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Barry Lee

As a founding member of Fire Protection Australia and recipient of a United Nations Environment Program Citation and Medal of the Order of Australia, Barry Lee is a significant figure in fire safety and fire safety standards.

Mr Lee’s career spanned 70 years and was hugely impactful to national and international safety and associated standards.

A mechanical engineer by training (RMIT); Mr Lee spent the majority of his career in fire protection engineering as the former Technical Director of Wormald International.  He is also a fellow of Institution of Fire Engineers, UK (IFE) and foundation patron of IFE Australia; in addition to being a Fellow and past director of Society of Fire Protection Engineers, USA.

Mr Lee was awarded Medal of Order of Australia in 1990 for service to industry, particularly in area of fire protection. And in 1989, he was recognised with United Nations Environment Program Citation of Excellence for his outstanding contribution to the protection of the Earth’s Ozone Layer.

More recently, Mr Lee was honoured with The Barry Lee Training Room, a dedicated room that showcases a range of equipment covering wet and dry fire systems.  Situated within the grounds of the NSW Emergency Services Academy, the Room is a collaboration between Fire Protection Association Australia and Fire and Rescue NSW.

Mr Lee commenced his professional career and became involved in standards concurrently in the 1950s in Melbourne.

“Most of my work with standards, was in the ‘Keeping us Safe’ category.  My proudest achievements include completion of the first Australian Standards on fire service pumps, maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment, automatic sprinkler protection for accommodation buildings not exceeding four storeys in height, combined sprinkler and hydrant systems in multi-storey buildings and water spray systems for bushfire protection; also, HB-46 Fire Safety in the Home - all of which I chaired,” explained Mr Lee.

“On the international scene, I chaired ISO TC 21/SC 8, the technical committee charged with development of the first standard on gaseous fire extinguishing systems.  This was duly accomplished and was subsequently adopted in Australia, the UK and South Africa, among others,” he continued.

Mr Lee believes the standards development process has become vastly more sophisticated as time has passed.

“Committee work is enhanced by the use of drafting leaders, work scheduling, progress reviews and specialist staff resources.  The selection and training of young leaders through the NEXTgen program is a good example of the more forward-looking approach to standards development,” he explained.

In the coming years, Mr Lee would like to see clearly, timely development of nation and international standards.

“I envision Standards Australia as being even more active in anticipating standards needs across the board, particularly in areas of emerging technologies such as renewable energy and the like.  I see this as forestalling problems in the field well ahead of issues emerging in practice,” he said.

“Barry is recognised nationally as an influential contributor to our fire safety standards. His dedication and commitment is second to none and his experience in fire safety is world leading. We’re beyond grateful for the work achieved by people like Barry, who are the driving force behind Australia’s safety standards,” said Adrian O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer at Standards Australia.