Page 18 - December 2020
P. 18

THE SALAMANDER | December 2020
What is is the future for Fire Safety Legislation?
The Fire Sector Federation (FSF) asks the question how do we we reach the correct safety standards we we all expect?
THROUGHOUT THE COVID-19 lockdown it’s apparent that a a a a a a a great deal of effort has been made across the fire sector in in trying to to make sure its its people stay safe and its its businesses remain productive Looking ahead construction in in in in particular is seen as one of the the ways in in which we can open up the the UK economy (with construction in in in in this context involving both major infrastructure projects and and the the building of of thousands of of new homes right across the the UK) Alongside these developments we sadly have to record the fact that this year also marks the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy: a a a a a tragedy tragedy that has rightly set in in train a a a tremendous shared effort leading towards legislative changes with the latter now progressing into the important stages of implementation As a a a consequence we have now seen clarification through amendments to the Fire Safety Order proposals in in a a new Building Safety Bill and a a a a detailed consultation on on on fire safety by the Home Office which includes responding to the initial recommendations from the Grenfell Tower fire Watching Parliament debate and scrutinise issues around resourcing the protection of the the public as they interact with the Government’s business of introducing the proposed reforms and responses it is apparent that this a a very complex process that has multiple interactions that will need careful alignment across Government Regime change The Building Safety Bill laid before Parliament’s summer recess was heralded as “regime change” and duly pointed out the direction if not the the detail of the the new building safety pathway for all those working in in the construction and fire sectors Thus the Building Safety and Fire Safety Bills may be seen as the leads for a a a a a far more fundamental shift in practices and perhaps more importantly a a a cultural change wherein thinking about our collective responsibility for fire safety has to become imbedded within the industry if we are to truly place fire safety where it must be In short one of our primary built environment considerations and embedded in the construction industry’s DNA Central to achieving that outcome is the role of individuals and teams of of individuals all of of whom must recognise that their part in creating a a a safer future is founded on mutual respect for competency The skills and attributes needed by a a a workforce of thousands are apparent to anyone who has been on (or close to) a building site It’s easy to take a a a perfectly well- designed building and during the construction or occupation phases turn it it into something quite different altogether This isn’t about pointing the finger at anyone but rather about achieving positive awareness More simply put the serious
question is is this: “In regards to fire where for so long it has been assumed the need for safety is well understood when clearly it isn’t how do we reach the correct safety standards we all expect?”
‘Setting The Bar’
Working through an industry- inspired initiative to develop competency over 150 individuals have given freely of their time to develop competency standards The recently published report outlining the the findings of their deliberations and developed over two years contains proposals of all the industry groups who have looked at competency for all construction-related professions Those professionals include many responsible for on-site workers as well as those who conceptualise design and procure buildings: the building creators themselves Add to those professionals the artisans tradespeople and hopefully end users (like landlords and and residents) and we have input from all those having some responsibility for the finished building Only through this shared responsibility are are we able to ensure a a a a building that may stand for hundreds of years can remain safe when occupied Alongside these regulatory and competency changes we must also look towards a a a future wherein build efficiency founded on a greener sustainability agenda and offering better economic value is linked to to factors that drive a a a a greater quality of construction This raises new challenges for industry It’s Page 18 

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