The Association of Hydraulic Services Consultants Australia (AHSCA) is a Member association of consultants and designers engaged in the design, specification and inspection of hydraulic and fire protection systems. The AHSCA has recently become a partner of the Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards and has deepened its relationship with Master Plumbers, joining forces to push a common agenda in new proposals for the Regulations sunset. Kate Stephenson caught up with AHSCA President Ross Weight to discuss the latest developments.

The AHSCA is a Member organisation like Master Plumbers. How many Members do you have? Is there cross over between industries?

The Association has been around since the late 1980s. We have approximately 200 Members across a range of Membership categories, the biggest of which is Plumbing Design. Only in recent years have we put special attention into forging direct connections with the plumbing industry. We are currently dealing closely with Master Plumbers as part of Regulations reform. When we propose changes together and speak as one voice, it works more effectively. It’s much better when we are both on the same page and have a consolidated
approach to regulation reform.

Do you have a connection with plumbers in the industry?

We have several Commercial Plumbing Affiliate members and we encourage plumbers to be involved as a part of our Association because the two are so closely interlinked. What our Members design, plumbers install. It’s a two way communication. Both industries are affected by the same issues. There are things we are communally working to change. The responsibility of the design component of plumbing work is currently that of the plumber. So when the plumber signs their Certificate of Compliance they are also taking responsibility for the design. We want to work towards separating the definition between standard and complex plumbing, where the design element becomes a separate entity too.

How long have you been President of the AHSCA and what is your background?

I was previously on the Board of the AHSCA for five years as Senior Vice President from 2004. I took over as President in May this year.
I started as a graduate engineer at Lincoln Scott in the city and worked there for several years. Then I began working at my current company Hydrautech Designs and branched out to specialise in water treatment and aquatic engineering. I took over the business in 2007. We are a comparatively small firm, but we certainly punch above our weight in terms of taking on large projects with a small team.

You have teamed up with the University of Sunshine Coast to change the way the industry approaches roof drainage systems with the ‘Big Rig.’ Can you talk us through the thinking behind this project?

We are restricted by the current Australian standards, working to the AS3500 where downpipes in that standard are limited to 16 litres per second. We work on projects that are much larger than that and need flows to match. Part of building a Test Rig is to test the potential to go beyond those flows. We have learned that we can get flows well in advance of 16 litres per second so we are feeding that back to our members through a training course scheduled for October this year.

People ask why the Big Rig is in Queensland. We are following the work of Associate Professor Terry Lucke who is a world expert on drainage systems. He was formerly in South Australia but has moved his research to the University of Sunshine Coast. We’ve got to go where the experts are. His work on the Big Rig has been commissioned through the AHSCA Research Foundation which is chaired by former President Mark Alexander with our Victorian representative Ben Rimmington; also a former association President.

The state chapters of the AHSCA work independently to fund the AHSCA Research Foundation and at the moment the Test Rig is our key focus. Once this has been established at the end of the year, we will segway into software programming design. The raw data is being established; the rest is yet to come.

For more information on the AHSCA and how to join visit