Roundtable workshop feedback summary report
Roundtable conducted 2 August 2007

The Building and Plumbing Commissions hosted a half-day workshop to discuss the sustainable use of
water and energy in fire protection services, in particular fire sprinkler systems.

More than 40 senior representatives from a broad range of related sectors including water authorities, peak
body associations, government agencies, building developers and surveyors, technical experts and
practitioners participated in the workshop that was held at the College of Surgeons ( full list of attendees
appended on page 8).

The workshop was introduced by Plumbing Industry Commission General Manager Shayne La Combre, who
set the context for the session, and outlined its position within the broader context of the Plumbsmarter

Four additional presentations were then made to complete the context-setting process including:
 Daryl Nish (South East Water)
 Roger Thomas (Fire Protection Association Australia),
 David Kearsley (Building Commission)
 David Hawkins (Socom)

Presentations are available for download from the Plumbing Industry Commission website.

Following the context-setting presentations, Buchan Consulting facilitated an all-of-group session to achieve
the key outcomes.

First, participants were asked to raise issues, ask questions and make observations about the overall
operating environment to encourage collective understanding of – and agreement with – the broader
framework within which the challenge was set.

Second, a process was undertaken to capture all opportunities, threats, issues and ideas to allow a process
of prioritisation before setting each individual table the task of developing a strategy for each.

The table below summarises outcomes of that discussion:

▫    Cost / compliance                                 ▫    Cost / water testing
▫    Testing revenue lost                              ▫    Incentives to adopt
▫    Perception of safety vs. costs / sustainability   ▫    Exposure to other issues / fear („can of worms‟)
▫    Existing sites set for change to monthly – 70%    ▫    Other opportunities to save
▫    Who‟s who: stakeholder landscape                  ▫    Fit for purpose use - recycling
▫    Is monthly testing the best opportunity?          ▫    Legislation / regulation
▫    Metering – impact / perception of safety          ▫    Customer willingness – occupancy permit
▫    Design and new developments                       ▫    Duty of care – implement better standards
▫    Insurance implications – commercial / liability   ▫    Risk – fire services save lives
▫    Skills / training / employment / implications     ▫    Available knowledge

During a 20 minute refreshment break, roundtable workshop leaders Jamie Perrott (Buchan Consulting),
Shayne La Combre (Plumbing Industry Commission), Haydn Wood (PlumbSmarter), David Hawkins
(Socom), Sarah Nash (Socom) and Mark Roberts (Coombes) analysed the information tabled above to
agree the theme for session two - ‘save water in a way that complies’. Summarised issues stemming from
this theme were then confirmed as: compliance, information/shared knowledge, insurance and risk, cost vs.
sustainability, and who‟s who and incentives.

Participant feedback for the five key issues was recorded via breakout group templates, and is reported
verbatim on pages 3-7.


This summary report is designed to assist technical experts in forming recommendations based on industry
and expert feedback generated through the fire protection services roundtable, however, preliminary analysis
of information gathered outlines three key outcomes/priorities of discussion:

   the need for further information and research;
   greater clarity and control in regulation; and
   further education and communication, engaging all levels of stakeholders.

Buchan looks forward to assisting the technical consultants as required throughout the process of
developing final recommendations to enhance sustainability in the fire protection services industry.

Template 1: Compliance
Outcome sought: Compliance to regulations and standards for both new and existing buildings (the path of
least resistance).

Actions: a) introduction of interim practices/procedures (reusing/recycling/new systems) for new buildings, b)
review of regulatory framework, and c) adoption of AS 1851 – existing buildings with mandatory testing and
no upgrade to occupancy certificate.

Priority setting:
    1. Introduction of interim practices/procedures (reusing/recycling/new systems)
    2. Mandatory adoption of AS 1851 with amendments.
    3. Review of regulatory framework

Forward Planning:
First priority action – Introduction of interim practices/procedures (reusing/recycling/new systems)
▫     Stakeholders: water authorities, Building Commission, local government, building surveyors, engineers,
      CFA/MBF, others (incl Standards, etc).
▫     Threats: Australian Standards, time of introduction, technological change, insurance, government, BCA
      non adoption.
▫     Opportunities: conditions of connection, implementation of recycling systems (up to 95% savings).
▫     Timeframes: 6 months.

Second priority action – Mandatory adoption of AS 1851 with amendments.
▫   Stakeholders: Federal and State governments, Building Commission, Standards Committee
    (incorporate new requirements into standards).
▫   Threats: Nil.
▫   Opportunities: Saving water, end user perception, monetary savings.
▫   Timeframes: By end of 2007.
▫   Other: Subsides/rebates, 5 star energy rating.

Third priority action – Regulatory Framework – new systems compliance.
▫    Stakeholders: ALL (incl BCA, Building Commission, Victorian Government, water authorities, etc).

Template 2: Information/shared knowledge
Outcome sought: Understand and validate what we know, and understand and validate what we don‟t know.

Actions: Identify the following a) amount of water actually used for testing, b) how many sprinkler control
valves (towns main, tanks, pumps), c) how many are compliant with new standards, d) what is it going to
cost (breakdown into categories), e) how many aren‟t currently testing, f) are we targeting right area – theft of
testing, g) cost of water – cost/benefit of water.

Priority setting:
    1. Actual amount of water used for testing
    2. Compliant with new standards
    3. Breakdown of costs
    4. Sprinkler control valves
    5. Targeting of correct area
    6. Cost of water
    7. Not currently being tested

Forward Planning:
First priority action – Amount of water being used through fire services
▫     Stakeholders: Maintenance contractors, water authorities.
▫     Threats: reliability of data (annual testing), not all service providers prepared to ask questions,
      customers not prepared to provide information.
▫     Opportunities: customer interface, weekly testing.
▫     Timeframes: 3 months.

Second priority action – Who is compliant with new standards?
▫   Stakeholders: Standards Australia, maintenance contractors, plumbing and/or building industry
▫   Threats: Delayed information.
▫   Opportunities: Collector to influence change.
▫   Timeframes: post new amendment.

Third priority action – Costs
▫    Stakeholders: Maintenance contractors, engineering consultants.
▫    Threats: Lack of knowledge.

Template 3: Insurance and risk
Outcome sought: Minimise risk to support a sustainable testing regime.

Actions: a) prepare and issue a Minister‟s Guideline that addresses process for applying, considering and
approving an amended Occupancy Permit, with amended maintenance requirements.                      Supporting
documentation to include FEng endorsement if applicable to alternate solutions, annual service maintenance
sign off, register of building applications mod determinations, b) request Standards Australia review wording
of standards to address testing regime to support water saving objective without detriment to life safety and
reflect best practice, and c) engage insurance industry to understand and support the sustainable testing

Priority setting:
    1. Minister‟s Guideline
    2. Standards Australia amendment
    3. Insurance engagement

Forward Planning:
First priority action – Minister‟s Guideline
▫     Stakeholders: Minister, Building Commission, BRAC, Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group
      (VMBSG), AIBS, PCA (representing others), Australian Water Association, Department of Sustainability
      and Environment.
▫     Threats: Change in government/minister, „too hard/costly‟, cross section on conflicting views, potential
      risk, time/cost of change.
▫     Opportunities: Change in government/minister, „look good‟, water saving kpi‟s.
▫     Timeframes: 3 months.

Second priority action – Standards Australia amendment
▫    Stakeholders: Building owners (PCA), FPAA (incl service providers), Standards Australia, ABCB.
▫    Threats: nil.
▫    Opportunities: Clarity, improvement.
Third priority action – Insurance engagement
▫    Stakeholders: Building owners (PCA), Insurance Council.
▫    Threats: Possible increased premium, reduced protection.

Template 4: Cost vs. sustainability
Outcome sought: Why is it a good investment?

Actions: Encourage voluntary adoption of water saving initiatives with full support of government by reducing
costs through a „deemed to comply‟ arrangement, encouraging uptake by owners and supported by all other
regulators and industry for a sustainable maintenance regime, with demonstrably outlines safety, water use,
compliance charges and maintenance costs.

Priority setting:
    1. Monitoring then charging
    2. Analysis of data
    3. Government assistance
    4. accreditation of personnel

Forward Planning:
First priority action – Monitoring/charging
▫     Stakeholders: water suppliers and agencies, building owners
▫     Threats: nil
▫     Opportunities: appreciate waster savings, green star rating opportunity, be aware of use and acquire
      ongoing maintenance comparison (design and actual).
▫     Timeframes: Top 200 > 1 year; other 3 years
Second priority action – Analyse data (compelling case for change)
▫     Stakeholders: WSS, building owners, fire services
▫     Threats: time consuming, costly, overwhelming information.
▫     Opportunities: target analysis to high end users and put push pathways for water saving
▫     Timeframes: 3 month overview of trends then progressive gathering if necessary.

Third priority action – Government ministerial – “deemed to comply” (also access to tech advice and
engineering solutions)
▫    Stakeholders: government, private enterprise, community.
▫    Threats: building owner refusal for audit, evidence of past maintenance regime, high risk facilities.
▫    Opportunities: good governance, feel good/corporate citizen, positive public awareness.
▫    Timeframes: 12 months.

Template 5: Who’s who/incentives
Outcome sought: The following diagram outlines the process and those responsible for industry change.

                              Government              Legislation


            Volunteer            Owner              Risk assessment


▫    Owners: single/DHS, strata title, property manager.
▫    Insurance: property liability/damage to business.
▫    Occupants: tenants/DHS.
▫    Utilities: water, power – electricity, gas, etc.
▫    Maintenance: contractors.
▫    Engineers.
▫    Design/consultants.
▫    Real estate agencies.
▫    Building industry.
▫    Regulatory authorities: municipal, fire, EPA, Councils.

▫    Community recognition
▫    Good will within community = profile = value $
▫    Environment (5 star) – water conservation
▫    Subsidised government (upgrade) DSE

Appendix 1: List of Invitees

  Participants                            Title                                            Organisation

John Lambert       Executive Officer                                      Fire Protection Association Australia
Glenn Talbot       Managing Director                                      Verified (Director FPAA)
Roger Thomas       Regional Technical Manager, Aust/NZ                    FPAA; Tyco Fire & Security
Carmel Coate       Executive Director                                     National Fire Industry Association
Daryl Nish         Fire Services Project Manager                          South East Water
Steve Paterson     Land Development Manager                               South East Water
Damien Connell     Coordinator, Water Resource Efficiency, Cleaner        City West Water
Kein Gan           Water Supply - Demand Manager                          Yarra Valley Water
Paul Booth                                                                Yarra Valley Water
Ross Young         Executive Director                                     Water Services Association Australia
Claude Piccinin    Deputy Executive Director                              Water Services Association Australia
Sham Thadani       Group Director                                         Lincolne Scott (PCA rep on BRAC)
Peter James        Commercial Property Investment Manager                 Property Council Australia; ISPT P/L
Karen Dowling      Policy Analyst                                         Property Council Australia
David Michel       Project Manager                                        Standards Australia
Bob Vaughan        Compliance Officer                                     Communication Electrical & Plumbing Union
Peter Shell        Divisional Executive Officer, Fire Services Division   Master Plumbers & Mechanical Services Assoc.
Steven Kip         President                                              Engineers Australia - Society of Fire Safety
Haysam Mohtadi     General Manager                                        Rhino Fire Protection
Ryan Hamilton      Victorian General Manager                              Spectrum Fire
Bryon Price        Director                                               Facility Managers Australia
Rob Beck           General Manager                                        Institute of Body Corporate Managers
Julie McLean                                                              Ace Body Corporate
Liz Johnstone                                                             ditto
Warren Knight      Manager, Building Certification & Inspection           City of Melbourne
Steven Young       Executive Officer                                      Australian Institute of Building Surveyors -
Joseph Genco                                                              Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group
Arthur Mete        Coordinator Fire Protection                            RMIT School of Infrastructure, Electrotechnology
                                                                          & Building Services
Glenn Evans        Chief Executive Officer                                Certifire Australia
Adam Dalrymple     Manager, Structural Fire Safety                        Metropolitan Fire Brigade
Mathew Wright      Fire Safety Program Coordinator                        Country Fire Authority
Andrew Fennessy    Policy Officer, Water Sector Group                     ditto
Matthian Viering                                                          Orbal Corporation

Dorian Fay         Account Engineer                                       FM Global
Hans Zerno         is on Aust Standard committees and FPAA                FM Global
                   technical committees
Shayne LaCombre    General Manager, Operations                            Plumbing Industry Commission
Dennis Hogan       Manager, Technical & Research Services                 Building Commission
David Kearsley     Senior Technical Adviser                               Building Commission
Sarah Nash         Senior Consultant                                      Socom
David Hawkins      Managing Director                                      Socom
Jamie Perrott      Director                                               Buchan
Stuart Allott      Account Manager                                        Buchan
Mark Roberts       Senior Consultant                                      Coomes
Haydn Wood         Consultant, Regulatory Development                     Building & Plumbing Commissions


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