August 8, 2017

Senate Inquiry into Non-Conforming Products

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August 8, 2017
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– The Senate Inquiry into Non-conforming Building Products –

There are three elements that are required to protect Australian’s from fire; conforming products, conforming people and enforcements. This was emphasised by Scott Williams’, CEO of FPA Australia during the Senate Inquiry into non-conforming building products, held in Sydney mid July ’17. FPA Australia was 1 out of 75 submitter’s to have made a submission in the earlier stages in 2015 and was invited to attend the conference.

The inquiry into non-conforming building products was opened in June 2015 and the Economics References Committee had since requested 7 extensions. Two years on, the committee is stretched to have the final report by 31st October 2017.

The use of non-conforming building products in the construction sector is a growing problem for the industry. With manufactured offshore products becoming competitively cheaper and easier to access by the year, it highlights the desperate need to focus on managing product compliance.

To often, these products are not obvious at the time of construction and consequently left unnoticed until only after there has been a failure. However, it still goes without saying that the importance of strengthening the industries installers, technicians and certifiers is just as prominent.

Not much can be said about the inquiry until the report is released in late October, but what can, is the avoidable failure of “unregulated control” which has been clearly represented in the recent tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.

July 26, 2017

The Grenfell Tower Fire

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July 26, 2017
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– The Rippling Effect of the Grenfell Tower Fire Tragedy –

The 24-story Grenfell Tower fire claiming at least 80 lives, with the death toll still rising, has easily become one of UK’s biggest crisis of 2017. The engulfed high-rise building in west London, was allegedly caused by a refrigerator unit. Then uncontrollably, continued to spread up the tower by the external cladding, used to insulate the building.

The incident has not only triggered a rippling effect of frantic among the UK, but all over the world, including Australia. Sparking audits in apartment buildings across England and Australia, in all fire safety aspects. And alarmingly, a number of buildings have been identified to contain the same combustible cladding material and non-compliant fire systems.

In truth, most old buildings, like the Grenfell Tower, do not comply to the modern guidelines for fire safety systems because regulations were not as clear and well-developed as they are today. Which is why it is essential to have these buildings ordered and up to date. In saying that, old and high-rise buildings are not just the vulnerable. During Scott William’s interview with ABC News (CEO of FPAA), he cited that smaller apartment buildings are also just at a high risk of loss. Being, the law not requiring buildings less than 25 metres to have sprinkler systems or alarms monitored by fire services.

Just after the London fire, the NSW Government has released a number of new and changed reforms to improve the building certification system. Meanwhile, NSW Fair Trading has since jumped on board by proposing a legal reform against non-compliant aluminum cladding.

These will include:

  • Having a specific unit conduct audits and issue orders against owners of buildings to remove any non-compliant aluminum cladding materials.
  • Annual fire safety statements to report on the existing cladding.
  • Banning the supply of such cladding into the state.

 

This would have a vast effect on construction companies, strata and independent owners across the state. Raising concerns about whether the non-complaint material has been inappropriately installed in their building. It has been recommended that if aluminum cladding has been used in a building, the owners take decisive consideration to carry out an audit and risk assessment to identify whether it is a fire risk.

Although, FSC does not specialize in external cladding, it is just an immense reminder of the importance of precise installation and certification. Fire Safety Constructions has always believed in improving the fire safety outcomes for the community, eternally urging us to meet our primary objective – achieve compliance.

 

Reference:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/story-streams/grenfell-tower/
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-16/low-rise-buildings-could-be-bigger-fire-risk,-experts-say/8711974
http://www.news.com.au/world/europe/grenfell-tower-fire-sees-87-recoveries-from-ashes-but-only-21-victims-identified/news-story/23c08eb157537e173a6f7da8c1a3cadf

July 25, 2017

Release of the NSW Fire Safety Reforms

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July 25, 2017
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– The release of the NSW Fire Safety Reforms –

It follows after the independent review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 (Lambert Report) in September 2016. Where the report identified a number of issues within the NSW building regulation and certification system. 10 months later, the Government has released a number of reforms to strengthen and establish quality within the certification system.  In particularly among the Fire Protection Industry.

The ‘Fire Safety Regulation Reform’, released early July 2017, are for both new and existing buildings. Coming into effect on 1 October 2017. From October, several requirements from the new reform will apply immediately to new developments. Including builds initiating with the FR NSW input and the stage of inspections for certifiers. However excluding, the developments that have already been approved or have been pending before the 1st October.

From the fire safety reform responses released in September, it was announced that not only will the certification systems be tightened. But only trained, qualified and accredited persons are to install, instruct and maintain passive fire safety measures. This is exactly what the Government continued to implement in the reform released in July 2017.

Other changes and regulations pressed briefly include:

  • Amended requirements for the documenting and inspections of non-compliant fire safety designs/systems. Also referred from the Building Code of Australia as performance solutions/alternative solutions.
  • That complex plans and specifications for fire safety systems are submitted to authority before installation is compulsory.
  • Limiting compliance exceptions for minor fire safety systems.
  • The role of power in inspections the NSW Fire and Rescue hold for residential apartment buildings.


As mentioned in our blog about the Lambert report posted last November, Fire Safety Constructions highly respects the reforms put forward. Leading to improved fire safety outcomes for the community.

To formally read on the Building Regulation and Certification Reforms click HERE.

 

Reference:
http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Under-review-and-new-Policy-and-Legislation/Building-Regulation-and-Certification-Reform

April 3, 2017

‘Building B5 Plant Room’, 62-72 Queen St, Auburn 2144

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April 3, 2017
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– ‘Building B5 Plant Room Works’, 62-72 Queen St, Auburn 2144

The B5 Plant Room work is part of the overall fire safety upgrade works to the residential buildings A-D at 62-72 Queen St, Auburn Central 2144. The complex is within the heart of Auburn and has been appointed to Fire Safety Constructions in stages, with an expected overall fire upgrade cost of approx. $2m. To find out more about this project CLICK HERE.

The B5 plant room work is the final stage of the Building B upgrade and involves some specialised products to achieve compliance. The scope of works for this roof space requires compartmentation and fire rating of all service penetrations including PVC pipes, electrical conduits, exhaust shafts and duct work. See below photos of existing non-compliant items.

Compartmentation was achieved by a fire rated ceiling and the steel columns were encased using Trafalgar Maxilite 30 board. PVC pipe and electrical service penetrations were rectified using traditional fire rated collar/mastic solutions.

Fire rating the exhaust system and ductwork was a much greater job. There are 16 ducts that extend through the building to residential and commercial areas. The scope allowed two options – fire spray or fire wrap – to achieve FRL -/90/90. We proceeded with the wrap option, Trafalgar Firewrap and underwent training with Trafalgar’s fire engineers to ensure that installation was per manufacturers test reports and was compliant.

See the below progress and completed photos for further information.

Fire Safety Constructions are always on the look out for new fire rating products that make retrofit solutions more practical.

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November 21, 2016

FSC are Strata Specialists!

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November 21, 2016
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– Fire Safety Constructions are a STRATA SERVICES SPECIALIST company! 

Fire Safety Constructions employees recently attended the Strata Services Specialist Course hosted by Strata Community Australia (SCA). This course enhances our relationship and reputation within the strata industry and provides further training to our staff to enable professional and efficient service to strata owners and strata managers.

The course formalised issues that Fire Safety Constructions have recognised in providing service to strata managers since 1999 and will allow us to continue to exceed expectations.

Throughout the course 6 main topics were covered:

  1. Brief introduction on strata industry
  2. Ethical practice
  3. Risk management
  4. Interpretation of strata plans
  5. Owners corporation meetings
  6. Building management

 

This course is part of our ongoing training and commitment to constantly advancing our service and professionalism.

Reference:
http://nsw.stratacommunity.org.au/members/strata-services-specialist/

 

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November 14, 2016

Changes to Home Warranty Insurance

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November 14, 2016
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– The NSW Government announce changes to the Home Warranty Insurance – 

In November 2016 the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, announced ramifications to insurance under the Home Warranty Insurance or the Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF).

Due to the current form being unsustainable, at a deficit value of more than $293 million, it was vital that the NSW government secured the growth of the warranty insurance scheme for the future. The boom of property development and construction work within NSW is reason in itself of the needed changes.

Even though the Government is still in the process of releasing full details on the revised reform, it was made clear that private insurance providers will be able to enter the market, as well as a renewal in 2017 of the risk based premium system.

Under the amended scheme, all residential construction work with a value of more than $20,000 and less than 3 storeys, will continue to require cover by insurance under the HBCF. Insurance is mandatory prior to commencement of work or invoicing, including deposits.

Other announced changes include:

  • Broker commission may no longer be included in the premium.
  • Insurers will be able to offer double product cover – $340,000 for non-completion and $340,000 for defects,  as opposed to $340,000 in total.
  • Additional funds will also be added by the Government to return the scheme to surplus.

 

Fire Safety Constructions supports a wider range of insurers entering the market and also a risk based premium system. As a company who has held continuous Home Warranty Insurance since 1999 and with our strong company financials this ensures owners have capable and secure contractors to choose from.

 

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November 9, 2016

FSC’s Inspect & Test technicians are accredited by FPA Australia!

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November 9, 2016
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Fire Safety Constructions Inspect & Test technicians are accredited by FPA Australia!

It all comes down to that weak link that causes unthinkable circumstances. There are too many loses of life, valuables and environment which are preventable. Fire Safety Constructions believe that we can be the ones to provide an improved and safer outcome for the community. By doing what we do, FSC allows residents and the public to have that second chance in an emergency, by minimising the impact of fire.

Due to the unstructured nature of the fire protection industry, businesses and individuals needed support and direction to provide the best service. This is where the Fire Protection Association of Australia (FPA Australia) become so important. In 2013 FPA Australia established an accreditation program, to recognise the skills and insights of those who undertake fire protection work in Australia called the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS).

The scheme required those to hold applicable insurances and sign a professional code of conduct. Somewhat leading to FPA Australia’s “simple goal”, that all individuals will be trained, competent and accredited by 2020.

Fire Safety Constructions is a proud member of FPA Australia and jumped straight on board to register all individuals performing Inspect & Test work for Accreditation. This commits FSC to list all employees that engage or perform inspection and test work activities and ensuring that all listed employees gain FPAS accreditation.

On that note, Fire Safety Constructions believe that the scheme released by FPA Australia will definitely strengthen that “weak link”. Creating a more professional, reliable and honourable industry that is highly depended on by the community.

 

Reference –
http://www.fpaa.com.au/fpas/register-for-fpas
http://www.fpaa.com.au/fpas.aspx

 

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November 2, 2016

The Lambert Report

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November 2, 2016
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The Lambert Report 

After an overdue need for change, Fire Safety Constructions applauds the NSW Government for the release of the final statutory report of the review of the Building Perfessionals Act 2005 (The Lambert Report) on 21st September 2016. The report addresses the Government’s response to 150 recommendations and the plans of action it will take to establish improvement within the building and development certification within NSW.

The Lambert Report was overseen by Michael Lambert and as part as “Strengthening Certification in NSW”. In May 2015 the Government released a discussion paper to the public, outlining the reviews purpose, background information and the protential issues. From there the major problems reducing the effectiveness of the buildings quality were identified.

Among many of the Government’s important fire safety reform responses, it was determined that it will:

    • Immediately strengthen fire safety certification for new and existing buildings.
    • Be required that only persons who are certified and accredited design, install, instruct and maintain fire safety systems.
    • Tighten the accuracy of the current system with “annual fire safety statement checks”.
    • Reinforce site inspections for certain building types.
    • Require only suitably trained and qualified persons install passive fire safety measures.

 

In practice we expect these reforms to improve fire safety outcomes and remove untrained and unlicensed contractors who still plague the industry. Fire Safety Constructions supports industry groups to assist in implementation and improved accreditation. For example we recently gained FPAS Accreditation for our individuals performing passive fire test and inspect work.

Fire Safety Constructions are looking forward to delivering the improved regulations as it will conclusively lead to increased quality of the buildings and most importantly to us, better fire safety outcomes for the community.

For more information on the NSW Government’s review of the Building Professionals Act 2005, visit here.

 

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October 20, 2015

Our Logo

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October 20, 2015
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Vesta – Goddess of the Hearth – 

For the ancient Romans, Vesta was the Goddess of the Hearth and the protector of the home. She was worshiped as a household deity who symbolized safety, and the temple built for her was rigorously and religiously maintained. There, a flame burned continuously.

Initially, the fire that set the flame was brought from Tory by Aeneas, the founder of Rome, so only those of the utmost honor and knowledge were allowed to tend the temple and the flame that burned within it. Such a duty required education, however, and it was eventually bestowed upon six Vestal Virgins whose term in care of the temple lasted 30 years. Ten years were for learning, ten were for service, and ten were for teaching new caretakers.

It is believed that the sacred fire of Vesta’s temple burned for nearly a thousand years, from its inception in 680 BCE until 394 CE.

Compare the Temple of Vesta and our logo.

Residential Fire Protection, Commercial Fire Protection, Fire Safety Consultants | Fire Safety Constructions

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October 1, 2015

Quick Link to Projects

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October 1, 2015
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To see quick samples of typical fire safety measures in actual projects click on the links below.

Heritage fire doors“Harley” 1 Birtley Place, Potts Point & 66 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross

Typical new fire doors25 Tor Road, Dee Why

Damper Audit and rectification“Casino Gardens” 199 Pyrmont Road, Pyrmont

New hydrant works (design and construct)  –  “Shipmates” 1122 Pittwater Road, Pittwater

Fire stopping audits nd rectification – 2-4 Bellevue Street, Surry Hills