NEWS SCA and BAFSA announce cooperation

JOINT DISCUSSIONS have been held on competency and certification by the Smoke Control Association (SCA) and British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA), which also presented to each other’s members. Both organisations stated that

‘following recent talks’, as well as ‘reciprocal presentations’ to their respective members, the two have come to ‘share and compare common aims’, noting that the Grenfell Tower fire and the Hackitt Review of building regulations and fire safety have ‘focused attention and scrutiny on fire safety systems’. In particular, this included

issues around the ‘culture’ of the construction industry, and a need for a ‘more rigorous regime’ to ‘ensure correct certification of fire safety products and the professional competence of the contractors who install them’. With the Hackitt report recommending that the fire safety sector ‘demonstrate leadership’ through a ‘proactive and accountable

approach’ to specifying, installation and maintenance, the associations agreed points of action going forward. These included ‘raising and

promoting’ technical skills and competence of each respective membership; ‘reviewing and updating’ both technical guidance and standards for ‘those seeking to use’ products and services; ‘emphasising the need to use suitably tested products’ which are ‘fit for their intended purpose’; working ‘closely’ with accreditation bodies; and engaging with the wider fire and construction sectors, and other stakeholders, to ‘promote’ products and services. The two associations noted that this last point was one which ‘we are keen to engage with, learn from and inform relevant construction, engineering and fire sector membership bodies and trade associations’, so that ‘collectively there is a raising of the standard across the fire safety sector’, and in addition, they welcomed the government – namely, Housing

Secretary James Brokenshire – response to the Hackitt report. In particular, they cited his

perspective that Dame Judith’s call for ‘major reform and a change of culture’ of a system that is ‘not fit for purpose’, has put the ‘onus more clearly on everyone involved to manage the risks they create at every stage’, as well as government ‘doing more to set and enforce high standards’. The government also agreed that this assessment means it ‘supports the principles behind the report’s recommendations for a new system’. In conclusion, the SCA and

BAFSA said they were ‘encouraged’ by Mr Brokenshire’s ‘intention to work’ with the industries to ‘make the wider suite of building regulations guidance more user- friendly’, and both ‘await and are keen to respond to’ the consultation on building regulations and specifically Approved Document B (ADB), on elements including means of escape, fire spread, structural fire protection and fire service access

HSE watchdogs to monitor cladding replacement

A TEAM of inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit buildings where cladding is being replaced to ‘monitor safety’. Inside Housing reported on the

team of 15 inspectors, who will carry out ‘unannounced’ visits to high rises and ‘starting with mainly social housing’ in order to ensure that replacement of cladding ‘is being done safely’. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) provided HSE with a full list of buildings clad in aluminium composite material (ACM), and HSE inspectors will visit those ‘at higher risk’ alongside local fire and rescue services. These visits will ‘consider various

issues relating to the prevention of fire’, and will cover around 80 to 90 buildings that make up about 20% of the MHCLG list. Ray Cooke, head of HSE’s construction safety team, stated: ‘The process issues are very

any one day? What are your waste collection facilities? All of those sorts of things are process fire risks and that’s very much going to be the emphasis of what we look at.’ He added that HSE will write to

owners and managing agents of buildings explaining standards expected when it visits, and although the inspectors’ remit will cover all ACM clad buildings in social and private ownership, it would ‘inevitably begin’ with social housing as landlords ‘make up the vast majority of those who have started remediation work’. Mr Cooke also commented:

much about what techniques of work are they going to choose to use. Are there safer techniques of work to cut down on the risk of fire? ‘What are you doing with

the material that you take off? How much are you keeping on site in

‘What you can’t do is leave the insulation exposed, as that’s likely to get wet and fall off the building. I hope people, when they have been taking stuff off, have thought through what they’ve been taking off and have done it in a correct way so they’re not creating other risks.’ FEBRUARY 2019 13

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