High-rise building on fire in Milan

High-rise building on fire in Milan

1 September 2021

 

Following the fire of the high-rise building located in via Antonini in Milan that occurred on the 29th August 2021, the Modern Building Alliance wishes to express its sympathies to everyone affected by this unfortunate incident.

We would also like to give credit to the Milanese fire services for their rapid, professional, and effective intervention that ensured a safe evacuation of all occupants.

 

The ongoing investigation on the incident will clarify the circumstances and elements which contributed to the fire. Nevertheless, we noticed on social media and in some press, mentions related to the alleged involvement of polystyrene insulation.

We understand that the façade was clad predominantly in a mineral fibre (Euroclass A2) insulated ETICS system, with two large uninsulated Aluminium Composite Material decorative “sails”, offset from the ETICS system.

 

The Modern Building Alliance awaits the outcome of the investigation that will clarify the circumstances of this incident and will closely follow and support the conclusions and learnings helping to improve fire safety of façades of high-rise buildings.

 

‘Fit for 55’ Package issued

‘Fit for 55’ Package issued

14 July 2021

Today the European Commission has released part one of the ‘Fit for 55’ package.

This package contains a set of interconnected proposals to align EU policies on climate, energy, land use, transport, buildings and taxation to achieve the EU objective of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by, at least, 55% of the 1990 levels by 2030.

The European Commission also published its Communication 'Fit for 55' that provides further details on its objectives, implementation and supporting measures. It states that, where possible, existing legislation will become more ambitious and new proposals will be developed where needed.

The building and construction sector is concerned by the update of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Directives. The update will be complemented by policy measures that will specifically support the building sector to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce the overall energy needs of energy appliances/systems.

To tackle energy poverty, the New Social Climate Fund (€72.2 billion for 2025-2032) will support investments to increase the energy efficiency and renovations of buildings, clean heating and cooling, and integrate renewable energy in a manner that can sustainably reduce both CO2 emissions and energy bills for vulnerable households.

The Communication also refers to the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) to take place later this year. The text states: ‘The revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive . . . will identify specific measures to accelerate the rate of buildings renovations, contributing to energy efficiency and renewable goals and greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the buildings sector.’

 

Additional information from the European Commission website:

Communication 'Fit for 55'

Factsheets on delivering the European Green Deal

 

Source: Screenshot https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal/delivering-european-green-deal_en

New Team for the Modern Building Alliance

New Team for the Modern Building Alliance

1 June 2021

 

The Board of Directors of the Modern Building Alliance is pleased to announce the appointment of Perrine Ethuin as the new Executive Chair of the alliance as from the 1st June 2021. She succeeds Quentin de Hults who will join another European organisation.

 

 ‘Perrine is the ideal successor to Quentin in his role within the Modern Building Alliance. Being involved in MBA activities for more than two years now, Perrine will further develop the MBA engagement with fire safety in our industry with policy makers and with other stakeholders to support the EU in advancing safe and sustainable construction. We wish her great success in her new role’.

Chair of the Board, Alberto Mercati, Dow

 

 

Perrine added: 'I am honoured and thrilled to be chosen to lead the Alliance. I will build on Quentin’s legacy to proactively open discussions and advance fire safety. With my new colleague Franklyn, we will carry on working in the same spirit and I look forward to collaborating with the plastics industry, stakeholders and EU policy makers to strengthen our contribution to the fire safety debate.'

 

 

 

As mentioned, Perrine is going to be supported by Franklyn Okwara. Franklyn is a Fire Safety Expert who graduated from the KU Leuven and from the Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering in Ghent University. He will support the MBA Technical Working Group in its activities. 'We are very happy to have Franklyn on board to support the Modern Building Alliance’s ambition for a greater fire safety across the construction industry',  said Perrine.

 

 

The Board and all members of the Modern Building Alliance as well as the team would like to thank Quentin for initiating the Modern Building Alliance as well as his immense contribution and commitment to the Alliance since 2018.

 

The Board wishes Perrine all the best with her new position and welcomes Franklyn to the Modern Building Alliance.

Fire Australia Conference 2021

Fire Australia Conference 2021

11 May 2021

 

Today, the Modern Building Alliance was on the agenda of the Australian Fire Conference 2021 and tradeshow in Sydney.

Speaking via video from Brussels, as a guest of the sister organisation Australian Modern Building Alliance (AMBA), Quentin de Hults highlighted fire safety data from Europe, the 7 layers of fire safety in buildings and a proposed European regulatory framework – covering building, installation and organisational (B.I.O. framework) requirements for fire safety in taller (high-rise) buildings.

The information presented by the MBA highlights that a holistic approach is needed for fire safety in buildings and that prevention is multifaceted and goes beyond individual materials to include a more integrated system’, said the AMBA Chair, Dr Craig Lovel.

AMBA media release available here

About AMBA

The Australian Modern Building Alliance (AMBA) is an interest group of companies that was established in 2019 to represent the use of polymers in the Australian construction industry. AMBA’s goal is to ensure the benefits of polymer-based construction products are harnessed to create enduring modern buildings that are safe, sustainable and energy efficient.

MBA on the agenda of Engineers Ireland event

MBA on the agenda of Engineers Ireland event

28 April 2021

The Modern Building Alliance was invited to give a presentation at the annual CPD seminar, organised by the Fire & Safety Division of Engineers Ireland.

Titled ‘The Need for Fire Safety Competency to Support the EU Renovation Wave’, the presentation aimed at describing the current European renovation context and emphasising the importance of addressing fire safety as a prerequisite to the sustainability of renovated buildings.

The presentation of the architect’s survey demonstrated the need to get a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities regarding fire safety. It was also a reminder of the importance of addressing this complex issue in a holistic way by covering the 7 layers for fire safety.

 

Copyright: screenshot from Engineers Ireland website

 

Engineers Ireland is the voice of the engineering profession in Ireland. Their 25,000 members make up a community of creative professionals that deliver solutions to society.

 

 

MBA input to the EPBD inception impact assessment

MBA input to the EPBD inception impact assessment

22 March 2021

As part of the European Green Deal, the European Commission plans to revise the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) to ensure delivery of the EU climate ambition for 2030 and 2050. In this context, the European Commission is now consulting stakeholders on the need for a revision. The inception impact assessment is a first step that will be followed by a public consultation, which will last a couple of months.

The Modern Building Alliance’s input to the inception impact assessment:

Decarbonisation of the building stock must be based on a deep reduction of energy consumption, as it is the very first step to achieving the Renovation Wave that is part of the European Commission’s Green Deal agenda. We call on EU policy makers to support an ambitious EPBD and to further recognise the instrumental role of buildings in achieving the EU’s climate goals in all climate-related policies and strategies.

Due to their performance, durability, weathering resistance, low maintenance, cost-effectiveness, light weight and design flexibility, plastic insulation materials and window profiles are the solution of choice for retrofitting the largely inefficient European building stock.

Based on the above, the Modern Building Alliance supports the Option 2: Non regulatory measures and the Option 3: Amend the EPBD to translate the actions proposed in the Renovation Wave and the increased ambition towards building decarbonisation into legislation. All new or revised measures of the EPBD should be directed towards extensive energy renovation and reinforce the political direction for the coming decades.

 

The Modern Building Alliance is calling for an EPBD revision that is ambitious in terms of:

 

  • Depth of renovation – priority should be given to the renovation of the building envelope (energy efficiency first principle), as a complete and effective thermal insulation renovation saves any kind of energy (from fossil to renewable).

 

  • The full deployment of Energy Performance Certificates to the market with their possible use in building renovation passports.

 

  • An increased renovation rate – instruments to encourage or ensure energy renovation works, including targets, progress indicators, financing and the introduction of Minimum Energy Performance Standards, must be in place to reduce the energy consumption of the building stock as required to meet the EU climate and energy efficiency targets.

 

  • Requirement of the involvement of accredited fire safety experts – as is already the case with energy experts – in renovation processes as well as in regular fire and electrical safety inspections to ensure the quality, compliance and safety of buildings.

 

Deep energy renovation will help to achieve high quality performance of the building stock and is also an opportunity to improve other key dimensions of the environment in which we live. It can lead to improved health and comfort, reduced energy poverty, the creation of jobs and economic growth and greater fire safety.

Achieving highly energy efficient and decarbonised buildings is an ambition that requires many solutions, such as high-performance insulation, resource-efficient materials, renewable energy and energy storage technologies. These innovations involve fire risks and opportunities. Fire safety must neither lag behind nor impede this evolution. It must accompany it.

Such renovation works should take a holistic approach to fire safety with consideration given to the following 7 layers: prevention, detection, early suppression, evacuation, compartmentation, structural safety and firefighting.

The MBA also believes that a revised EPBD offers the opportunity to embed fire safety competency into EU legislation. Skilled and competent professionals with clear roles and responsibilities, who are involved during the buildings’ design, construction and maintenance phases, will ensure a safe transformation of the building stock.

To learn more, visit https://www.modernbuildingalliance.eu/fire-safety-skills-competency

Renovation also offers the opportunity to upgrade old electrical installations and to install fire detection systems, alarms and suppression systems. This would prove beneficial at a time when building infrastructure is deemed to become more integrated with sustainable mobility solutions like private and public electro mobility.

CoGDEM Europe: Putting safer heating at the heart of building renovations

CoGDEM Europe: Putting safer heating at the heart of building renovations

16th March 2021

CoGDEM Europe, the Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring, organised an online roundtable in the presence of members of the European Parliament Maria Spyraki and Seán Kelly. The Modern Building Alliance was invited to contribute to the discussion.

In her speech, Perrine explained the 7 layers concept, which demonstrates the importance of addressing fire safety in a holistic way. Even with equal level of importance, the second layer, detection, which as a concept is a masterpiece that shows how to ensure proper warnings and initiate an early and safe evacuation.

 

Perrine stated that the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) could be used as an opportunity to address fire safety by involving skilled and competent professionals that will ensure the 7 layers to be covered. Finally, she reminded us that regular inspections of both heating and electrical systems are essential. According to the Forum for European Electrical Domestic Safety, electrical fires account for 25–30% of all domestic fires in Europe and have increased by 5–10% in the last 10 years.

 

 

To know more about CoGDEM Europe

 

 

The Modern Building Alliance supports the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering

The Modern Building Alliance supports the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering

8 February 2021

The Modern Building Alliance is becoming an official contributor of the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering programme (IMFSE).

The IMFSE is a two-year educational Master co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. It offers an internationally recognised joint master's degree commonly organised by seven universities: Ghent University (BE), Lund University (SE), the University of Edinburgh (UK), ETH Zürich (CH), the University of Queensland (Australia), the University of Maryland (USA) and more recently the University of Science en Technologie of China.

The Modern Building Alliance considers developing fire safety science, engineering and education to be a necessity, in particular to accompany the sustainable transformation of the building stock. The International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering being a pioneer programme and playing an important role in this aspect, is was clear that the Modern Building Alliance should support it.

The Modern Building Alliance joins a group of 15 other associations and companies financially supporting the IMFSE to offer full and partial scholarships to students.

To know more about the IMFSE

To know more about the Modern Building Alliance Call for Action on Fire Safety Competency

We are hiring!

We are hiring!

19 January 2021

We are looking for a Fire Safety expert to support the Modern Building Alliance in its activities.

The position is for a highly motivated and well organised candidate having a fire safety engineering education or experience, able to coordinate technical work, to engage with various technical stakeholders and to communicate effectively about fire safety science to a broad audience. The scope of responsibilities of the successful candidate may grow with experience and with the development of the alliance.

Open the full job description

 

Interested?

Please send your application with a cover letter and CV before February 28th 2021 with the subject “Fire Safety Expert” to:  hr@plasticseurope.org

 

 

 

 

835 architects consulted to measure their request for fire safety competencies

835 architects consulted to measure their request for fire safety competencies

19 November 2020

 

In June 2020, the Modern Building Alliance commissioned USP Marketing Consultancy to launch a survey targeted at architects from eight European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK). The survey aimed to discover how fire safety competencies are considered during the building design phase. A sample of 835 architects, working in offices composed of at least two architects excluding smaller projects, responded. The majority are primarily focused on residential buildings and engaged in both new builds and renovations.

 

Consult the full report

 

“Fire safety must neither lag behind, nor impede the renovation wave. It must accompany it. That’s why we must define clear role and responsibilities for fire safety during projects and ensure the involvement of the adequate level of fire expertise. Our architects survey shows that there is room for improvement and that an EU wide analysis would be useful” 

Quentin de Hults, Executive Chair of the Modern Building Alliance

 

Building design is a complex undertaking that must combine various expertise. As such, architects can request the involvement of specific experts, such as fire engineers, energy experts or sustainability experts, in their project.

 

Fire safety in particular is a complex issue requiring competent professionals with clear roles and responsibilities to be involved during a building’s design, construction and maintenance phases. Recent tragic events have highlighted how a lack of consideration for fire safety or a lack of compliance with fire safety regulations can have dire consequences.

 

Academic analysis has emphasized the need to improve fire safety competency and increase the involvement of fire safety expertise in building design and inspection. Moreover, studies have under-scored the need to improve the definition of competencies, enhance education and accreditation and establish a legal framework for the involvement of accredited fire safety professionals in building design and inspections (more information and references available here).

 

Our Analysis

 

We assume the involvement of a dedicated fire expert during the design phase of a construction or renovation project is indicative of the consideration paid to fire safety. Fire safety experts help architects ensure the necessary level of fire safety, along with all other safety and performance aspects, required in a project. With this in mind, we see room for improvement in the level of involvement of dedicated fire experts, particularly in housing renovations, as they are currently less involved than energy experts. This is crucial in light of the fact that most fire fatalities happen in residential buildings and that the EU planned renovation wave will particularly tackle housing.

The significant national differences suggest that analysis of the situation in each country regarding the legal requirements, the level of architects’ fire safety knowledge and the availability or recognition of fire experts would produce intriguing results. There is a need for further analysis and discussion on what type of projects fire experts should be involved and what level of competency fire experts and architects need.

This should be in tandem with fire safety responsibility. While allowing for EU countries to have various models of fire safety, fire safety responsibility should be clearly designated, which seems currently not the case in some countries.

 

Consult the full report