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It’s better to be a member

David Eynon, the director of the Australian Mechanical Contractors Association (AMCA) discusses the countless benefits of being a member of their organisation. The AMCA represents the air conditioning and mechanical services and it has given the industry a voice of its own. The AMCA is celebrating its 50th birthday this year and multiple accomplishments. 50 years ago the industry began to grow, and with this growth meant that different companies required adequate representation. “At that time air conditioning in commercial buildings was becoming an important development in the industry and because the large companies who were doing it felt that they needed special representation. They felt that they had particular commercial issues, particular technical issues that were different to those people who were doing domestic type work. So they wanted to set up an association that represented their interests,” says David.

A two-way street

The AMCA has become a highly respected organization in the industry. Membership to the AMCA is not simply handed out, it is earned. “We don’t allow just any company to join, we only want the companies that have an established record and are working in the major part of the industry,” says David. Just as the AMCA provides members with a variety of benefits, they require certain criteria from members as well. “When somebody applies to join, we will have a look at their record,” says David. “We want to understand what they are looking for and if we can provide it. We don’t people joining and 6 months later saying that that was a waste of time and that organisation doesn’t look after.”While members are entitled to different services, there are other great benefits of being a part of the AMCA. Government regulations are often changing and thus businesses are not always aware of them. The AMCA is able to notify its members, in addition to acting as their voice when issues arise. “Sometimes there are regulations that come in which have unintended consequences. We can collectively get the industry’s voice and take it back to the government and say look this isn’t working.”

The public debate

“In the public debate about issues of greenhouse gasses and energy efficiency, air conditioning is seen as part of the problem. We get a lot of bad publicity, particularly in the domestic market but also in the commercial market. Because air conditioning in a commercial building will basically account for about 50% of all the electrical energy that is used. “David emphasizes the importance of advising clients about how they can operate their plate most efficiently.  Clients often pay millions of dollars to have air conditioning systems installed in commercial buildings, yet they do not maintain them properly. David explains that this is an issue of great importance within the industry right now in terms of energy use and sustainability. “We can be part of the solution to the greenhouse gas issue, not the problem,” says David.

Additionally, in regards to sustainability, there have been significant developments in the control systems that regulate the equipment. “It’s really the controls that operate the systems,” says David. He explains that such systems control when the equipment goes on and off.

Promoting communication between the different levels of construction is very important, says David. “Information management used to be done on hard drawings. Now it’s being done electronically but all the systems don’t talk to each other. It’s an important issue for us right now at the moment. We’re trying to promote and develop standards for the transfer of computerized documentation between various stages in construction.”

A lucky miss

“Like the Australian economy, we’ve escaped it in some sense. We’ve dodged a bullet,” says David. Despite such predictions, the market has not dropped as badly as it was expected to. In comparison to the US and England who have suffered badly, David says they’ve been very lucky.

A growing influence

While David doesn’t predict the membership of the AMCA to grow, he does believe that the organisation will continue to grow in influence. “We’re putting a lot of efforts in developing our capability. In advocacy and policy on behalf of the industry. I’m expectant and hopeful that we will become much more influential in those sorts of policy debates,” says David.