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March 7, 2023

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Golden thread

Building a better future: Why new regulations will bring about a safer industry

While the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations have brought about some welcome fire safety measures, sector professionals must still consider how they practically achieve and meet them. Rob Norton, UK Director at PlanRadar, provides his view on how this might be done.  

Rob Norton, UK Director at PlanRadar

The construction industry has had a turbulent time with building and fire safety. Even now, nearly six years after Grenfell and following Hackitt’s review into building regulations, the sector has a long road ahead. There must be a concerted push towards reducing instances of fire safety failings.

Only last year in May, the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) found three quarters of inspected doors failed to meet required standards. More recently, residents from a nine-storey apartment block in Ipswich were forced to leave their homes over fire safety concerns.

Unfortunately, these are not one-off scenarios.

Greater accountability on fire safety checks

It’s no surprise the government has been firm in its response, enforcing stricter and tighter legislation to force developers and building owners to take fire safety seriously. And as of January, updates to the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into action as the next wave in a firm approach to the industry-wide issue.


Rob Norton will be talking on how responsible persons and fire professionals can best meet the new Regulations and golden thread principles in an upcoming IFSEC Global webinar on 15 March.

Register here: The Digitisation of the Golden Thread – Are you golden thread ready?


One of the biggest changes in the recent legislation has been the emphasis on the Responsible Person (RP) who now has increased duties and responsibilities as part of the role.

For example, it’s now a legal requirement to provide evidence of annual and quarterly fire safety checks. Detailed safety information on the layout of high-rise buildings must also be provided and supplied digitally to local fire and rescue services.

However, whilst these measures represent positive change, they echo a wider sentiment – building owners must be made accountable for the safety of their occupants.

What’s more, there is a growing consensus that digital processes must be adopted to achieve the ‘golden thread’ of information.

The new laws will also help to overcome challenges around fire safety door checks, where quarterly checks should mean that issues are spotted and addressed more effectively. Faults to firefighting equipment will also need to be reported.

PlanRadar-GlobalHSE-MobileFireChecks-23Supplying critical building information to local authorities and ensuring it’s accessible on site are also huge steps in creating a wider culture of building safety – helping emergency services to prepare and respond to the worst of eventualities.

How does the sector practically meet the new regulations?

Yet, whilst there’s no doubt that the sector is entering a new safety-first era, it must still consider the practicalities of how it meets these new expectations. As it stands, there’s a sliding scale in terms of businesses doing everything they can and those who don’t know where to start.

In a constantly shifting regulatory landscape, it’s worth highlighting that there are solutions to support the industry in the form of digital platforms and software.

By providing developers with the right digital tools for the job, they can accurately record and log evidence of fire safety elements on a level never achieved before. Furthermore, with the use of images and video, teams can show proof that the correct work has been carried out.

“We can all agree that new regulation changes are creating a safer construction industry for all, but let’s be sure we know how to get there.”

The rise of construction management apps has meant that teams can become ‘digitised’ with minimal training. A ‘download and go‘ approach means images and videos can be recorded live on-site and immediately shared with the rest of the team, creating up-to-date digital, tamperproof audit trails.

In the grand scheme of building safety, it’s helping to facilitate the construction sector’s move to producing a digital golden thread, ensuring accountability can be traced, and raising the industry’s game to the level it so desperately needs.

With ongoing industry and government discussions around building and fire safety, we will likely see more changes coming down the line. Construction businesses must be agile and ready to adapt to whatever comes their way. By opting for digital software, businesses can navigate the increasing legal complexities they face with confidence.

We can all agree that new regulation changes are creating a safer construction industry for all, but let’s be sure we know how to get there.

 

Secure your ticket for FIREX 2023!

16-18 May 2023, ExCeL London | Bringing competency in fire safety to the forefront

Connect with the fire safety community at FIREX 2023. You'll find hundreds of leading exhibitors from the active and passive fire sector, showcasing all the latest in fire protection, prevention and detection solutions. With third-party product approvals a condition of exhibiting, visitors can be assured of the quality of solutions they're seeing, and the all-new distributor network is also launching this year.

Network with thousands of peers and likeminded professionals, while attending dedicated conference sessions covering updates in legislation, technology and building safety from leading figures in the industry.

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