Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
September 5, 2019

Sign up to free email newsletters

Download

‘Secure by default’ in the age of converged security

UK should replicate Ireland’s building control regime: ASFP workshop

The UK government should emulate the building control regime across the Irish Sea to improve fire protection standards during the design and construction process, according to The Association for Specialist Fire Protection’s (ASFP) Ireland Operations Officer.

During recent a Passive Fire Protection Workshop by the ASFP, David O’Reilly said the Building Control Amendment Regulations (BCAR) offered an effective template for fostering transparency and accountability.

The BCAR:

  • Mandates a rigorous inspection process
  • Defines the role of professionals throughout
  • Requires that certificates are signed off at various stages by assigned certifiers and ancillary certifiers
  • And requires designers to sign off the completed building

The workshop, which took place at the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) AGM and Conference in Brighton on 17 July, examined how passive fire protection is currently delivered and how it might be improved. Discussions were framed around four key pillars of the building lifecycle: design and specification; installation; inspection and certification; and ongoing management/maintenance.

ASFP CEO Niall Rowan championed the role of passive fire protection in saving lives and protecting firefighters and property, before reviewing the post-Grenfell regulatory environment and various government consultations.

Fire Safety Overlay

There was agreement that fire safety should be considered early in the design process. With this in mind, Rowan reported that the ASFP has been working with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) on creating a Fire Safety Overlay for the RIBA Plan of Works.

Providing a detailed specification for fire protection at the design stage and a fire schedule throughout construction, the Fire Safety Overlay includes sign-offs as construction progresses, with all information reaching the end-user to support fire risk management. Delegates heard that the Plan of Works should also include an enhanced role for fire engineers.

Concerns were raised about weak enforcement of regulations, with inspections often absent at crucial stages in the construction process. Audience members also noted that changes to building regulations did nothing to improve fire protection in existing buildings.

Monitoring of the construction process could be enhanced by clarifying what should be inspected and when, making third-party certification of products and installers mandatory and reintroducing the Clerk of Works role, delegates heard.

Installation work could be improved, meanwhile, by setting, and inspecting against, a benchmark for good practice for each project and focusing on improving the competency of installers and maintenance staff.

Noting the lack of a mandatory requirement for installation qualifications, ASFP head of training Phil Brownhill said the ASFP and IFE had developed a training course leading to Level 2 and Level 3 IFE qualifications.

It was agreed that qualifications should be mandatory for installers and inspectors of fire protection products.

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

Related Topics

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Sign up to free email newsletters