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In this Edition

CEO Report

Standards Australia recently announced a new mobile model designed to give users the ability to keep up to date with the latest standards via their mobile phones.

This initiative is the latest instalment of a broader program to make standards more accessible, and aims to give hundreds of thousands of users the choice of a lower cost, easy-to-access mobile solution to work safely, efficiently and profitably.

Through new offerings like this, we hope to boost safety, productivity, compliance and convenience for users, at significantly lower prices. These new delivery models also remove reliance on old technologies like PDFs, an important consideration for many of our increasingly tech-savvy users.

This new initiative has the support of industry groups, such as the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), whose members would certainly benefit.

Under the new model, an electrician could select 22 commonly used electrical standards (including future updates) and pay an annual fee of approximately $90. For comparison, an electrician would currently expect to pay $208 for a single standard such as the Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules (AS/NZS 3000:2018 Electrical Installations).  

There are benefits for other user groups, also - for example, a builder needing access to the primary referenced standards in the National Construction Code (NCC) would pay approximately $100 per year for access on a mobile app.

Standards Australia will continue to consult with industry in the coming months to tailor and test our offering, and will also work with partners on delivery for this program. We hope the first distributors will be ready with apps in the market by the end of 2023.
You can read more about this exciting development here

New Members appointed

The Board of Standards Australia approved the appointment of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Consumers' Federation of Australia, and Professional Standards Authority as Members of Standards Australia at their Board meeting in March.

Organisations interested in applying for membership to Standards Australia are invited to review the criteria which is intended to update and broaden the company's membership, with the aim to grow Standards Australia's relevance and reach and reflect a modern Australia.

Information regarding our Members and the criteria for membership is available here.

Enquiries regarding how to apply to become a Member and requests for a Membership Application form are welcomed by Standards Australia and should be directed to our Company Secretary.

Standards Australia and OBC partner to improve fire safety in NSW

Standards Australia and the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner have developed a new online training module on fire safety measures for fire doors.

Click here to find out more information and how to register for the course.

Standards Australia signs a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam

In March, Standards Australia’s General Manager, Engagement and Communications, Adam Stingemore, met with Dr Ha Minh Hiep, Acting Director General of The Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality.They signed a Memorandum of Understanding, intended to facilitate collaboration in international standards development.

In Conversation with Paul Uno

Graduating as a civil engineer from the University of Sydney, Paul Uno's extensive career includes time at companies including Boral, Transfield, the Australian Institute of Steel Construction, Cement and Concrete Association, and CSR (Readymix). Also a lecturer in civil engineering and built environment, in 1998 he started a consulting and training business now known as the Engineering Training Institute Australia. He is currently the chair of the BD-066 Prefabricated Concrete Elements committee, holding the role since 2011.

When did you first become involved in standards development?

My very first exposure to Australian Standards was at the University of Sydney in the early 1970’s and then using Standards in my various employment positions afterwards. However, it wasn’t until the late 1980’s that I became involved in the development of Standards. This occurred because of my role as Senior Engineer at the Australian Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). My boss (Arthur Firkins) asked me to Chair the committee responsible for AS 2327.1, Composite structures — Simply supported beams.

Once I left AISC, I continued to use Australian Standards in most of my employment positions. In 2010 I was drawn back into Standards development when I was asked to become the chair of BD-066.

I still enjoy interacting with the very talented and experienced members of BD-066. If you have dedicated and passionate members of your committee then you will produce a Standard worthy of the industry. I am proud to say that parts 1, 2 and 3 of AS 3850 fall into this category – thanks to the dedication, talent and experience of the committee members.

How do standards impact and interact with your industry?

Any person who works in a specialised field (whether it be structural engineering or other disciplines) is required to satisfy the guidelines and recommendations outlined in those documents. Having been an expert witness for many law firms over the years, this point is extremely relevant.

A majority of lawyers are not familiar with engineering principles or the Standards that relate to specialised areas within the profession, so they hire experienced engineers such as me to be the bridge between the law and engineering.

I have seen lawyers go through each word pedantically in a standards document to see if the engineer that is being sued has satisfied a standard.

Even though our committee has done a great job in updating AS 3850 over the years, we are still over-ruled by the requirements of the Precast and Tilt up ‘Codes of Practice’ in the various States (refer to

Suffice to say the impact of standards on our engineering industry is paramount.

Why is access to standards important?

If engineers don’t have access to standards then they have little idea if their work satisfies the old adages: “deemed to satisfy”, “fit for purpose” or “duty-holder must meet the standard of behaviour expected of a reasonable person".

In other words, whether your product, your design or your process produces a reasonable outcome, which in itself is safe and would reflect what most professionals in your field satisfy.

If you decide to not engage a professional to design or assess your project then you are liable to either produce a design or embrace a construction procedure that is too conservative, or worse, too dangerous in its outcome.

What is the future of standardisation in your area of work?

There will always be a future for standardisation in any area of work (not just my field of structural and civil engineering). However, it must be noted here that standards will not have a future if experienced professionals in their field do not contribute to the development of Australian Standards. All committee members provide their services ‘gratis’ to ensure the industry continues to develop and move forward.

I know of many standards that are in desperate need of revitalisation (eg Swimming Pools AS 2783-1992, Liquid Retaining Structures AS 3735-2001, Retaining Walls A S4678-2002, Piling AS 2159-2009, Aluminium AS 1664-1997, Residential Slabs and Footings AS 2870-2011, just to name a few).

I would therefore encourage all engineers who feel they have specialised knowledge in certain areas to come forward and either reactivate or join the committees responsible for the standards or, if required, produce new ones.

The process is very easy – just find an Association, Industry group or Union that you either belong to or wish to join, then get them to nominate you for a position on the Australian Standard of your choice.

Give back to the next generation and continue to provide a future for Standards.

International update

Standards Australia represents Australia on the two major international standards development bodies, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Our activities are reported on our International updates page.

Click here to view our highlights from April (PDF):

• Specialty metals and minerals: New Field of Technical Activity
• New cyber security standard enhances cryptographic protocol security
• International standards can help ensure safe and responsible AI development

Sector Update

Access the latest standards development news in your industry sector via our Sectors page.

Drafts Open for Comment

The public comment process provides an opportunity for stakeholders and members of the public to make valuable contributions. With the launch of our new public comment platform, draft standards currently open for comment are now available via Connect.