NCC 2022 and passive fire: Evidence of suitability

To date, evidence of suitability rules in the NCC have not been very efficient.

Under current arrangements, many suppliers have been able to use decades-old tests to support the use of their products, even if the scientific thinking and research has moved on.

Fire testing of components and systems is increasingly becoming more confusing, complicated, and intertwined with multiple products and systems.

Testing documents used as evidence of a product’s suitability are not given sufficient scrutiny to assess limitations, or to validate the supply chain and manufacturing processes required to create it.

However, changes to the NCC, and the proposal by the ABCB’s Building Confidence Report Implementation Team for a National Product Assurance Framework, may fix this.

While nobody wants to force companies to undertake multiple unnecessary tests, better product certification would give better guidance to designers and builders, and improve community safety.

In this session we will consider the implications of this potential change on the passive fire sector.


Leigh Gesthuizen

National Manager - Technical, FPA Australia

Leigh is currently employed by FPA Australia as the National Manager Technical and Advocacy.  He has been involved in the building regulatory industry for 35years, cutting his teeth on the Melbourne Central tower and shopping precinct.  An expert in concrete technology and fire testing, he has worked with both Australian and offshore accredited testing laboratories.  9 years off shore experience in South East Asia for manufacturing, supply chain management.  Leigh has represented FPA Australia as a member for technical seminars in the passive and fire door sectors.  He continues to remain engaged with the international fire testing industry.

Matthew Wright - Head shot

Matthew Wright

Built Environment Manager, Australasia, UL

Matthew Wright is UL’s Built Environment Manager for Australasia – a position created by UL to spearhead development of UL service offerings tailored to Australia and New Zealand.

With a passion for delivering safety in the built environment, Matthew has held roles implementing and developing requirements and good practice guidance across all building types.  This has included collaborating with national and international stakeholders to build relationships and improve outcomes.

As an influential industry advocate, Matthew has achieved meaningful change in legislation, codes and Standards, including strategic generational change to the fire safety strategies of the National Construction Code, as well as frameworks for practitioner competency.  He has worked in local government and private industry building surveying, as well as roles with the fire brigade and Australia’s peak fire protection association. Matthew’s current role is focused on championing product safety and certification solutions and providing a conduit to contemporary research responding to emerging trends and hazards, building on UL’s global reputation of integrity, safety science and thought leadership.

Matthew holds a Bachelors Degree in Building Surveying, a Graduate Certificate in Performance Based Building and Fire Codes and a Graduate Diploma in Fire Safety and Risk Engineering.  By ministerial appointment Matthew also served two terms as a member on Victoria’s Building Appeals Board and was Fire Protection Association Australia’s inaugural Building Codes Committee representative for the Australian Building Codes Board.  Matthew was appointed as one of 5 members of an international jury for the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s “Fire and Risk Engineering Award” and presents regularly at industry events.

Chad McLean

Chad McLean

Certification Manager – Australia, Warringtonfire

Chad McLean is the manager of the Certifire product certification scheme, operated by Warringtonfire Australia. He has been with Warringtonfire for 19 years. For twelve of those years, he was the manager of the fire testing division of the business, before recently taking on the role of establishing the product certification scheme.

Chad takes pride in being an advocate for increasing the quality and certainty of passive fire products within the fire protection industry, whether from a testing point of view or in his current role in product certification.

Keith Nicholls


Peter Whiting - pic

Peter Whiting

Senior Fire Engineer, BRANZ

Peter Whiting is a Senior Fire Engineer and the Fire Testing Team Leader at BRANZ. He has been in the Fire section at BRANZ for more than 25 years and before that involved in the construction industry employed in various architectural practices.

Peter has completed post graduate studies in fire risk engineering and fire related performance-based building codes at Victoria University of Technology, Melbourne.

At BRANZ Peter heads up fire testing, has been involved in fire research informing building code changes, fire safety consultancy and is a committee member working on the development of several fire testing standards.