As an RPAS operator although you have a UAS Operators’ Certificate (UOC) issued by CASA at UAS International (UASI) we have found that large organisations – such as for example, our launch customer Nine Network – and major resource and mining companies, require additional safety assurance apart from the holding of a CASA UOC. Large organisations and government agencies require high-‐level and independent assurance that contracted RPAS services will be carried out safely and in accordance with all applicable regulations. UASI in partnership with QBE Australia have developed the UAS International Standard (UIS) to provide a universal standard for the RPAS sector so that Registered Member Organisations (RMOs) can be assured that operators with which they contract meet or exceed these standards and can therefore provide a safe and responsible service.
In being assessed and approved on the UIS panel of Approved UAS Operators (AUO) you will be able to expand your client base and offer the range of UAS services your organisation provides to all USI Registered Member Organisations. Apart from maintaining your existing clientele this gives your organisation access to all the RMOs that will be mostly large corporations and government agencies. The one proviso is that if your existing client is or becomes an RMO then the RPAS services you provide to this client can only be offered through the UIS Program. This requirement is a condition that all RMOs have agreed to in becoming a registered member of the UIS Program and is their ongoing guarantee of a consistent and high standard of all RPAS service providers they retain.
Once approved on the UIS panel of Approved UAS Operators you will be able to offer those RPAS services that you have been assessed or audited against and demonstrated conformance with under the UIS Program. For example, if you have been assessed or audited to provide RPAS services to the Media and Broadcast sector then there will be additional standards that specifically relate to this industry sector.
While the UIS Standards ensure compliance with all the CASA regulatory standards under CASR Part 101 the UIS standards also address specific competency standards required by RMO clients. Again by way of example the media and broadcast Industry Advisory Group (IAG) is comprised of representatives from the major broadcasting networks that have agreed upon additional standards that they consider are important in the provision of RPAS services to this specialist industry sector.
Simply pre-‐register online at www.uasinternational.com and pay a registration fee of $100 +GST. The UIS Program Office (UPO) upon receipt of your registration will review your application and assess your organisation as being either a Tier 1, 2 or 3 Operator. The UIS classification assessment criteria relates to a number of factors including: size and complexity of your unmanned aircraft; the number of units you operate; whether you operate under CASA exemptions and so on. The majority (about 70%) of RPAS operators will be classified as Tier 3 operators – typically smaller multi-‐rotor units. Tier 1 operators are the larger more complex RPAS some in excess of 1,000 kg take-‐off weight. If your organisation satisfies all the pre-‐registration requirements you then need to formally register and agree to undertake an assessment (if you are a Tier 3 operator) by a Certified UIS Auditor. Tier 1 and Tier 2 operators are required to undertake onsite audits – one auditor/one day for Tier 2 and two auditors/two days for Tier 1. The cost of a Tier 3 assessment is $850 +GST less the deduction of your registration fee. The cost of Tier 1 and Tier 2 audits is available through the UIS Program Office.
Most reputable and professional RPAS operators will most probably need to do very little to prepare for a UIS assessment or audit as they may all ready meet most of the applicable UIS International Standards. The best way to prepare for an assessment or audit is to review the relevant program documentation including the UIS Procedures Manual. You will need to nominate a principal contact person and provide the assigned Certified UIS Auditor(s) with any required information or documentation. You should also review any additional standards that may apply to the particular services you have nominated and against which you will be assessed or audited. For example, if you have selected for example, “Media and Broadcasting” or “Resource and Mining” then you should review these standards that have been agreed to by the respective Industry Advisory Groups.
Tier 3 assessments are not conducted onsite but you will need to provide further details regarding your organisation such as the experience of your operational personnel, nature of previous assignments undertaken, details of your safety systems and your organisation’s policies, procedures and practices. Your assigned UIS Certified Auditor (UCA) will be an experienced aviation lead auditor who has undertaken an approved RPAS Lead Auditor Training Course that is ISO 9001 certified. The assigned auditor may require additional information relating to the nature of the services you are offering – for example, specialist aerial photography or pipeline and powerline inspections. If approved onto the panel it is only those type of services against which you have been assessed or audited that you will be able to offer to the Registered Member Organisations. These services and the results of your assessment or audit will then be visible to RMOs via the online (cloud) database UASIS – the UAS Information System. RMOs can then search UASIS by type of service and location to identify which AUO they wish to retain for a specific RPAS assignment under the UIS Program.
The short answer is ‘No’. Only those RPAS operators that can demonstrate conformance to the UIS Standard and ongoing compliance with the UIS Code of Conduct will be registered on the panel of Approved UAS Operators. This is the safety assurance of the UIS Program upon which the RMOs rely. Insisting upon and maintaining high standards guarantees the integrity of the UIS Program and enhances its standing and reputation with the industry, the general public and the safety regulator. Maintaining high standards is how the UIS Program distinguishes between professional RPAS operators who want to do the right thing for their clients from those ‘cowboy’ operators wanting to make a quick dollar – in whatever way they can. Maintaining high industry standards also helps to protect the integrity and reputation of the emerging commercial RPAS sector so that it can further develop and grow – but to do so professionally and responsibly. In gaining registration on the panel of Approved UAS Operators your organisation will be able to promote and market the attainment of this standard and your organisation will be immediately recognisable to high value clients as a reputable and professional RPAS operator. Additionally your organisation will benefit from UASI’s marketing of the UIS Program and promoting your organisation’s participation in the UIS Program.
The negotiation of the terms of retainment and the remuneration you receive from the Registered Member Organisation is entirely a matter between you and the RMO. Apart from your obligation to comply with the terms of your AUO agreement and compliance with the UIS Code of Conduct in the performance of your services the financial arrangements for each assignment is your own business. In accordance with the program documentation if the remuneration for your assignment or series of assignments is less than AUD $10,000 then details of the assignment(s) are recorded on the Provision of Services (POS) agreement. Following assignment negotiations with the client RMO the POS agreement is completed online on UASIS and signed by both parties. Once executed a copy of the POS agreement is electronically forwarded to the UIS Program Office. The RMO will pay a management fee to UASI in respect to each assignment but there is no cost or payment required by the operator to UASI in respect to any assignments. The operator will be entitled to the full amount as agreed with the client RMO. The terms and conditions relating to assignments with a value in excess of AUD $10,000 are addressed in a separate and more formal UIS Services Contract (USC).
Provided the operator performs the assignment in accordance with all the applicable UIS Program requirements and as detailed in the POS agreement then UASI will guarantee full payment of the amount specified in the POS. The RMO is contractually bound to UASI for the payment of the agreed assignment fee. It is important for the operator to understand that this guarantee is only valid provided the POS agreement is forwarded to the UIS Program Office in the manner stipulated above.
Yes. The RMOs require that every operator must have adequate insurance for each assignment undertaken under the UIS Program. Details of the agreed insurance cover are included in the respective Provision of Services agreement or UIS Services Contract for each assignment. The good news regarding insurance is that QBE provides a rebate to current QBE policy holders for operators that are registered on the panel of Approved UAS Operators and that undertake UIS assignments.