today many thousands of individuals are accredited by FPA Australia or on the journey to accreditation, supported by hundreds of industry-leading businesses, ranging from small operations to the largest companies in the industry.

Accreditation via FPAS guarantees minimum levels of training and competency of individuals as well as ensuring that important safeguards are adhered to at the business level, such as holding the appropriate insurances.

We have recently launched the Design and Certify accreditation categories, while also expanding our existing bushfire accreditation scheme (BPAD) into new states including Western Australia. And we’re just getting started. In 2016-17 the Association is ramping up our accreditation development to ensure that all work activities in the industry will soon be covered by an accreditation category.

In addition to accrediting professionals, we want to celebrate them too. That’s why in 2016 we’re holding our inaugural Fire Protection Industry Awards Gala event in Sydney on the 3rd of November. The event introduces four new awards to our existing accolades: Young Achiever, Barry Lee Technical Excellence award and the prestigious Fire Protection Company of The Year Award (in two size categories).

By showcasing the best our industry has to offer, we are redoubling our commitment to professionalism and providing strong benchmarks for all industry stakeholders to aspire to.

Building these awards as a respected platform for celebrating excellence will be an ongoing process but we know they are a necessary and fun way to highlight the pinnacle of Australian fire protection.

Finally, with so many other activities it would be easy to take our eyes of one of our core mandates: tirelessly advocating for regulatory change to benefit our industry and safeguard the community from the dangers of fire.

For years we have led the charge for a nationally harmonised approach to fire protection inspection and testing and this has now been achieved with all states and territories accepting AS 1851-2012 as a best practice method of recording and reporting maintenance activities.

Additionally, we have gained representation on the Australian Building Codes Board’s Building Codes Committee, appeared before several Senate inquiries and spent thousands of hours meeting with regulators at all levels and in all jurisdictions, all with a laser-like focus on one simple goal: best practice fire protection outcomes.

We’re not just talking about making the fire protection industry better; we’re doing it every day. Our members and our industry partners make this work possible and we thank you for your ongoing support and commitment.

Together we’re shaping a professional industry we can all be proud of.

For more information, go to www.fpaa.com.au

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FPA Australia CEO

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