I stepped into the Engagement Manager role in April. I’m excited to be working with stakeholders across industry in facilitating needed discussions. Core to my role is working towards long-term strategic goals in standardisation, working with innovative new products and increasing access to Australian Standards.
This quarter alone we’ve seen great progress in increasing access to Australian Standards and have started numerous great projects. Standards Australia is continuously looking at ways to provide guidance and confidence in safety through standards, and this year we have seen many projects kick off to support fire safety professionals.
A milestone in innovation
In August, Standards Australia announced the launch of an Australian-made software which helps provide better access to Australian Standards.
FireMate has embedded Australian Standards within a software platform that aims to support fire protection specialists and help them to work more efficiently.
The software fully incorporates AS 1851:2012, Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment, an essential standard for fire protection specialists as it sets out requirements for the inspection, testing, preventive maintenance and survey of fire protection systems and equipment.
Additionally, other critical Australian Standards relevant to the maintenance of fire protection systems are integrated into the platform. With easily accessible standards in a streamlined platform, industry professionals and their customers can be confident, knowing their safety is assured.
It is an excellent example of how Standards Australia is achieving its promise to provide better access to Australian Standards under its Distribution and Licensing Policy Framework.1 The framework outlines Standards Australia’s goal to expand the reach and use of standards, supporting better and easier access to the broader public. Standards Australia’s vision is that standards, already part of safety, modernisation and risk management, should be used in innovative and cutting-edge digital solutions.
HB 208 to support bushfire standard
In 2019, Australia was devastated by bushfires, many homes and lives were disrupted. Sadly, the fires took dozens of people’s lives and over one billion animals died.2 Bushfires are a deep-rooted part of Australia’s environment. Ecosystems have evolved with fire and many native plants are fire prone and combustible,3 so it’s vital safety measures are in place to protect the Australian community.
Australian Standard AS 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas, provides guidance to professionals in the building and construction industry and is primarily concerned with improving the ability of buildings in designated bushfire-prone areas to better withstand bushfires. It also outlines guidance in safety, providing the methodology for calculating bushfire attack levels (BAL). With a known BAL, you can use AS 3959:2018 more accurately.
Standards Australia has kicked off a project to develop the handbook SA HB 208, Maintenance of Construction in Bushfire-prone Areas, to accompany and support AS 3959:2018. the overarching aim is to guide low-cost measures that could significantly improve the survivability of buildings and raise awareness to the wider community on the effectiveness of AS 3959:2018.
New guidance for PPE
The combination of the devastating fires across Australia and the onset and continued pandemic, has made domestic manufacture and supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) a critical objective. For many front-line workers, PPE is essential in preventing inhalation of hazardous fumes, toxins and debris harmful to the respiratory system.
To ensure PPE standards reflect the most up-to-date industry practice and information, Standards Australia technical committees have been reviewing recently published international standards and have recently adopted several key ISO standards for Australian use.
The current joint Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1716:2012, Respiratory protective devices, specifies requirements, performance and testing criteria for the manufacture of respiratory protective devices (respirators) intended to provide protection against atmospheres containing substances that may be harmful if breathed, and atmospheres that may be deficient in oxygen
Standards Australia committee SF-010, Occupational Respiratory Protection, is working towards publishing a comprehensive range of respiratory protection standards which have been adopted from the following existing international standards:
- ISO 16900 series – covering test methods (14 parts)
- ISO 16972 – ISO 16975 – covering vocabulary, classification, marking and information, selection and use
- ISO 16976 series – covering technical information and data relevant to the performance and design of products (8 parts)
- ISO 17420 series – covering performance requirements for various type of respiratory products (9 parts)
The full range of these standards is approaching completion by ISO technical committees; however, it is important to note that some documents remain under development at this time. Australia participates in the development of these ISO standards and as new parts and versions are published, they will be reviewed by the relevant Standards Australia technical committee for potential adoption.
As the new ISO document series are adopted for Australia as voluntary standards and technical specifications, AS/NZS 1716:2012 will also remain current. Once the full suite of AS/NZS ISO respiratory standards are adopted, Standards Australia technical committees will, in consultation with interested stakeholders, determine an appropriate transition period for the withdrawal of AS/NZS 1716:2012.
The adoption of these new standards does not impact current certification to AS/NZS 1716:2012, unless expressly specified by a regulatory or legislative requirement.
Standards Australia committee, FP-009, Fire Hydrant Installations, has developed a revision to AS 2419.1, Fire hydrant installations, Part 1: System design, installation and commissioning.
The updated scope of AS 2419.1:2021 now limits the use of the standard to buildings having an effective height of not more than 135m and Class 7 and Class 8 buildings having a total volume of not more than 108,000m3. The limitations in the scope also prevent the direct application of the standard to any building that includes an automated storage and retrieval system.
The revision aims to improve readability and also includes many of the commonly applied performance solutions to the requirements of AS2419.1:2005 which is referenced in the National Construction Code.
For more information, go to www.standards.org.au