Standards Australia is the nation’s peak non-government standards organisation. Jennifer Harwood, Senior National Sector Manager for Building and Construction, provides us with an update on what’s happening in the standards world.
STANDARDS AND THE NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION CODE
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) develops one national building code that has been adopted by each state and territory.
The National Construction Code provides performance requirements for many aspects of building and construction which are based on outcomes. For example, the ABCB may call for all buildings and fittings to be constructed in a way that is efficient, effective, and habitable, with specific requirements on materials, design, accessibility, and above all, safety. These requirements are laid out in the NCC, which may then refer to Australian Standards as one way for builders to meet these requirements.
Standards Australia works closely with the ABCB and stakeholders from the government, industry and community to develop Standards related to building and construction, which are referenced in the NCC.
We are a developer of Standards; we do not enforce, regulate or certify compliance with these Standards. What we do is form technical committees on building and construction by bringing together relevant parties and stakeholders into the same room. Through a process of consensus, these committees develop standards and technical documents for Australia’s net benefit.
Standards Australia has been going on the road with the ABCB to talk about the 2015 edition of the NCC. We also had a series of seminars in all major Australian capital cities to keep the public updated on Standards Australia’s operations. We hope you were able to join us for one of these road shows and if not, do keep a look out on our website or LinkedIn when we announce the next one.
UPDATE TO AUSTRALIAN STANDARD ON SMOKE ALARMS
Although it has been said many times, it is worth repeating that well-maintained smoke alarms can greatly reduce fire risks. Standards Australia has published a 2015 edition of the Australian Standard AS 3786 Smoke alarms using scattered light, transmitted light or ionization. The Standard specifies requirements, test methods and criteria for smoke alarms that operate using scattered light, transmitted light or ionization, intended for household or residential applications.
The 2015 edition brings the Australian Standard in line with international standards and gives due consideration to requirements specific to the Australian environmental and regulatory framework.
AS 3786:2015 sets out functions that are to be provided by all smoke alarms covered by this Standard, and also includes requirements for optional functions, such as sound output patterns and extended temperature-range tests for smoke alarms installed in areas subject to a greater temperate range. Each optional function is set out with its own set of associated requirements, in order to permit smoke alarms with different combinations of functions to conform to the Standard.
2015 will also see Standards Australia strengthening its partnerships with other countries. An exciting project underway is in New Caledonia in collaboration with AFNOR, the French national standards body. New Caledonia is one of Australia’s top 20 export markets by number of Australian companies doing business in the market.
As a start, we will share best practices, experiences and information in the realm of building and construction standards, with a focus on harmonisation. This project will be of mutual benefit and could potentially boost two-way trade and investment between Australia and New Caledonia.
Keep up to date with Standards Developments in the building and construction sector and join the Standards Australia Building and Construction LinkedIn group. We are now over 900 strong and our membership is growing steadily.
The page provides a platform for Standards Australia to communicate with our members, keeping you informed of the work being undertaken, Standards publications and other relevant matters. Documents available for Public Comment will be listed on the group page, along with updates on conferences, forums and events.
To join the Standards Australia LinkedIn Page, look for Standards Australia – Building and Construction via the LinkedIn search function. Visit the Standards Australia website (www.standards.org.au) or contact Standards Australia to find out more.