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

Update: The project' website is accessible here: https://eufirestat.efectisfrance.fr/

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

 

Fire Safety picked up in Own-Initiative Report on Energy Efficient buildings

Fire Safety picked up in Own-Initiative Report on Energy Efficient buildings

25 May 2020 

As part of the project initiated within the ITRE Committee, MEP Ciarán Cuffe (Group of the Greens, Ireland) is currently the rapporteur of the “Draft report on maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU building stock”.

The aim of the report is as follows: it “examines the potential of energy efficiency in buildings, and, in the context of the current crisis suggests that a European renovation wave could assist with an economic recovery by creating local jobs, upskilling workers, and creating resilient communities”.

This Own Initiative Report has been utilised as an opportunity by different political groups to include considerations other than strict energy efficiency aspects. In particular, fire safety appears more than once:

  • There is a proposition by the EPP group to “underline that energy renovation is an opportunity to undertake safety checks (e.g. electrical safety, fire safety features)”. The Modern Building Alliance fully supports this message;
  • Another proposition by the EPP group seeks to “underline that ensuring quality, compliance and (fire) safety requires adequate competencies and skills of professionals involved during design and construction/renovation”, which echoes our Call for Action on fire safety competency;
  • Finally, a number of MEPs from Renew have drafted a proposition to “recall that fire safety aspects should be considered during the design, construction, renovation and operation of buildings” and referred to the 7 layers of fire safety in buildings: “prevention, detection, early suppression, evacuation, compartmentation, structural safety and firefighting”.

The Modern Building Alliance welcomes these amendments that pave the way for further enhanced fire safety and will continue to engage with Members of the European Parliament to support the EU in ensuring safe and sustainable construction for citizens.

The text and amendments are due to be put to the vote in July.

Full draft

ITRE - Amendments

 

Moderne Building Alliance- Fire Safety Europe

British standard test method for the fire performance of facades: revision is now published

British standard test method for the fire performance of facades: revision is now published

7 May 2020

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has revised its test method for the fire performance of external cladding systems (BS 8414 Fire performance of external cladding systems).

The purpose of the large-scale façade test method is to provide data that enables the evaluation of the fire performance of the cladding components tested as a system.

The standard is split into two parts:

Large scale tests are regularly applied by our industry as an important aspect to validate the fire safety of facade systems considering the interaction between the different elements. BS 8414 is considered as a reference beyond UK and, together with the German standard DIN 4120-20, is the basis of the on-going development of a European assessment method.

More information

 

 

Time to create a Renovation Fund for All Europeans

Time to create a Renovation Fund for All Europeans

6 May 2020

Initiated by the Renovate Europe Campaign, a wide range of stakeholders including the Modern Building Alliance, co-signed a letter asking for the creation of a “Renovation fund for all Europeans’.

This letter, sent to President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioners Timmermans, Simson, Breton and Hahn mentions:

“…the Renovate Europe Campaign, call for the EU Recovery Plan to include a Renovation Fund for All Europeans to ensure that energy renovation of the EU building stock plays a central role in getting the EU back on its feet.

The EU construction industry alone is worth around 9% of EU GDP and employs more than 16 million Europeans. A focus on the deep energy renovation of buildings across the EU will kickstart our economies from the ground up. It will provide large-scale local employment while reinvigorating demand in those industries that supply the construction industry.”

Read the letter

 

A step forward to a European approach for façades performance assessment

A step forward to a European approach for façades performance assessment

6 May 2020

A consortium composed with 5 partners (RISE (SE), BAM (DE), Efectis (FR), EMI (HU) and the University of Liège (BE) is chosen by the European Commission to finalize in 2 years, a European Approach to assess the performance of façades.

We announced it last September: the European Commission published a call for tender to deliver the ‘alternative method’ to assess the performance of façades. Having a harmonised method for testing façades is important as in the specific case of taller buildings, the performance of façades is a prime element of the building design and therefore, it must be tested as a system and not only as individual components.

A main tasks of the project is to organize an experimental round robin to assess the repeatability and reproducibility of the proposed method, which will allow to fine-tune the method and classification. Ultimately, the European approach for façade performance assessment should be used by the industry to demonstrate the fire performance of their products and systems, and by national regulators to define performance requirements according to the building types.

Members of the Modern Building Alliance have a long time experience with façade tests and we will contribute as stakeholder to the project.

More info: https://www.ri.se/en/what-we-do/projects/finalisation-european-approach-assess-fire-performance-facades

 

Credits: Screenshot of RISE website