Written by Paul Bonsak 4:35 pm Product Testing & Certification

IAPMO Oceania Now Tests Gas Appliances

Australian-based product certifier IAPMO Oceania has created its own one-stop-shop solution to gas equipment certification and testing.

The well-respected HRL gas appliance testing facility in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs has been acquired by global testing and certification company IAPMO Oceania.

In a move to allow HRL to focus on its core business, IAPMO Oceania has taken on the testing facility to enable gas appliances to reach the market in a timely manner through the IAPMO testing and certification process.

The laboratory is capable of testing and certifying to Australian standards for many gas appliances, ranging from hospitality products such as combi-ovens and barbecue grills to space heaters for the home.

Few plumbers realise the exhaustive testing procedures that gas products are put through before they are made available to the market.

Australia’s gas supply varies to that of many other countries, from where a lot of Type B products originate. (Type B is defined as products that exceed more than 10MJ/hr gas consumption).

As plumbers will appreciate, internal and external gas equipment cannot be affected by wind or other influences within a building, as gas call-backs for minor issues including pilot lights can at times be notorious to fault check. Therefore, rigid testing is required to mimic all possible external weather influences (wind, draughts, rain) as well as ensuring that the exhaust gases of internally installed products will be safely extracted through flueing.

The facilities include chromatography and line gas analysis to a state-of-the-art wind machine that can test a full range of angles up to 95km/hr for outdoor appliance flue terminals. The only one of its kind in Australia, it is automated to allow for faster testing turnaround time for clients to get their products to market more efficiently.

Paul Bonsak, Managing Director of IAPMO Oceania, said, “Our acquisition of the world-class HRL gas appliance testing laboratory will allow IAPMO Oceana to offer and deliver to our customers a faster, more convenient and cost-effective gas appliance testing and certification service. We can now add laboratory testing of gas appliances to our suite of services that we can offer our customers.

“As we expand, we will be including testing and certification of products such as hot water systems and will continue to invest in our facilities and capabilities,” Bonsak added.

IAPMO has retained key HRL staff member Kuldip Sandhu, who has been the NATA signatory for the laboratory’s accreditation and has more than 12 years’ industry experience. Anson Du, Manager of the IAPMO Oceana Gas Division, has welcomed Kuldip to the team as a valuable member moving forward.

IAPMO Oceania is ISO 17065 accredited to operate an effective product certification scheme for plumbing and drainage products to use the WaterMark symbol to meet regulatory requirements. In addition, it offers certification services to its own OceaniaMark™ and GasMark™ product certification schemes to Australian and international standards.

Paul Bonsak
Managing Director at IAPMO Oceania

His professional work includes nearly 50 years in the plumbing industry. Before joining IAPMO in August 2016, Bonsak served as Executive Manager of Energy Safe Victoria’s Gas Installation and Appliance Safety division.

Oceana’s Bonsak Earns Australia’s Highest Public Honor

At first, Paul Bonsak thought he was being pranked. Decades earlier, as he was preparing for a telephone interview, a friend called and pretended to be the interviewer.

“He kept asking me if I was a loser,” IAPMO Oceana’s Managing Director said with a chuckle. “And of course I’m trying to convince this guy that I’m not, and then all of a sudden he started laughing and I realized it was my idiot friend.”

So when a “very properly spoken lady” from the Australian government called to tell him he was being considered for the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division, he thought it best to take down her phone number and called her back.

“I rang them back, and she said, ‘Hello, Mr. Bonsak, do you believe me now?’” Bonsak recalled.

On Oct. 18, Bonsak attended a ceremony at the Victorian Government House, where Her Excellency The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, presented him with the award for his service to children as a provider of foster care, founding horse-riding clubs for the disabled and adults, and for his work within the business community.

The award is part of the Order of Australia, the principal and most prestigious means of recognizing outstanding members of the community at a national level. Nominations are encouraged from all members of the Australian public. Australian honors and awards are presented to men and women whose actions have set them apart and enriched the community across a broad range of professional, public, and community service sectors.

In a message, His Excellency General The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) said, “In their daily lives these admirable people demonstrate those values that we as a nation hold dear — compassion, civility, dedication, courage, kindness, tolerance, and energetic ambition. They inspire us all to be more enthusiastic and giving, to uphold the responsibility of being fully engaged citizens.”

Bonsak repeatedly said his initial reaction was disbelief that he was being considered for the award — the initial call was merely asking him if he was prepared to accept it — claiming he didn’t feel as though he had done anything special enough to warrant it.

“I met a couple of other OAMs and when they told me the stories of the things they’ve done, I’m quite flabbergasted that I was given this award,” he said. “It’s just been my life, it hasn’t been, I don’t know, anything special.”

The scores of people he has helped would likely disagree.

Since 1980, Bonsak has provided foster care for more than 26 children, some of whom lived with him for nearly 10 years. He has worked with a number of disabled and disadvantaged children, as well as some who were involved with drugs and illegal activities.

Among the children Bonsak and his then-wife fostered were rescuees from a cult led by Anne Hamilton-Byrne, a yoga teacher who formed “The Family” and claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. The children had been hidden from the outside world and frequently given psychiatric drugs. While some were children of cult members, others had been adopted under suspicious circumstances.

“She gathered children in many different ways — terrible, terrible ways — and when the police raided her home up in the hills, they found 14 children there,” he said, “so we were given those children to look after, and they lived with us for a couple years.”

Bonsak also founded the Macclesfield Adult Horse Riding Club and Macclesfield Riding for the Disabled. Additionally, he was an original committee member of the Horse Riding Clubs Association of Victoria from 1981 to 1983.

The award also honors Bonsak for his professional work, which includes nearly 50 years in the plumbing industry. Before joining IAPMO in August 2016, Bonsak served as Executive Manager of Energy Safe Victoria’s Gas Installation and Appliance Safety division.

Bonsak said in Victoria, where he lives, one to two people were dying every year of carbon monoxide poisoning from installed gas appliances. After two young boys died in their beds as a result of a faulty gas heater, he spearheaded a public awareness campaign that included training gasfitters to do carbon monoxide testing on appliances. In the ensuing seven years there have not been any carbon monoxide-related deaths in Victoria, the longest such period of time since gas was introduced in Victoria in the 19th century. IAPMO CEO GP Russ Chaney lauded Bonsak for how much he has given back to his community over the years.

“I’m thrilled to congratulate Paul on behalf of all IAPMO members and staff for being recognized and awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for years of foster care for more than 26 children in Australia,” he said. “Paul’s groundbreaking work in founding the Macclesfield Adult Riding Club and the Macclesfield Riding for the Disabled are excellent examples of his philanthropic work for others in need. His compassionate and unstinting commitment to others have led to this well-deserved recognition. We are so very proud of Paul’s effort and his leadership. He is an excellent example to all of us who desire to give back or to lend a helping hand. Paul epitomizes everything that is good in our society!”

Bonsak finally acknowledged that his life hasn’t exactly been ordinary, but he was still surprised to receive the award.

“My life has been a bit special; it has been good,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate and had a wonderful life. And I’ve enjoyed doing what I did. It wasn’t a real burden or something that was arduous; it was something that I liked doing. There was a lot of laughter. We had a lot of giggles and fun; stupid stuff and being dumb with the kids.”

Last modified: July 14, 2023