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In this Edition

CEO Report

Australia is beginning the recovery process and focussing on the year ahead. Earlier this month, Standards Australia announced, in partnership with the Commonwealth government, an initiative to fund access to AS 3959 for all Australians. This standard will help our communities build back better and more resilient housing.

This initiative was made possible because of the important changes to the Distribution and Licensing Framework and highlights the opportunity Standards Australia has to support important national initiatives in Australia.

On behalf of Board and staff of Standards Australia, I would like to congratulate two of our committee members for receiving the honour of Officer and Member of the Order of Australia. Dr Geoff Boughton and Catherine Inglis were both recognised for their respective contributions to their fields. This is a great celebration of their work and service and speaks to the quality of expertise involved in standards development.

Standards are vital to the growth and sustainability of our country and will impact many facets of Australian lives. To help continue to develop valuable and effective standards, the innovation Incubator is filled with some smart projects, helping us take standards development to the next level.

Innovation is a key focus for Standards Australia and this month we hosted a roundtable to discuss the future of artificial intelligence technology in Australia and around the globe. This is a huge step for AI and will be instrumental in the implementation of this technology across many sectors. Standards Australia looks forward to the official road map launch in a few weeks' time.

Lastly, the Standards Awards are open, and we encourage you to nominate any individuals who have made an important contribution to standards development. These awards are a celebration of the value members add to Standards Australia and the importance of their commitment to the ongoing standards development process.

—Adrian O'Connell, Chief Executive

Key bushfire standard open for all Australians to access

Standards Australia alongside Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology recently announced a joint funding agreement for access to AS 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas.

By funding access to this standard together with the Commonwealth Government, Standards Australia hopes that as communities rebuild after these most recent bushfires, they do so with the support of this standard.

Read more in our media release.

Farming communities helping shape safety standard

Standards Australia is taking important steps aimed at improving the design and construction of livestock ramps and is inviting industry and farming communities for feedback.

DR AS 5340, Design of livestock loading/unloading ramps and forcing yards, has been released for public comment to gain feedback from across Australia, particularly those in the industry and regional communities.

Read more in our media release.

Lifting the crane industry to new heights

The number of cranes across city blocks and in suburban streets has skyrocketed in recent years, and with this increased use, the consultation on over 20 draft standards could not be better timed.

The Standards Australia technical committee responsible for these draft standards has progressed several projects to public comment. These draft standards seek to align Australian safety guidance to that of the international crane industry.

Read more in our media release.

AI Roundtable

Standards Australia was pleased to host the Standard Council of Canada, Tobias Feakin – Australia’s Cyber Affairs Ambassador and other stakeholders at an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Roundtable earlier this month.

The potential of this innovative technology is broad, and standards will be an integral part of its future responsible implementation in both Australia and across the rest of the world. Standards Australia looks forward to working alongside industry and other standards bodies in creating relevant, best-practice standards for this technology.

Graduate intake

February marks the first month of our Graduate Program at Standards Australia.

Four graduates joined us from different industry studies to learn more about standards development. In an exciting first, the graduates will spend time in four divisions across the business to understand and work on the ins and outs of Standards Australia.

Emma Lowes, Head of Human Resources at Standards Australia, said "the program marks the beginning of an incredible opportunity for Standards Australia to cultivate a profile amongst the next generation."

"We have the foundations in place to teach the graduates more about our industry and the value of standards to the Australian community, but we also have the chance to seek a different viewpoint on how we run as a company and changes we could make to be better.

"Applications for our 2021 graduate program open in July 2020 for our February intake.

National Blockchain Roadmap release

Earlier this month the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources released the National Blockchain Roadmap. The roadmap highlights the opportunities that exist in Australia and includes the huge potential and importance of standardisation within the space.

We are proud to have worked alongside the Department in their development of this roadmap and look forward to further work in supporting this technology reach its full potential.

Standards Awards 2020 – nominate now

Each year, Standards Australia takes time out to recognise outstanding contributions to our work as Australia’s national standards body.

Individual and committee efforts are recognised as well as service in Australia and internationally.

Nominations for the Standards Awards can be made on the Standards Australia website.

Nominations close on Thursday 2 April 2020.

In conversation with Geoff Boughton

Geoff is an experienced structural engineer who has been involved in standards development for nearly 40 years. He is dedicated to improving the built environment against the impact of extreme weather conditions, by participating in development and revision of building standards. He is a member of the Australasian Wind Engineering Society and a research fellow and adjunct associate professor at James Cook University’s Cyclone Testing Station.

Geoff was recently appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2020 Honours List for significant service to engineering and professional bodies.

Standards Australia: Why did you first get involved in standards development?

Geoffrey Boughton (GB): Getting involved in standards was a natural extension of my work with the Cyclone Testing Station, where we focused on understanding how buildings were able to resist the loads placed on them in extreme wind events.

SA: Do you think standards can play a role in protecting and building resilient communities across Australia?

GB: They certainly do. When we compare the levels of damage sustained by buildings constructed to the current suite of standards with those constructed to older standards, there is a significant difference in performance. In part, this is due to deterioration of older buildings, but it is also a function of the structural features required to comply with the contemporary standards. For example, in the past many buildings were constructed with nails securing battens to rafters, but current standards require significantly stronger connections, particularly in cyclone-prone areas. We still find houses that have significant roof damage in wind events were those that had battens nailed to rafters.

The above is a simple example, but it underlines the fact that standards are written to ensure that the minimum standard of construction required in the National Construction Code (NCC) give buildings a good chance of protecting life and safety of the occupants. Of course, they set a minimum standard, but if owners choose to build to a higher level, then it can significantly increase their building’s level of resilience.

SA: How have building standards changed in your 40 years of experience?

GB: Australian building standards have changed in a number of different ways over the years. Standards now recognise that most users have access to computers, so design calculations can be much more complex and give a result that more fairly presents the loads for particular design scenarios. The presentation of standards for viewing on phones and tablets makes them much more accessible on building sites.

The writing or revision of standards has however become much more complex, particularly if the standards are referenced in the NCC. Justification of even minor changes require significant cost-benefit analyses, which presents challenges in finding data on design events that have a very low probability of occurring. This is particularly difficult when considering the rapid changes that are happening within building practice, and the potential effects of climate change.

SA: What do you think is the future of standardisation?

GB: Developing resilience of building stock through safe and effective building standards is a powerful tool for fostering community resilience. Revisions of standards will need to be quickly developed and implemented to keep pace with rapid changes in materials, construction practices and climate change, so that new buildings can meet the expected loads over their lifetimes. There is also a continuing need for voices in standards committees that strongly represent the community interests and initiate and press for change when required.

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.

Highlights from February (PDF)

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. View draft standards currently open for comment.