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FPA Summit targets policy changes to protect people and property

Posted 24 October 2019 · Add Comment

The annual Fire Protection Association (FPA) Fire Sector Summit - being held on 5th November, at One Great George Street, London - is set to be a catalyst for change as it aims to challenge current policy and provide the very latest sector thinking and developments to secure the protection of people and property.



Above:  Jonathan O’Neill OBE, Managing Director of the Fire Protection Association (FPA) will chair the Summit.
Courtesy FPA


The FPA, the UK's national fire safety organisation, says that with pressing issues such as timber frame buildings, cladding and toxicity, the industry is running out of time to influence change.

In the last three months alone, there have been five UK fires in commercial and residential timber framed buildings. Fires which have put multiple lives and property at risk. The Worcester Park fire in September saw a four-story block of flats destroyed and families lose their homes and belongings. Despite the widely reported tragedy at Grenfell Tower in 2017 and the progress made from the Independent Review of Building Regulations by Dame Judith Hackitt, fires are not decreasing in frequency, size or impact. The first phase report of the Grenfell inquiry will be released on 30th October 2019.

This year’s Summit will also cover newly emerging issues such as the toxic effects of fire - something research has shown can cause ongoing health issues.

Challenging the current state of affairs is a frequent theme at the Summit. This year, Stewart Kidd, Managing Director from the Loss Prevention Consultancy will question whether life safety codes go far enough to protect our assets, heritage and schools. He will present alongside the Fire Protection Association’s own Technical Director, Dr James Glockling. Workshop sessions such as this one will allow delegates to tailor the event to their own taste.

The event will be chaired by Jonathan O’Neill OBE, Managing Director of the Fire Protection Association. Commenting on the necessity to progress fire safety regulation, Jonathan said: “The recent report from the Competency Steering Group was lacking in its commitment to act.

"The Summit will remain a catalyst for change within the fire sector. Our delegates add just as much to the event as our experts, by challenging views and concepts which are pivotal to the future of fire safety.”

This year's programme will see experts from leading cladding association - MCRMA, government figures and an Immunogeneticist who will discuss contemporary issues shaping our future. Also hear from Jim Fitzpatrick former Fire Minister and current MP of Poplar and Limehouse reflecting on 40 years in the fire industry. This year Jonathan O’Neill, OBE will feature as event chair. Jonathan is renowned to be one of the most influential figures within the sector, never shying away from hard truths.

The programme of speakers will include:

  • Fighting fires in timber frame buildings – Mark Cashin, Chief Fire Officer, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Services
  • The cladding industry post Hackitt, the competence piece and toxicity in Building Regulations – Dr Jonathan Evans, Chair of the Technical Committee, Metal Cladding and Roofing Manufacturers Association (MCRMA)
  • Assessing the toxic risks from warehouse fires - Graham Atkinson, Principal Scientist - Major Hazards Group, HSE Science Division
  • The health effects of toxins - Vitalina Kirgizova, Immunogeneticist, University of Cambridge

Installation of sprinklers in buildings over 11m
In a statement issued last week, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) voiced its support for the use of sprinklers:

'The built environment professions working together as members of the Construction Industry Council believe further action is required to improve the fire safety of buildings in the UK.

Lives, stock and property are saved by the use of Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (AFSS), which include sprinklers. At present, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland differ in their requirements for sprinklers yet the incidence and science of fire knows no political or geographical boundaries. 

Harmonising building regulations across the nations of the UK regarding the installation of sprinklers would provide clarity to the industry and help protect the public.

We support the installation of sprinklers in all new & converted residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, student accommodation, schools and care home buildings of 11m or above in height and retrofit installation to existing buildings when refurbishment occurs where a building is subject to 'material alterations’. We also support the installation of AFSS including sprinklers below this height on a case-by-case basis of risk assessment.

Each of the professional bodies in CIC with members engaged in the commissioning, procurement, planning, design, engineering, risk assessment, regulation and control, construction, refurbishment and management of any of the building types mentioned in the paragraph above will actively bring forward guidance to their own professionals in line with this statement in the absence of government legislation.'


For further information on the FPA Fire Sector Sumit, click here
 


 


 

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