MEPs and EU Commission representatives support EuroFSA’s European Fire Safety Action Plan
29 September 2020
Many fruitful exchanges on fire safety took place today during an online conference organised by the European Fire Safety Alliance and hosted by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Pernille Weiss (DK, EPP) and Carlos Zorrinho (PT, S&D).
Representatives of the European Commission from DG GROW, DG ECHO, the JRC, four MEPs and numerous stakeholders joined the discussion to establish the six priority focus areas where fire safety should be improved according to EuroFSA.
These areas are:
- The growing vulnerable community
- The reduction of dangerous escape times
- The energy transition
- The awareness of fire safety
- EU-wide data on residential fires
- EU-wide communication and collaboration
These focus areas led to the development of a list of 10 actions to improve fire safety in Europe.
The Modern Building Alliance supports the entirety of the action plan and its holistic approach. We are particularly keen to contribute to Action 5, which relates to energy transition and must be accompanied by fire safety knowledge and competency. This echoes our Call for Action on Fire Safety Competency.
Invited to present on what role the EU can play in these areas, Quentin de Hults recalled that fire safety was taken into account in recent political developments, such as an own-initiative report voted in at beginning of September. He also stated that compliance and enforcement of the current regulations are crucial to ensure the fire safety of buildings. This requires the presence of the proper skills and competencies during all stages of the building’s lifetime, from design and construction to maintenance.
The sustainable evolution of building stocks offers new opportunities, however, there are similarly new fire risks. For this reason, we must ensure that fire safety skills and competencies will accompany a safe transformation of the building stock.
Quentin de Hults explained that the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) requires the involvement of accredited energy experts for the certification of buildings, as well as for the inspection of heating and cooling installation. While fire safety was mentioned during the latest revision of the directive in 2018, he suggested that the EPBD could go one step further by establishing the importance of including accredited experts during the design of fire safe buildings and for the inspection of electrical and safety installations.
The Modern Building Alliance will join forces with EuroFSA to work on Action 5. Together, we will see how we can further collaborate on three main ideas:
- Define the roles, responsibilities and required competencies for accredited fire safety professionals, such as fire safety engineers, fire safety designers and electrical/fire safety inspectors.
- Compare with the current situation and analyse shortcomings.
- Map the current situation and analyse any gaps.
- Identify a way to embed the need for fire safety competency in legislation.
- The EPBD should require accredited fire experts to be involved in aspects of building design, construction, renovation and inspection.
- Develop knowledge and education at the national and EU levels.
- Erasmus +, Horizon programmes, BuildUpSkills and others can be used to develop knowledge, research and education on fire safety.
The Modern Building Alliance represents the plastics industry in the construction sector. An essential pillar of our cause is the ambition for greater fire safety across the construction industry. A key driver of our product design and manufacturing is to improve the fire safety of buildings. It is a joint responsibility of the whole value chain to be involved in building and construction.
By engaging with policymakers and stakeholders, we are committed to supporting the EU in ensuring safe and sustainable construction for people across Europe.