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The Shed Safe Myth

Before I start, please let me clarify a couple of things. I do not have an axe to grind against ShedSafe. In fact, I have known Neil Creek for more than 20 years. And although we have had our moments over the years, Neil has come to my rescue on many occasions, and I have the greatest respect for him.

I have no objections to ShedSafe, and I will become an enthusiastic member the second they legislate that membership is compulsory. If ShedSafe works for you, more power to you, keep doing it. I am not writing this in any way to dissuade you from ShedSafe. I just want to give you a different point of view. What you see, depends on how you look.

Not that long ago we were competing against Ranbuild for the Mens Shed in Ashmore on the Gold Coast. I clearly remember being asked by one of the committee members if we were ShedSafe. I saw that as my opportunity to get the sale and we did. When somebody asks me “are you ShedSafe” I say.

“Oh no! (the emphasis on the Oh no!) we are BCA compliant, which is the building Code of Australia and the only statutory body that engineers must design to. ShedSafe is not a statutory body as far as I know, you might want to check with them weather they are BCA compliant (instilling a little doubt always helps) and if they are you might want to ask them why a ShedSafe shed is any better than any other shed that is BCA compliant.”

Don’t matter what you sell, sell what you have, or don’t have.

This is the blog I wrote a few years back.

What Is ShedSafe

ShedSafe is part of the Australian Steel Institute (ASI) a self-serving group that promotes Australian made steel as the preferred material for manufacturing and construction. This is obviously a good thing for Australia.

ShedSafe claims to be “the industry benchmark for Australian manufactured sheds” and it unquestionably is, considering that there is no other comparable body in Australia.

Perhaps if the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Americans, or European steel producers had an interest in selling more steel in Australia they could start their own association and call it, say “ShedSafer”.

It’s worth noting that on closer examination the ShedSafe web site makes use of the words “Accredited” and “Peace of Mind” in association with the word ShedSafe.

To the casual observer this could mean that if I buy an “Accredited” “ShedSafe” shed I will have the “peace of mind” that I will not die from a shed that will fall on my head. As those they depict on the ShedSafe home page, that presumably are not “Accredited” ShedSafe sheds. The use of fear in marketing is pure marketing 101.

So, let’s set the record straight. The positioning statement “Just do it”, when associated with Nike probably means put on a pair of Nike shoes and start running. But you don’t need Nike shoes to “Just do it” Adidas, Asics, Reebok, Brooks and many other brands are every bit as good as Nike, if not better.

A ShedSafe shed is no safer than any other shed that has ever been manufactured in Australia that was engineered to the Building Codes of Australia (BCA) by a registered, practicing structural engineer. Simple as that.

Let me say this another way, the BCA is a statutory body in Australia that regulates how buildings are engineered. A structural engineer has a legal obligation to engineer a building to the BCA code. Where an engineer does not and is found to be negligent in their duty the Board of Professional Engineers may disbar that engineer from practising. No different from the disbarring of solicitor or doctors in cases of gross negligence.

I would argue that there would be very few engineers in Australia (some 11,000 of them) that would design an unsafe tin shed that could fall and kill someone, for the sake a few dollars and at the risk of their livelihood.

ShedSafe has no regulatory powers of any kind. ShedSafe is not an engineering organization. ShedSafe can’t tell you when your shed is going to be delivered and ShedSafe most certainly can’t give you a refund if one of its members goes belly up before you get your shed.

When buying a shed don’t go for meaningless slogans that are designed to self-serve and create fear. Every shed that is designed to the BCA code by a duly registered practicing structural engineer is as safe as any other shed on the Australian market.

When buying a shed go for what you consider to be best for you and if that shed comes with a letter of certification from a practicing, registered structural engineer, it’s all the guarantees that you will ever need that your shed is “accredited” and provides “peace of mind”.

In conclusion, if you are thinking that ShedSafe defines your business, think again. You can sell ShedSafe, or you can sell not ShedSafe. It’s all in the way you spin the story.

Please feel free to use my blog if you see any value in it.