A Design Assurance Scheme (DAS) has been established to improve the designs of water supply and sewerage reticulation systems being undertaken for the Melbourne Retail Water Agencies (MRWA). The rationale for establishing the DAS is that there are currently no recognised training courses available in the design of reticulation water supply and sewerage systems.
The DAS is a competency based system involving training and practice, with competency demonstrated through formal assessment. The DAS does not provide a qualification under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), but it is recognised by the MRWA as the principle means of demonstrating design competencies relevant to the water industry.
Specific DAS training courses have been developed to cover the design of water supply and gravity sewerage assets in accordance with the MRWA versions of the WSAA codes. The DAS program for the MRWA codes was administered by WSAA until early 2018, from which point the MRWA have commenced direct management of the program.
The DAS follows the generally accepted view of competency; that being that a person may be deemed competent if they have both the knowledge of a subject and the ability to put that knowledge into practice. Both knowledge and practice are assessed under DAS. Knowledge is assessed by way of a formal written assessment, while practice is assessed via participant submission of relevant design work or an assignment.
The objectives of the water supply and sewerage DAS are:
• Set a minimum standard of competency for accredited MRWA key design personnel.
• Improve and assess the competency of designers and design auditors.
• Encourage an MRWA wide approach to the development of competencies in water supply and sewerage reticulation system design, thereby ensuring the portability of design and design audit competencies between different local water agencies.
The DAS facilitates and assesses both knowledge and experience in three parts:
1. Foundation Knowledge Training
The Foundation Knowledge Module is intended for designers with limited experience to gain further understanding of the design principles. At present, this module is not available and is being considered for future development and delivery to the industry.
2. Advanced Knowledge Training
The Advanced Knowledge Training Module is for designers with significant experience in design of water supply and sewerage reticulation systems, who are involved in the checking and reviewing designs and mentoring more junior design staff. Courses run over 2 days.
3. Advanced Practical Assessment
The Advanced Practical Assessment can be completed with or without having undertaken the Advanced Knowledge Training, however it is recommended that the training be completed first. The assessment comprises of two parts:
• Part A – Written assessment (3 hour open book assessment under exam conditions)
• Part B – Submission of designs