VBA tightens regulation of the routine servicing of fire protection equipment
The maintenance of fire protection equipment is important work that keeps Victorians safe in their homes and workplaces.
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has introduced new restricted classes for the routine servicing of this equipment.
Amendments made to the Plumbing Regulations 2018 clarified that the routine servicing of fire protection equipment is considered plumbing work and, therefore, must be carried out by a plumbing practitioner who is appropriately registered or licensed with the VBA.
Plumbing practitioners who wish to continue undertaking this vital work and are currently unregistered or unlicensed will need to obtain a restricted registration or licence in the relevant class by 31 December 2020. After this date, unregistered or unlicensed practitioners carrying out this work may be liable to VBA enforcement action.
These registration and licensing requirements mean the VBA can ensure practitioners undertaking the routine servicing of fire protection equipment are adequately skilled and experienced, and the community can have confidence in the work being performed.
The VBA has introduced four restricted classes for the routine servicing of fire protection equipment to provide a pathway for practitioners to gain a registration or licence. Two are transitional classes, which allow practitioners to gain a registration or licence for a limited time, as they upgrade their skills while continuing to work in the industry.
Overview of the new restricted classes
Ongoing restricted classes:
- Fire Protection restricted to the routine servicing of fire hose reels
- Fire Protection restricted to the routine servicing of unpumped hydrants and valves
Transitional restricted classes:
- Fire Protection restricted to the routine servicing of pumped hydrants and valves
- Fire Protection restricted to the routine servicing of fire sprinkler systems
Practitioners who gain a registration or licence in either of these transitionalrestricted classes will be eligible to work until 31 July 2021. To continue carrying out work in this area after this date, they will need to be enrolled in the Certificate III in Fire Protection.
The Certificate III course will need to be completed by 31 December 2025, after which time the transitional classes will no longer exist. Practitioners who complete the Certificate III in Fire Protection will be eligible to apply for an unrestricted registration in Fire Protection.
Why the clarification of the plumbing regulations is important
It is critical that the maintenance of any building’s fire protection equipment is carried out by an appropriately qualified practitioner.
The change in regulations mean the routine servicing of fire hose reels, hydrants or fire sprinkler systems are regulated plumbing work and anyone carrying out this type of work needs to be registered or licensed with the VBA.
The VBA will be able to take appropriate disciplinary action against registered or licensed practitioners who are found to have not serviced fire protection equipment properly. We will also be able to take action against people who are unlawfully carrying out this work when unregistered or unlicensed.
Accreditation gives employers, building owners and the public confidence that the people carrying out the work have the qualifications and experience to competently undertake certain routine servicing in line with Australian Standard 1851.
What the changes mean for people carrying out this work
If you carry out the routine servicing of fire equipment and want to continue doing this work, you need to obtain a restricted registration or licence in the relevant class from the VBA by 31 December 2020.
To find out how to apply, see Apply for Fire Protection restricted classes.
A random selection of completed routine service work will be audited, and non-compliance will be dealt with under the VBA’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
If you are an employer of staff who carry out the routine servicing of fire protection equipment, you should ensure your employees are registered or licensed with the VBA.
What the changes mean for the wider industry
The changes to the regulations relating to the routine servicing of fire protection equipment affect local councils, owners corporations, real estate agents and strata groups.
The maintenance of a building’s fire protection equipment is critical to the health and wellbeing of its occupants, and everyone should know that this work is regulated plumbing work.
Always use registered and licensed practitioners to service your fire protection equipment.
If you require any further information, please email the VBA’s Customer Service team at email@example.com.