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Simon Croft

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.  

Simon Croft is the Executive Director - Building Policy, at Housing Industry Association.    

How did you become involved in standards development? 

I became involved in standards development when I started as a Project Manager at the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) in 2012.  

The first Standards Australia committee I participated on was for the revision of the roof tiling standard, AS 2050. Following Cyclones Larry and Yasi, and the tragic roof collapse at the Riverside Golf Club, we updated the standard with new learnings, and also looked at potential improvements to roof framing and roof loadings.  

Since then, I have been involved in a substantial number of committees related to Australian Standards referenced by the National Construction Code (NCC) applicable to residential buildings. I now oversee the Housing Industry Association’s (HIA’s) extensive involvement on standards committees. My team currently sits on 40-plus standards committees, which roughly translates to just over 100 standards.     

What role have standards played in your career?   

Standards have played an important role in my career. As an apprentice carpenter in the early 2000s in Victoria, I learned the ins and outs of AS 1684 (timber framing) at trade school, and as a business owner, I had to regularly interpret standards for work.  

This was also the case when I later undertook the training of future carpenters, builders and draft persons on codes, standards and legal obligations at TAFE. The practical side of applying technical standards in real world situations would prove to be invaluable experience for helping to draft standards as a committee member and subsequently as a manager of staff on numerous committees.  

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

In my role as Executive Director – Building Policy & Services at HIA, I get to sit on and oversee the development of several standards affecting the built environment. These include AS 3959:2018 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas; AS 1428.1-2009 Design for access and mobility and Part 1: General requirements for access; AS 3740-2010 Waterproofing of domestic wet areas; plus, a number of wind loading standards and material standards.

HIA has also been involved in labelling technical specifications, battery standards, WHS standards and other industry projects. It’s difficult to pick just one project after working on so many over the years.  

Each revision, amendment or new version of an Australian Standard has its challenges, and simply reaching consensus and publication is an achievement that all committees should be proud of.

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

Outside of standards development, a big focus of my time has been overseeing HIA’s responses to governments on relevant building policy issues that affect the residential building industry, from energy efficiency regulations and accessibility to building products and building certification reviews. It has been a privilege to be part of these discussions and put forward the views of HIA’s members to these important matters.

With the NCC 2019 and NCC 2022 amendment cycles, there have been an extraordinary number of changes impacting building codes and referenced standards that industry has had to absorb.  

Understanding and interpreting all of these changes, and how they will affect the residential building industry, has been an immense challenge. Finding new ways to engage with and communicate what those changes will mean to everyday builders – and being a part of supporting industry through it all – would have to be one of the more meaningful times of my career.

What do you think the future of standardisation looks like? 

I believe standardisation will always require people coming together and sharing different perspectives to achieve consensus on the best outcomes for that time. But with the increase in virtual committee meetings, there has been a time and cost-saving benefit to participants meeting this way. I’ve seen fewer apologies, more targeted outcomes and increased productivity. I believe we’ll see more organisations move solely over to virtual participation in the near future.

Following the release of the new Standards Australia Distribution Framework in 2019, we are also likely to see more digital-friendly standards that are easier to access. After the devastating 2019/2020 bushfires, the bushfire standard, AS 3959, was opened up to industry to help in the rebuilding process and to minimise barriers to access the rules for building in bushfire prone areas. It was a move welcomed by everyone I’ve spoken to and is an example of what can be achieved for standards in the future.  

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

It’s great to be a part of celebrating Standards Australia’s centenary year and acknowledging the many decades of work Australians have given to driving change. It’s an incredibly important milestone and a good reminder that standards exist to ensure our communities are safer for the future. I hope we can encourage the next generation to recognise Standards Australia’s value, and to consider participating and contributing to the work that it does.