The first NFPA 13 training in Johannesburg was a great success
It was a first for South Africa: those involved in the development, design, realisation and inspection of sprinkler system installations were recently introduced to the latest insights in the NFPA 13 standard in their own country for the first time.
PARTICIPANTS ABOUT THE TRAINING
Charles Moriarty, Senior Consultant at Riskonet Africa
“The interaction was good; it definitely wasn’t one-way traffic. The participants were able to work well together too. I think this training is a must for anyone working with sprinkler systems at for example insurance companies or consultancy agencies or anywhere. Even if it is only to learn to distinguish the parts and the standards they must meet. Corporate representatives, who manage large portfolios of industrial sites, could also learn a lot here. If they have a good understanding of the role and position of sprinklers in their buildings, they would be better able to manage and assess the maintenance and inspection work.”
Barry Rademore, Operations Manager at IBRFIRE
“In my position, I hear and read a lot about NFPA and the developments going on there. This training was a good opportunity to be brought up-to-date by someone who is clearly well informed. Much of what I learnt in this training has been the subject of discussions before in meetings with customers, but unfortunately, some matters were presented incorrectly to them. I now have the knowledge and arguments and moreover, I am better able to check how certain things work together.”
Danie Locke, Senior Risk Consultant at AON
“I’d like us to have this type of training in South Africa more often. There is so much to learn about NFPA standards. The mix of participants, from brokers to insurance companies to installation engineers and even customers, was fascinating. It made it clear to me that there are various levels of understanding. We all learnt a lot. Above all, the training opened the participants’ eyes regarding an important subject such as the NFPA 13 requirements for water supplies.”
Stuart Beattie, Inspector at Independent Sprinkler Inspection Company (ISIC)
“After more than 40 years in the industry and applying local codes and standards, it was good to see sprinklers from a totally different perspective. I look forward to attending NFPA 20 and 25 in the next few months.”
Andy Mizen, Risk Consultant at AON
“We have been dealing with risk consultancy for a quarter of a century. This was one of the most informative and most comprehensive training courses we have done in years. It was good, very good. I take my hat off to Tom de Nooij.”
Peter Steenfeldt-Kristensen, Risk Engineer at Chubb Insurance
“In this country, we’ve been working with various codes and standards for years. With the NFPA too. This training has removed the mystery around NFPA and taught me how we can apply the standards. The training was at a good level and had the right content. The pace and tone were good and made each element interesting. And it was nice that we could follow this training here in South Africa, that saved me an enormous amount of time and money.”
Neil Esprey, Fire Design Consultant at Silver Falls Projects
“I learnt things I didn’t know. Not only about technical details but also about the functionality of fire protection systems. Besides which, I thought the information was presented in a very pleasant way. I would like to thank Riskonet for offering this training here in South Africa. I hope more training courses will follow.”
The feedback from the participants in Riskonet’s five-day training in Johannesburg was extremely positive: “A clear scope”, “handled in depth” and “plenty of interaction between the trainer and participants!”
Tom de Nooij, on behalf of NFPA and in partnership with Riskonet Africa, provided an intensive, official five-day NFPA training in Johannesburg, South Africa. Before, participants had to travel across the globe to attend such a training. At the end of September, the conference room was filled to the rafters with 35 participants from across Southern Africa and a few neighbouring countries.
“The first official NFPA training in this field”, as Tom de Nooij described the training, drew a very diverse range of participants. They were staff and managers from firefighting organisations, inspection bodies and certification institutions. Among the participants were also designers, installation engineers, inspectors, insurers, brokers, risk consultants and risk managers from public and private organisations.
Thanks to the input from Riskonet Africa’s experts Chris Brits, Janet Short, Ruben Els and Charles Moriarty, the five-day training could be geared to the wishes and needs of the region. In Johannesburg, Tom de Nooij handled the structure and requirements of NFPA 13, among other things. He addressed the risk classification for commercial properties and the requirements NFPA prescribes for various parts of sprinkler installations. During the sessions, De Nooij also spoke about the various types of sprinkler systems and about installation requirements.
The feedback from a number of participants confirmed that the training hit the mark. One participant clearly expressed how they felt about the possibility to follow the training in their own country. “It made it affordable to take part, certainly compared to following training in Europe or the US – that would increase the cost fivefold.”
Another participant also saw clear substantive benefits. “It means that more risk engineers can be introduced to this material, which provides an ‘upskill’: our people’s skill level is raised when they are taught about NFPA’s view on sprinklers intensively and in-depth.”
Additionally, some participants said it was fascinating doing the training with participants from a wide range of backgrounds and viewpoints, varying from installation engineers to assessors from insurance companies. “This confronted me with various mindsets and points of view. We may all be working towards the same objective, but we approach it from totally different angles. It’s good to be aware of that. One person aims for compliance with the rules at the minimum level. The other, for effectiveness at a much higher level. It’s good to get to know the thought processes behind both approaches.”
Include clients too
This led to another participant suggesting inviting businesses/clients, from the industry for example, for subsequent training courses. “They too could learn a lot during such a session. It provides depth, particularly for businesses who up until now didn’t think there was a need for them to build their own expertise in this subject. The misperception created in the local market that NFPA is far more expensive than our local standard was clearly dispelled on this course and we need to get clients to know this. Training like this is a valuable addition to their risk management approach. The NFPA 13 course provides a broad and in-depth understanding of the classification, the hazards, the system requirements, etc.”
At the end of the course some of the participants were already enquiring how to book some of their colleagues and clients on the next course. Clearly these training courses are in high demand and in the first half of 2020 Riskonet Africa aims to bring NFPA 20 (pumps) and 25 (maintenance, inspection and testing) to South Africa with another round of NFPA 13 in the third quarter of 2020. Seats for these sessions will again be limited so early bookings will be essential to secure a seat.