Fire Sector Summit

government will eventually widen the new regulatory framework to include residential buildings below ten storeys, or other residential buildings where people sleep, such as hospitals or care homes. Liaising with all key regulators, the JCA aims

to have greater control through the lifetime of a building and greater transparency. It would regulate the fire and structural safety of the whole building in occupation, with a clearly identifiable duty holder reporting to it regularly, and whenever incidents raise safety concerns. Residents would have clearer rights and obligations to support the duty holder in managing risk. JCA staff would deal with technical policy, prosecutions, appeals and mediation, and bring oversight, consistency and effectiveness. The preferred joint JCA model of the LABC, National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Local Government Authority, Royal Town Planning Institute and Institute of Environmental Health focuses on ‘outcomes, not on creating a huge bureaucratic costly burden’. BRAC envisages a board with an independent chair, drawn from the NFCC, LABC, HSE and politicians, with duties and responsibilities defined for principal designers, contractors, building safety managers and duty holders. Local regulators would have planning, building control, fire service, health and safety, and environmental health expertise. It could slow down construction and entail a culture change, with more pre construction ‘thinking time’, although Mr Everall noted that this ‘works in Scotland’.

Brexit comment

A Brexit session looking at potential effects began with Anthony Burd of the BSI, who commented that ‘for us, it’s business as usual’ because standards are ‘independent of any specific interest’, aiming to build confidence, protect consumers, lower costs and show compliance. With 8,000 standards in the built environment,

95% were EU (32%) or international (27%). Only 16% were national, showing the ‘enormity and importance of staying involved’ with EU and international standards. The other 25% were identical standards that covered EU and international requirements. For BSI and its stakeholders, there will be ‘no

change in UK involvement’, and it will continue to provide experts with frameworks to support trade across the UK, the EU and internationally. BSI will remain a member and part of ‘all governance levels’ of the European CEN body, while the majority of standards are not linked to government policies or regulations. UK experts will also continue to contribute support and leadership in EU committees and working groups. It will be ‘even more important’ after Brexit to ‘have experts at the table’, as BSI ‘wants


to remain standard makers, not takers’, and is ‘fully committed’ to the EU system, with a belief in stability and continuity and to ‘maintain’ the confidence of EU businesses and consumers. Mr Burd concluded with potential implications

of no deal, where CEN member standards would be unaffected, but guidance on trade ‘would be affected’, particularly in construction. The Fire Industry Association’s Paul Pope then

looked at the risk to fire sector businesses, citing the EU’s Construction Products Regulations (CPR) and effects on product certification. EU certification undertaken by UK bodies

is ‘at risk’, with potential recertification the ‘high cost of implications to businesses’, and products potentially held at ports. The ‘lack of clarity’ is already affecting orders, and Mr Pope discussed global requirements for fire certification, specifically the CE mark harmonised across Europe to show that the product is EU certified. As 80% of global trade requires a product

certificate, the CPR intended ‘to remove the technical barriers to the trade of construction products in the single market’, putting obligations on manufacturers, distributors and importers. Products are required to have CE marking and a Declaration of Performance if placed on the market in the European Economic Area. Labels feature the CE mark, the number of the notified body, and product certification number. Notified bodies are non governmental third parties recognised by the EU to undertake product tests meeting harmonised standards, and can issue certificates. If a body is British and focused on DECEMBER 2018/JANUARY 2019 37

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