Building a Safer Future

Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report

that the case for sprinklers in tall buildings has been fully made – they’re proven to put out fires without the need for FRS intervention, and will undoubtedly be effective at protecting society’s most vulnerable. So those are two approaches, but what else could the government do immediately to improve building safety, with little debate and without the need for a detailed regulatory impact assessment (which has so often been the killer for sensible fire safety regulatory change in the past)?

Action to take

May 2018 Dame Judith Hackitt DBE FREng

Without going into the whys and wherefores of where we are with a stay put policy, what is crystal clear to me is that when fire breaks out and starts to behave in a manner that we can’t predict or becomes beyond control, we require a means of staging either full scale or limited evacuation of buildings. The use of intelligent multi sensor detectors

and programmable systems exists already – we just need to ensure that trade certification bodies and the government actually endorse it. These two solutions need to be fitted now without the need for changes to the building regulations. We have concerned residents; we have confused landlords; and we have waking watch systems that are expensive to maintain – and which may be of questionable

value – as and when required. This is a change which, in my view, the industry can and should propose now. The biggest challenge that Dame Judith

gave the sector was around the subject of competence. I am sure that the work that is being done feeds well into the work of the Hackitt Review’s Industry Response Group, and the Construction Industry Council led initiative on competence, but this will take years to have a meaningful effect. For me, there is a ready made way, available immediately and based on competence, and that is third party certification.

Cm 9607 Third party certification

Third party certification is the easiest and simplest way for a specifier or end user to have the assurance they require that the chosen supplier is fit for purpose or competent; that the system and the system design is risk appropriate; and that the equipment making up the kit of parts has been tested to the appropriate standards and checked in the factory and the field. This should ensure that what is being made and sold has the same specification as the samples sent for testing. The mandatory use of third party accredited

products and services for fire protection should be a given. It should be a complete no brainer, but it isn’t, so we have to ask why that is the case. MAY 2019 7

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