Editor, IFSEC Global

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Adam Bannister was Editor of IFSEC Global from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam is also a former Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
July 18, 2018

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Fire Protection Association

Soaring demand for cladding fire tests inspires major new collaboration

The Fire Protection Association (FPA) is collaborating with US-based safety science organisation UL LLC to boost UK capacity for testing and certification of facades and building envelope products.

Having signed a cooperation agreement with the FPA, UL will invest in the FPA’s existing fire test and research facilities. The two bodies plan to enhance and add to services as well as boost capacity. UL, which already has 500 people working across nine UK sites, will offer product testing and certification from within the facilities’ test lab.

Grenfell has triggered a surge in demand for testing and certification services that the industry – dominated by BRE and Exova Warringtonfire – is struggling to meet. Many building product manufacturers are reportedly seeking testing and accreditation outside the UK with UK-based testing facilities booked up for at least the next six months.

UL will test and certify to the updated British Standard (BS 8414) cladding test, which will shortly be revised based on the findings of tests undertaken by the FPA’s testing and research team and commissioned by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

“We will ensure we play our part in rebuilding public confidence in a robust, reliable and real-life testing regime.” Chris Hasbrook, vice president and general manager of UL’s building and life safety technologies division

“UL is committed to increasing the facade fire testing capacity in the UK as well as the quality of those tests, an area of weakness highlighted by the independent review led by Dame Judith Hackitt,” said Chris Hasbrook, vice president and general manager of UL’s building and life safety technologies division.

“We will ensure we play our part in rebuilding public confidence in a robust, reliable and real-life testing regime.”

“Unrivalled opportunity”

Said Jonathan O’Neill, managing director of the FPA: “Teaming up with the world class team at UL offers FPA an unrivalled opportunity. UL’s mission and expertise perfectly complements our own, and its global presence ensures our customers gain barrier-free access to world markets.

“The Hackitt Review confirmed problems in the UK fire testing market. This new venture aims to deliver the level of quality, expertise and experience required.”

James Dalton, director of policy at the ABI, said: “The ABI commissioned the FPA earlier this year to review the current cladding testing regime of BS 8414, and it was found seriously lacking in five areas.

“This testing regime is not fit for purpose, so we welcome this partnership to improve fire safety testing and certification. We need multiple lines of defence to ensure the safety of all buildings in the future, not just high-rise blocks.”

UL will also offer building envelope inspection services and forensic services for building owners concerned about cladding, insulation and other materials.

The Future of Fire Safety: download the eBook

Is the fire protection industry adapting to the post-Grenfell reality fast enough? At FIREX International 2019, Europe's only dedicated fire safety event, some of the world's leading fire safety experts covered this theme. This eBook covers the key insights from those discussions on the developments shaping the profession, with topics including:

  • Grenfell Inquiry must yield “bedrock change” – and soon
  • After Grenfell: Jonathan O’Neill OBE on how austerity and policy “on the hoof” are hampering progress
  • Hackitt’s Golden Thread: Fire, facilities and building safety
  • Fire safety community has to “get on board” with technological changes

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