search.noResults

search.searching

dataCollection.invalidEmail
note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
Viewpoint I


Jonathan O’Neill, managing director of the FPA, gives his views on sector progress and what still needs to change


NEVITABLY AND quite correctly, the 2018 fire agenda has been dominated by the fallout from Grenfell, with Dame Judith Hackitt completing her work; the public inquiry beginning its public hearings; and most recently, the review of Approved Document B of the Building Regulations (ADB) finally being announced. Much to the frustration of many in the sector, at the time of writing, we have yet to learn of the government’s implementation plans for Hackitt, despite her completing her report in May: Brexit allowing, we should have an announcement before the Christmas recess. Notwithstanding the lack of an ‘official response’, we have been encouraged by the work rate and some of the emerging outcomes of the Industry Response Group’s (IRG’s) competence stream, and its 12 working groups under the chairmanship of Graham Watts. The construction industry appears to have accepted the comments about the lack of competency, and risen to the challenge set by Dame Judith. Again I have heard criticism from some in fire that the IRG is dominated by the construction industry (Build UK, Construction Products Association and Construction Industry Council [CIC]) and, ‘what do they know about fire?’ To me, it is a recognition by the construction sector that there was a problem and it needed to be addressed. In my dealings with the Competence Group, I have found them inclusive and willing to engage. It is interesting to note that, at a recent Fire Sector Federation (FSF) meeting, it was clear how deep and wide the members were involved, and it was reported that there was good fire representation on all but one of the working groups. From my perspective, negative comments and


whinging from certain elements of the fire industry is nothing new. Many years ago, I remember an official with responsibility for Building Regulations explaining to me that one of the reasons fire regulations rarely experienced dramatic change was that it was so easy to find a contrary view, whether it be on the need to mandate sprinklers in schools or to insist on the use of multi sensor detectors for high risk occupancies (both complete no brainers in many eyes). The FSF was formed (in part) to provide an industry


view; whatever the government decides to do about the recommendations in Hackitt or the pace of


change, it is quite clear that there will be considerable change, and the fire sector has the opportunity to be part of that change or simply spectators. Hackitt recommended that the sector should take


ownership and control of guidance; absolutely correct in my view, but it won’t happen overnight. It could be argued that government’s experience of our market is of being scolded and told that it is doing everything wrong – and I hold my own hand up there – or witnessing us fighting like ‘cats in a sack’. As a result, it may be that the government has


turned to the fire service as its trusted advisor, and in honesty it is easy to see how a case could be made for the National Fire Chiefs Council to have formed a similar impression too! We have got some confidence building to do. Some of the guidance produced by industry in the UK is undoubtedly world class. We need to convince government we have earned our spurs. It is widely anticipated, also before Christmas, that


ministers will announce the evidence gathering for the long awaited review of ADB, in which incidentally members of the fire sector are heavily represented, despite what some may say – I saw up to at least seven members of the FSF on the ADB Working Group in a rough count recently. Individual trade associations will push member interests of course, but in this review it looks as though well argued, evidence based proposals will be pushing at an open door. We have not been good at that in the past, but


now we have a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to influence change, let’s not look like a group of disorganised whingers who can’t agree on anything. The actions of the IRG and particularly the CIC should have taught us the advantages of putting on a united front and working together for a common cause. Let’s not just moan at the time the government


has taken to respond to Hackitt; let us simply be reassured that they have taken their time to properly consider something so important. Let’s embrace and support what they are trying to achieve and work together as the cohesive effective group of professionals I know that we all can be


Jonathan O’Neill is managing director of the Fire Protection Association. For more information, view page 5


www.frmjournal.com DECEMBER 2018/JANUARY 2019 1


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60