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F&RM brings you the key messages from this year’s Fire Sector Summit, with snapshots of cross sector progress, forecasts and reactions


A


SHORT distance from the Houses of Parliament, where an evening reception for delegates was held with Fire Minister


Nick Hurd, the Fire Sector Summit 2018 was in full swing on 31 October, bringing some hard hitting comment and refl ecting strong sector endeavour and wide expectation that words post Grenfell must turn into action sooner rather than later.


Competency update


The Construction Industry Council’s (CIC’s) Graham Watts said he views Dame Judith Hackitt’s descriptions of construction sector competency (‘patchy’, and with no ‘formal process for assuring the skills of those engaged at every stage of the lifecycle of HRRBs [higher risk residential buildings]’ , etc) as ‘being kind’. Furthermore, many construction professionals regard such shortcomings as not their problem and dismiss the need for their qualifi cations to include some fi re safety training. An industry summit called by John Prescott in


May 2001, in response to a 59% rise in construction site deaths, helped reduce site deaths by 66% to 52 a year by 2011/12, and 75% by 2016/17, since when they have averaged 37. These fi gures lead Mr Watts to ask why construction can’t work with the fi re sector to bring similar outcomes for building residents.


In July 2017, the Ministry of Housing, Communities


and Local Government (MHCLG) set up the Building Safety Programme and Industry Response Group (IRG) to take forward the Hackitt recommendations, that is to coordinate action and advice to building owners; effect change in a fragmented supplier/ contractor sector; improve the cladding process; track remediation costs; as well as oversee issues with combustible facades, fi re doors and large scale concrete panels. Mr Watts chairs IRG sub group, the Steering Group


on Competences for Building a Safer Future, which was set up to improve competence within the design, construction and operation of HRRBs, and increase industry capacity. Cutting across competence, ethics, basic fi re science and CPD, it is developing a framework, building a safety case using learning from other industries, and establishing accreditation and licensing arrangements. So far, a broad range of organisations (104 to date) from fi re, construction and building management have engaged with it. The Implementation Plan (to include competence) is due in late November 2018, with legislation expected for 2019/20. The ‘sting in the tail’ in Recommendation 5.2 is that if government doesn’t consider that this gives the required assurance on competence, it ‘should mandate a body to establish the competence levels required and oversee its implementation’.


32 DECEMBER 2018/JANUARY 2019 www.frmjournal.com


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