API strengthens global initiatives

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AUSTRALIAN Property Institute Life Fellow Robert Hecek has unveiled two major global initiatives with the World Association of Valuation Organisations (WAVO) and International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) coalition, which is aiming to introduce uniform guidelines in every country, giving cross border investors certainty.

Hecek was recently elected the vice president of WAVO, an international body which brings together professional property valuation organisations that represent valuers and related property consultants. The organisation has members across Asia, the United States, Canada and Europe.

Hecek said he has been building the relationship between the API and WAVO for some time, because he believes the API needs to reach out and become part of the global market.

The API, WAVO and the International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC) will kick off the initiative with a global conference to be held in Australia next year.

Hecek also recently attended the inaugural IFSS coalition conference held at the United Nations in Geneva, which consisted of 30 international organisations, created following London’s Grenfell fire.

Hecek said when it comes to accounting, the global community adheres to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which is backed by IVSC.

However, when it comes to fire safety, there is no standard around the world.

“Property has to be valued on a consistent basis… the fire standards are so inconsistent that the valuations would vary, and there would be uncertainty on how it’s based,” he added.

London’s Grenfell was not an isolated incident, there have been cladding fires in South Korea, France, United Arab Emirates, Shanghai in China, Israel, Jakarta in Indonesia, Sao Paolo in Brazil and the Lacrosse building in Melbourne, Australia.

Dubai’s 86-storey Torch Tower has caught on fire twice, the first time in 2015 and the building was repaired using the same combustible cladding products. A fire broke out again last year.

The opulent luxury 63-storey The Address Downtown skyscraper in Dubai was the second building in the city to catch on fire.

Following Grenfell, the UK government removed cladding from Hanover House.

Hecek said these cases highlight that each country has their own standards. Even in Australia, standards are inconsistent across states and territories.

In the wake of the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne, the New South Wales and Victorian governments have banned the use of combustible cladding materials.

Hecek said the inconsistency cannot be accepted and the IFSS coalition intends to introduce a set of standards for the world.

IFSS is backed the World Bank, the United Nations, the United Kingdom government, and recently the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) also joined the coalition.

Hecek said the challenge will be getting each country to accept the standards.

“An analysis of all the standards around the world will have to be done and out of that, we are going to try and draw a draft format, which will be one standard.”

Australian Property Journal