The Process

ENGAGEMENT WITH FIRE BRIGADE

The Fire Brigades, both in Australia and internationally, were the most vocal in the criticism of ISP in fires. In particular, the NSWFB were very strident in pointing out the issues and calling for change.

After invitations from the Fire Brigades, IPCA Ltd. did acknowledge that it must engage with the Fire Brigades to address the problem. The industry decided to meet several times with Fire Brigades document the Fire Brigades, concerns and then to work with the Fire Brigades' in developing solutions to the problems.


CONSULTATION WITH AUSTRALIAN BUILDING CODES BOARD

The liaison process included consulting with with the Australian Building Codes Board ("the ABCB") to ensure that the development of an industry Code of Practice would not conflict with any policy or technical agenda of the ABCB. The ABCB are obliged under Council of Australian Governments ("COAG") to consider non-regulatory options in addressing identified problems or market failures. The ABCB do this through the application of the COAG Guide for Ministerial Councils and National Standard Setting Bodies on Best Practice Regulation. On this basis, non regulatory solutions that address market failure are encouraged.


AUSTRALASIAN FIRE AUTHORITIES COUNCIL

The matter of IPCA Ltd. developing the CODE was made known to the Australasian Fire Authorities and Emergency Services Council (AFAC) and the subject became a regular information item on the AFAC Built Environment Group meeting agenda. Drafts of the CODE were reviewed by members of AFAC throughout the process.

When the CODE was completed, a presentation was made to the AFAC Built Environment Group and a letter of support was provided by AFAC supporting the implementation of the CODE by IPCA Ltd. This outcome encourages the Panel industry to use the CODE, as the Fire Brigades now expect all building applications which are submitted for Fire Brigade approval to be Code Compliant.


AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION CONSUMER COMMISSION

The Australian Competition Consumer Commission ("the ACCC") provides guidelines for developing effective industry Codes of Conduct. The ACCC’s interest in developing industry Codes of Practice (COP) is to improve compliance with the Trade Practices Act and to (self) regulate market behavior. The ISP COP was developed using the framework set out in the ACCC’s Guidelines.  As signatories to a COP sign on voluntarily under the ACCC model, a COP such as the IPCA Ltd. CODE are introduced to address gaps in and/or lift the bar above existing regulatory requirements. The CODE does not and cannot mitigate any requirements of relevant legislation.

While the ACCC does not expressly or implicitly endorse the CODE, they do provide support in reviewing drafts of the CODE and provide detailed feedback on structure and content. Feedback was sought from the ACCC and those comments were incorporated into the finalization of the document. The feedback included a suggestion that all drawings and diagrams be included as annexes. Other feedback from the ACCC that was included in amending the document related to further clarification of the objectives and the role of the Code Strategic Advisory and Review Committee that oversees compliance with the CODE. This included dealing with breaches of the CODE, collection of CODE related data to provide an Annual Report on the operation of the CODE and setting timeframes for regular reviews of the CODE.

One of the challenges in developing the COP was that it also included the ISP Certification Scheme. Therefore separating the CODE and the Scheme as two elements to ensure the COP was not a complex document to follow was an important consideration. Following further feedback from the ACCC, there were further amendments were made to the document’s structure to ensure the CODE requirements and the Certification Scheme requirements were complement, but still included appropriate referencing and connection to compliment the total CODE package.