Working in an industry regulated by Building Regulations, the National Construction Code, Australian Standards and at times Building Inspectors. There is confusion as to what is the legal requirement and what do I have to comply with. So the question is “When does an Australian Standard become a legal requirement?”
To get this in 300 words, I will keep it very simple, but foolproof.
Watch out for 3rd party referencing for an Australian Standard. For example, a Fire Engineer might design an alternative solution as allowed in the National Construction Code, and in his alternative solution, he might refer to a non-referenced standard, so it becomes a compliance requirement as it is called up by a 3rd party.
Other legislation might refer to an Australian Standard, so it’s always a good idea to understand what legislative framework you are working in. For example, you might need to comply with two different sets of regulations.
One last thought is when there are conflicts between Building Regulations, National Construction Codes, Australian Standards and Building Inspectors, which one do you follow…..The answer is the highest-ranking document will prevail. I.e. The regulations will trump the National Construction Code and the National Construction Code will trump the Australian Standards.
Ok, So the last blog on Australian Standards was more around building in general. Read Part 1. This blog is a guide for Australian Plumbers when dealing with Building Inspectors, Australian Codes, Standards and Regulations.
For the Victorian Plumbers, there is a website you can get lots of free information from. www.vba.vic.gov.au
This is the landing page of the Victorian Building Authority who administers the legislation. In other words, the police for your industry.
You will see the reference to three documents, these are free if you know where to get them from.
Government websites are often clunky to use, but you can find the Building Act 1983 and download it.
Using the same clunky website you can find the Plumbing regulations 2018 and download it.
Specifically for our Australian plumbers after National Constructions codes, see below.
On the VBA website (Victoria Building Authority), there are a lot of guides and practice notes. Too many to mention, but worth a look. You can download these for free.
Apart from understanding water is wet and pipes are round. There is a lot of reading in the legal side of things and we haven’t even discussed what type of plumbing work needs to be done.
More to come but after briefly reading some of the legal literature available, I will leave you with the following facts and questions.
Part 13 of the Plumbing regulations notes the changing of a water efficient shower head is a Plumbers task, however may be carried out by someone who is not licenced nor registered. Ditto for tap washers and minor repairs. DEKS products have technical documents and engineering drawings to help, check them out.
The clearing of blockages or using CCTV to inspect pipes using inspection openings or grates is not plumbing work.
Whilst looking at the legislation website, I found the Plumbing (Building) Act 1998. I wonder why this is not listed on the VBA website under the legislation section.
Oh well, more reading to see what that document requires.
Are the 50 plus technical notes on the VBA website enforceable documents? Are they only suggested or best practice? I may need to call the VBA to answer this one. My thought is if it’s not referenced in the legislation, then it’s not the law… But it’s on their website??? Read about how shit websites can be.
So this is getting bigger and bigger the more I look. Guess there is more reading in store for me……I do wonder if they teach this at trade school?
Is your website particularly bad?
6 months ago one of our biggest customers asked the question: Is your website particularly shit, or am I on the wrong site? www.deks.com.au he was on the right site and he was right……yep it was shit.
It wasn’t that anyone here at DEKS is lazy or we didn’t think it mattered, the opposite really. It was only 12 months ago DEKS uploaded a new website, one that took two years to complete. One that costs a lot of money. One that was linked to our Business software package. One the previous management of the business had brainstormed up and demanded Wiz bangs be part of.
That website went live and within 30 minutes of it being on the internet for the world to see, I called the website company and had it removed and the old website, our customer described as shit, put back up.
Fast forward 6 months and they are at it again. Who do you ask? The Finance manager, A new one this time as the old ones parting gift was the www.trainwrek website of six months ago.
I sit down to read the design brief. All the usual stuff was in there, products, the home page, contact us, etc. The thing that jumped out at me the most, however, was the “About Us Page”. You see the plan was to stick little headshots of the management team on there. Comments about our hobbies and to big note about passing any courses that we did long ago. That’s when the penny dropped for me.
It’s not “About Us” it’s “About You” you, our customer.
This notion was what was wrong with the last website and is what would be wrong with the next website if I didn’t step in. That’s why today on the DEKS.com.au website we have a button that reads “About You”. It’s the most important button on the website because without you there would be no website and no DEKS Industries.
The website you are looking at now is a result of our whole Deks Crew collaborating to produce a website that is for you. We had you in mind, upon a roof, phone in one hand pipe in the other using your thumb only to search a website and select the right product to finish your job. Hopefully, with this site, you can find the right product with one click, see all the right information and a video. Hopefully, the hard work and long days we toiled to produce this site, makes your job easier and helps you finish sooner.
The measure of success for our new DEKS.com.au website will be the “About You” page. That’s where we would like to feature you, our customers with images and videos of the DEKS products you’re using and installing.
So if you like the new website and we are on the right track, send us your pictures and videos, we will proudly upload them. Contact us here!
I believe that staff, by and large, all try their best to do a good job. At DEKS I think that the staff are all really trying hard almost all of the time. There are times for all of us when we can be a little off our game.
That’s OK, life is not perfect.
I have been working really hard for years in business, trying to grow and develop a career. My focus has been on business leadership roles, with passions around marketing, sales and innovative product development. I have worked hard for years to develop a really complete skill set in business strategy. It’s my selling point when I am looking for new opportunities. Well, it was. It was right up until I was reading a white paper one day and the author quoted a famous business leader, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.
I thought about this comment for a while. The more I thought about it the more I could think back of examples that supported it. Strangely enough, the best example of this came from the worst boss I ever had. An amazing global company with great strategy and a poor boss created a terrible culture. No matter how good the strategy, the culture of the business prevented success.
On the other hand, one of the greatest bosses I ever had oversaw wonderful results without much strategy at all. More kind of organized Chaos.
So the last couple of years my focus has shifted to culture. I still ensure we have solid well-targeted strategies, but culture is number 1.
National Building Codes, Standards and Regulations is similar to navigating through chaos, use our guide here to help.
I had an early morning customer meeting recently and on my drive back to the office for no particular reason I was reflecting on that quote: “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.
Arriving at the office I was greeted in reception by an aging Jack Russel terroir named Lu Lu. She belongs to the elderly mother of one of our customer service staff. As her mother was in the hospital the dog can get anxious on its own so she was spending some time at DEKS.
In the hallway, I meet a senior looking gentleman breaming from ear to ear with a grin. Oh, I know that grin, its pride. His son, one of our Sales Managers had just given his dad a tour of the business and an overview of his role.
Up the stairs and into my office. I look up and the cutest little girl you ever saw is on tippy toes trying to write on the whiteboard. She is the 4-year-old daughter of our Product Manager.
As I sat at my desk I thought of the quote again “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. It really does and we have A Dad, a Daughter and a Dog visiting our office today to prove it.