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Nicholas Burt

Our birthday Standards Heroes have been nominated by their peers to represent all our contributors - individuals we consider to be the real heroes of standards, in Australia and internationally. We thank those who contribute their knowledge and expertise, service, and time to Standards Australia for the benefit of the Australian community.  

Nic Burt is CEO of the Facility Management Association of Australia (FMA). He has over 20 years’ leadership experience, including appointments at the senior executive level within the community services and facility management sectors for both NGOs and local government.  

How did you become involved in standards development? 

After commencing in my role as Chief Executive of the Facility Management Association, I was made aware of the organisation’s status as a nominating organisation. Recognising I was leading an organisation that represents professionals who are impacted by more than 150 Australian technical standards, it was clear that a collaborative working relationship with Standards Australia was key. There was a need to ensure that those standards which impact the profession had considered the professions point of view. In addition to this, the opportunity to work with more than 46 countries on standards that deliver a suite of international frameworks specifically tailored for the industry was an additional driver for involvement.    

What role have standards played in your career?   

In my previous role, I was leading a charitable not for profit and was exposed to the need to implement practice standards across several medical and psychological disciplines. This led to working through the process of having the organisation accredited to ISO 9001. It became obvious through the process of accreditation that it was a real driver that would lead to continuous improvement in the organisation (if implemented effectively). This was exactly my experience, and hence the realisation of the positive impact of standards on organisational outcomes.  

What is a project you’ve been particularly proud to have helped deliver? 

I was extremely fortunate to have initiated the involvement of Standards Australia in supporting the development of the ISO 41000 Facility Management series, which led to active involvement in the suite of standards that have now been developed. I was particularly proud of my personal input in the innovation section and jointly developing the graphic with a colleague representing Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute of the management system standard AS/ISO 41001. In addition to this, the active participation in developing the scope of ISO 41015 - Influencing organisational behaviours for improved facility outcomes and driving its development through vigorous discussion and thought-provoking feedback.

Outside of standards development, what have been some highlights of your career? 

One extremely rewarding highlight was setting up a project that delivered outcomes that improved nutrition for homeless people through implementing a rough cooking program. This was connected to my work achieving Medicare accreditation of a medical clinic for disadvantaged young people and homeless persons and expanding those services to include additional general practitioners and allied health services. Other career highlights include my work in local government with private sector partners, to achieve the development of community facilities through collaboration. Outcomes that drive multiple benefits for a group of stakeholders have always been a passion and this continues to be a principle of my professional practice.

What do you think the future of standardisation looks like? 

I think the role of standards development moving forward is growing in importance. The need to have collaboration between industry stakeholders is critical in an environment where regulation is not always possible or does not deliver an optimum outcome. I think more and more standards will play an important role in the suite of interventions in the market (along with legislation, regulation, and other public policy measures) that protect end users, particularly areas of emerging impact. A system that provides a strong governance framework and can deliver impartial outcomes will always have a role to play in the economy.  

Is there anything you’d like to say or mention about Standards Australia’s centenary year? 

My standards journey has been an interesting one of learning, challenge, and opportunity. I have been privileged to work collaboratively with Standards Australia over the past decade. During this time, I have seen positive developments that have resulted in improved outcomes and efficiencies in delivering the standards. The use of technology is a real enabler in the development, retention, and promulgation of standards. The opportunity to shape technology that will maximise the opportunities for those developing standards and those consuming the content is only matched by the aspiration of Standards Australia. With all this in mind, it makes me ponder on how the journey will evolved over the next 100 years.