The Australian National President, Andrew Allan, recently met with three of the country’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of stormwater management infrastructure.
The representatives of Stormwater 360 (Jeremy Brown), Rocla (Stephen D Baker) and Humes (Dr Charles Kelly) all raised significant concerns about performance claims being made by other suppliers in the industry.
All three pointed out that misleading performance claims do enormous harm to companies trying to do the right thing. Even more importantly however they maintained that misleading performance claims will have a significant impact on the stormwater industry segment as a whole.
"When you have a supplier making performance claims that just can’t be achieved in the field everyone in this industry suffers," Jeremy Brown, Managing Director of Stormwater 360 said following on from the meeting.
"When manufacturers’ claims lose credibility, product specifiers have to spend much more time and money investigating those claims as do project assessors and that adds to everyone’s bottom line.
"And think of the challenges faced for example by the young civil engineer designing a commercial development who may not have the skill set to assess manufacturers performance claims - they can take the word of the manufacturer, which could be a risky decision, or they can seek further professional advice which only adds up to more expense and delay’ Brown continued
Nationally agreed performance evaluation criteria just make such good economic and environmental sense for everyone.
DA’s could be approved more quickly with much higher levels of environmental certainty.
"We just have to have a set of performance standards that clients can use to decide which system is best for them.
"We basically have to provide a system whereby our clients can make a legitimate ‘apples to apples’ comparison.
"When we have those protocols or standards in place, clients can be confident in the decisions they take and will get the outcomes they are seeking and that is what everyone in this industry and in particular this Association should be pushing for."
Brown acknowledged that establishing protocols would take a significant of time and effort but is of the view that, "it just has to be done".
Brown also called on the Stormwater Industry Association and its members to accept that there was far more to this challenge than just writing agreed protocols.
"While we could as an Association produce fantastic protocols, if they are not acknowledged and supported by Councils and other jurisdictions across Australia then we will wasting our time.
"There is a large financial commitment required by manufacturers to comply with protocols ‘ Brown added
"Stormwater 360 for one would be hesitant to commit any money to meeting the requirements of these protocols unless they gain support and agreement from all jurisdictions across the country.
"I’m sure between the members of the Association and other industry professionals, we could produce something functional and accepted by all Australian jurisdictions and we, as a company would certainly be behind that.
"With decent protocols we can make a huge difference. Without them the Association and the industry will still be at the mercy of people seeking a quick return and that would be a recipe for real disaster " Brown concluded.