EU Renovation Wave: an opportunity for fire safety

EU Renovation Wave: an opportunity for fire safety

15 October 2020

The communication on the Renovation Wave has been published.

The Renovation Wave strategy is a flagship initiative of the EU Green Deal and of the Next Generation EU recovery plan. The ambition of the Renovation Wave is to rapidly double the current renovation rate of buildings to boost climate protection and circularity while creating thousands of new jobs. We welcome this vital strategy to put the EU economy back on track. Indeed, the Renovation Wave brings multiple positive side effects that will sustainably improve the quality of life of EU citizens.

The plastics industry offers numerous materials and products that contribute to sustainable construction due to the many advantageous attributes of plastics, such as their performance, durability, weather resistance, low-maintenance, cost-effectiveness and flexible and lightweight designs.

Click here to learn more.

 

Plastics in construction are cost effective

 

 

The Modern Building Alliance particularly welcomes the intervention area that will ensure the construction system is ‘fit to deliver sustainable renovation’. The Skills Agenda is necessary to ensure that the refurbishment will meet the expected quality and energy savings while complying with other requirements - including safety. Developing skills and competencies of professionals involved in aspects such as fire safety is an opportunity to ensure a holistic, material-neutral and performance-based renovation wave that combines sustainability, health and safety.

In a recently voted report, the European Parliament confirmed its intention to increase building renovations and also underlined, ‘that ensuring quality, compliance, and safety requires adequate competencies and skills of professionals involved during the design and construction/renovation’.

When it comes to ensuring the fire safety of buildings, we are convinced that this complex issue requires competent professionals with clear roles and responsibilities who are involved in the buildings’ design, construction and maintenance phases. The involvement of fire safety engineers during a building’s design is not yet common practice. Recent tragic events have illustrated how a lack of compliance with fire safety measures can have serious consequences. The work of fire safety experts must be reinforced to accompany the sustainable transformation of building stock, in particular in the context of the energy transition that includes the electrification of buildings (e-mobility, solar panels, batteries…) and the decentralisation of the energy production. Regular fire safety checks of buildings, including inspections of electrical and fire safety installations, are also necessary.

We, therefore, call on policymakers to include fire safety skills and competencies into the Skills Agenda of the Renovation Wave so that it will also be an opportunity for fire safety.

 

Read more about our call for action on fire safety competency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The International Fire Safety Standards coalition launched its common principles

The International Fire Safety Standards coalition launched its common principles

9 October 2020

The International Fire Safety Standard Coalition (IFSS)—a global coalition of over 80 fire safety leadership organisations—has been working on a set of common principles for the fire safety of buildings that can be applied around the world. After two years of work and a broad consultation, the IFSS has launched an internationally consistent approach for the safety and management of buildings with the aim of saving more lives by reducing risk and preventing devastating fires.

We welcome the launch of these International Fire Safety Standard - Common Principles (IFSS-CP) as it confirms the importance of performance-based approaches to be applied at all stage of a building’s lifecycle (design, construction and maintenance). Moreover, it emphasises the importance of the principles of prevention, detection and communication, occupant protection, containment and extinguishment. It echoes our proposed regulatory framework (B.I.O. framework) and reinforces the importance of enforcing legislation around fire safety competencies to ensure the fire safety, compliance and quality of buildings.

 

 

 

MEPs and EU Commission representatives support EuroFSA’s European Fire Safety Action Plan

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

 

 

European Parliament reminds the importance of Fire Safety Competencies to accompany the renovation wave

European Parliament reminds the importance of Fire Safety Competencies to accompany the renovation wave

17 September 2020

Today, the European Parliament has adopted in plenary the Own initiative report ‘Maximising the Energy Efficiency potential of the EU building stock’.  This reports goes beyond strictly energy efficiency aspects and reminds the importance of addressing fire safety during the renovation of the building stock. Via several mentions to fire safety, the report supports a holistic, performance-based and material-neutral approach that relies on the competencies and skills of professionals.

Full story here

The report was adopted by 526 votes in favour (+), 77 against (-) and 94 abstentions (0).

 

The importance of Fire Safety Competencies to accompany the renovation wave will also be on the agenda of an online event organised by EuroFSA and hosted by the shadow rapporteur Pernille Weiss (EPP – Denmark) on the 29 September.

 

 

 

The Modern Building Alliance supports the European Fire Safety Action Plan

The Modern Building Alliance supports the European Fire Safety Action Plan

3 September 2020

Today, the Modern Building Alliance joins the long list of supporters of the 'European Fire Safety Action Plan' drafted by the European Fire Safety Alliance (EuroFSA).

The action plan builds upon the very first European Fire Safety Week that took place in November 2019. Ten concrete actions have been identified by experts from the fire services, with a strong focus on the social dimension of fire safety and targeted prevention efforts.

When writing these lines, 65 individuals, associations and companies representing a large range of interests have already joined EuroFSA’s call for more fire safety across the EU.

Quentin de Hults, Executive Chair of Modern Building Alliance, commented: ‘This action plan is holistic. We welcome the ambition of EU Fire Services to reduce fires and the resulting casualties via increased prevention activities and prioritization of the most vulnerable groups. The EU can and must play a role in supporting these efforts; we are proud to support EuroFSA in advocating for this priority’.

As the Modern Building Alliance, we see our main role and responsibility in the specific action #5 directly related to construction. It aims to develop knowledge and competency to ensure fire safety adequately accompanies the energy transition.

It’s your turn! Support EuroFSA with their Action Plan!

 

 

The Construction Products Regulation plays an essential role for fire safety of buildings

The Construction Products Regulation plays an essential role for fire safety of buildings

19 August 2020

The Modern Building Alliance gave feedback to the Inception Impact Assessment published by the European Commission about the review of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The CPR lays down EU-wide rules for the marketing of construction products. Its review announced in the European Green Deal communication of December 2019, aims to address some issues identified in the 2019 evaluation, to improve the functioning of the single market and to promote environmental goals and product safety. The Inception Impact Assessment presents different options considered by the European Commission, from no legislative change to repealing to CPR.

The Modern Building Alliance stressed in its input to the roadmap that the CPR, together with several other elements such as national building codes & regulations, plays an essential role for the safety of construction works, including for fire safety of buildings. Any change considered must carefully assess the potential safety impact and the potential for improvement which can mainly be found in better implementation and enforcement. Modern Building Alliance therefore supports preferably option A (no legislative changes), radically rejects option E (repealing the CPR) and calls for strengthening quality, compliance and enforcement by developing fire safety competencies.

 

 

The Renovation Wave must be accompanied by Fire Safety Competencies

The Renovation Wave must be accompanied by Fire Safety Competencies

8 July 2020

The European Commission is preparing the Renovation Wave (a proposal announced by the Green Deal and expected for September) with the ambition of boosting the renovation rate of the EU building stock.

Its main objectives: to make the most of energy renovations of public and private buildings in order to tackle climate change and energy poverty and to improve the well-being of EU citizens while creating local jobs and relaunching the EU economy. It is also a key component of the post COVID-19 recovery plan.

 The Renovation Wave is an unprecedented opportunity to improve the overall quality of buildings and fire safety must not be overlooked during these efforts.

 In our reply to the recent public consultation, we stressed the importance of not forgetting fire safety and of addressing it in a holistic, performance based and material/solution neutral approach. We encouraged a focus on fire safety skills and competencies as an accompaniment to building renovation.

Ensuring the fire safety of buildings is a complex issue requiring competent professionals with clear roles and responsibilities who are involved during the buildings’ design, construction and maintenance phases.

The involvement of fire safety engineers in building design is not sufficiently common practice; in particular, their work must be incorporated to a greater extent during the sustainable transformation of the building stock. Regular fire safety checks of buildings, including inspections of electrical and fire safety installations, are also necessary and can transform each renovation into an opportunity to improve fire safety.

 The Modern Building Alliance will monitor this important dossier and repeat its recommendations every time it is possible for the EU to play a role in strengthening fire safety competencies in order to ensure safe buildings for European citizens.

More info about the Renovation Wave Consultation

ITRE committee vote fire safety

Fire Safety Competencies included in the European Parliament’s report on Energy Efficient Buildings

Fire Safety Competencies included in the European Parliament's report on Energy Efficient Buildings

7 July 2020

The European Parliament’s ITRE committee has voted on the Own Initiative Report “Maximising the Energy Efficiency Potential of the EU building stock”. The rapporteur Ciaran Cuffe and shadow rapporteurs expressly used this text as an opportunity to include and address features other than strict energy efficiency measures.

We are delighted to see fire safety covered in three paragraphs in this dossier:

- Paragraph 19a: refers to the content of the EPBD regarding seismic and fire safety

- Paragraph 19aa: echoes the 7 layers of fire safety which is great new as it considers fire safety in a holistic way:

“Recalls that fire safety aspects should be considered during the design, selection of materials, construction, renovation and operation of buildings in prevention, detection, early suppression, evacuation, compartmentation, structural resistance and fire-fighting, as well as the relevant competencies of professionals involved during design, construction and renovation;”

- Paragraph 25: This paragraph goes further and refers to [Fire] Safety Competency that also echoes what the Modern Building Alliance advocates in its Call for Action:

“... underlines that ensuring quality, compliance, and safety requires adequate competencies and skills of professionals involved during the design and construction/renovation...”

This vote is a crucial step and a clear signal from the European Parliament to ensure that fire safety is adequately addressed during the renovation of the building stock, with a holistic, performance-based and material-neutral approach that relies on the competencies and skills of professionals. The Modern Building Alliance welcomes this vote and approach.

 

Link to the compromised text voted

BuildUp Skills Initiative Fire Safety

We ask for Fire Safety to be included in the BuildUp Skills Initiative

We ask for Fire Safety to be included in the BuildUp Skills Initiative

1 July 2020

The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EASME) has launched an online public consultation to gather advice from stakeholders on the needs and solutions to increase the number of trained and qualified building professionals across Europe. The Modern Building Alliance has taken advantage of this opportunity to point out once again how important it is for fire safety skills and competencies to accompany building renovation processes and to do so in a holistic way.

The public consultation focused on which qualified building professionals are necessary to deliver high-energy performance building renovations and new nearly zero-energy buildings.

In its answer, the Modern Building Alliance highlighted the importance of including fire safety-related competencies in future eligible fields for financing, which can include for example the involvement of fire safety engineers during building design, or fire and electrical safety experts undertaking regular inspections.

Quentin de Hults says: “We want to bring to the attention of the European Commission that Fire Safety skills are - too often - not sufficiently considered as part of the renovation process. Fire safety is a complex issue with many aspects to be considered, which requires the right skills and competencies. The role of fire safety engineers/experts is not sufficiently recognised. If we want fire safety to accompany the transformation of the building stock, it must start with the right recognition of the skills needed.”

 

All information

Moderne Building Alliance- Fire Safety Europe

A consortium of experts to work on EU fire safety statistics

A consortium of experts to work on EU fire safety statistics

27 May 2020

The European Commission has selected a consortium of experts for the pilot project “Closing the data gaps and paving the way for pan-European fire safety efforts” that has been initiated in the European Parliament.

The project is related to the collection of fire safety data and statistics across the EU and will run for 17 months.

Efectis will lead the consortium, which is composed of the European Fire Safety Alliance (EuroFSA), the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations Europe (CFPA-Europe), the CTIF (International Association of Fire and Rescue Services), the NFPA (US National Fire Protection Association), The University of EdinburghThe University of Lund, the DBI (Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology), the VFDB (German Fire Protection Association) and the BAM (German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing).

Data are essential to identify risk factors and most effective fire prevention measures because EU-wide statistics are currently either not harmonised or do not exist. The conclusions and output of the experts’ work will facilitate a broader accounting of fire incidents and will also give the EU and national governments the opportunity to identify the most effective fire safety measures more accurately.

The Modern Building Alliance calls for the inclusion of fire statistics within the Eurostat mandatory programme and considers this project as an excellent first step.

 

 

 

Full story about the pilot project