Call for ACTION on Fire Safety Competency

Call for ACTION on Fire Safety Competency

- Fire Safety Competency -

 

27 April 2020

 

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 Modern Building Alliance believes that developing knowledge and competencies is a necessity, in particular to accompany the sustainable transformation of the building stock.

Achieving net zero carbon and circularity for buildings is an ambition that requires many solutions, such as high-performance insulation, resource efficient materials, renewable energy and energy storage technologies. These innovations can entail not only fire risks but also opportunities. Fire safety must neither lag behind nor impede this evolution. It must accompany it. That’s why we must develop knowledge and competencies related to fire safety. This will enhance a safe energy transition that is in the interest of all, including industries contributing to sustainable construction.

Academics have analysed the need to improve fire safety competency and to involve fire safety expertise better in building design and inspection. They call for improved definition of competencies, enhanced education and accreditation, and the establishment of a legal framework for the involvement of accredited fire safety professionals in building design and inspections.

Find out more

The Modern Building Alliance advocates that the EU should play a central role in supporting these necessary developments. We see 3 parallel strands of work:

 

  1. Define roles, responsibilities and required competencies for accredited fire safety professionals. Compare with current situation and analyse shortcomings

Several elements already exist, such as the International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering (IMFSE) co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. Well-established research and education already exist on a national basis in some European countries. Fire safety engineers are organised into professional societies such as SFPE or IFE. A detailed map of the current situation and a gap analysis should be carried out. This should be initiated by the European Commission, involving independent academics, representatives from fire services and national regulators.

  1. Identify a way to embed the need for fire safety competency in legislation

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), since its first version in 2002, has required Member States to establish systems of accreditation of independent experts for the energy performance certification of buildings and for the inspection of heating and air conditioning installations. Nowadays, you must involve an accredited energy expert in any building design, but in many cases you don’t have to involve a fire safety expert. You need to check the energy performance of heating systems regularly, but in several countries you don’t have to check the safety of electrical installations or the performance of fire safety features regularly. Since 2018, the EPBD has asked Member States to address fire safety (and risks related to intense seismic activity). A future revision could require, more specifically, the involvement of accredited fire safety designers and regular fire safety and electrical safety inspections.

  1. Develop knowledge and education at national and EU levels

Various different programmes of the EU, such as Horizon Europe or Erasmus+, can be used to develop knowledge, research and education further in fire safety. Horizon Europe can ensure that there is sufficient investment in the development of fire safety science and engineering. We already called for this, with a wide range of stakeholders, in June 2019. Erasmus+ can ensure the development of the necessary education programmes in Europe.

 

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#FireSafetyCompetency

 

 

Save the Date: EuroFSA’ Action Plan to be launched

Save the Date: EuroFSA' Action Plan to be launched

14 February 2020

Today, the European Fire Safety Alliance communicates about the official launch of their Action Plan for Fire Safety.

SAVE THE DATE! On the 25th March, EuroFSA will organise a breakfast event in the European Parliament to present and discuss the next steps to increase fire safety across the EU.

This event is hosted by the Danish Member of the European Parliament,  Pernille Weiss from EPP.

EuroFSA will present 10 points of actions resulting of the conclusions of every events held during the European Fire Safety Week last November.

More info

Elipyka Conference: packed room for its 1st edition

Elipyka Conference: packed room for its 1st edition

14 February 2020

The 1st International Conference for the fire protection of structures, attracted a lot of interest and filled up all 450 places of the aula on both days. The focus of the conference was the new Greek Fire Protection Regulation for Buildings, referred to as Presidential Decree 41 (2018). It is a new regulatory approach, which is based on a stricter prescriptive part and alternatively allows a performance based approach.

International and national speakers presented proposals to bridge current gaps to improve the regulatory process and to develop involvement of the building sector.

External insulated facade systems and the need for fire safety engineering expertise were high on the agenda. Dr Diane Daems, on behalf of the Modern Building Alliance, gave an overview for an EU and National regulatory framework based on the B.I.O. framework and the 7 layers of fire safety in buildings.

The EU is working on a harmonized large scale performance based facade fire test and this will take several years of development. However, as an interim approach proven test methods and experience of abroad could be applied. Several examples of tests, fire safety engineering cases and risk based approaches were provided in the papers.

Link

 

 

Today is #112day

Today is #112day

 

11 2 2020

 

On this 11.2.2020, we celebrate the pan-european harmonised emergency number, 112.

This unique number to reach fire fighters, emergency medical services or police officers directly benefits EU citizens. 112 is the crucial access to fire services, the 7th layer of fire safety in buildings

1 trip in Europe? 1 emergency number!

 

 

The Modern Building Alliance represented at Elipyka’ International Conference

The Modern Building Alliance represented at Elipyka' International Conference

3 February 2020

 

For the first International Conference organised by the Hellenic Institute for the Fire Protection of Structures (ELIPYKA), the Modern Building Alliance will give an overview of EU and national regulatory frameworks. Based on the B.I.O. framework and the 7 layers for fire safety in buildings, this presentation will enhance a reflection on how to fully address fire safety in national and European legislations.

Other important topics to be addressed the conference: performance based design and approaches, Fire Safety Engineering competency, fire tests and protection, …

 

Information and agenda: https://elipyka.org/en/

 

 

 

The Commission stresses the role of the Fire Information Exchange Platform in a response to MEPs

The Commission stresses the role of the Fire Information Exchange Platform in a response to MEPs

31 January 2020

Today, the written answer from the European Commission to the Parliamentary question tabled by MEPs Pernille Weiss, Theresa Griffin and Sean Kelly has been officially published. In its response to MEPs, the European Commission stressed the importance of the role of the Fire Information Exchange Platform and the importance to prevent fires especially via its Recommendations of Building Renovation (Commission Recommendation (EU) 2019/786).

 

Question

Question for written answer E-003627/2019 to the Commission Rule 138

Theresa Griffin, Seán Kelly, Pernille Weiss

Subject: Fire prevention and detection

Commission recommendation (EU) 2019/786 of 8 May 2019 on building renovation stressed the important role of fire prevention and detection.

The fire safety strategy in buildings is first to prevent fires, and second to avoid exposure to smoke. Residential smoke alarms detect fires as early as possible, give occupants sufficient time to react and have saved thousands of lives. Smoke alarms are Construction Products Regulation (CPR) products and are third-party certified to the EN146042 standard, a requirement for all products in the EU.

Correct installation and maintenance of residential smoke alarms can further improve their performance and specific installation and maintenance requirements exist in six Member States.

Currently, over 4 000 EU citizens die each year in residential fires and over 70 000 sustain smoke inhalation or burn injuries. But less than half of the Member States currently require smoke alarms to be installed in residential buildings.

  1. Can the Commission ensure that all EU citizens benefit from smoke alarms?
  2. Which technical means are in place to encourage Member States to ensure that alarm installation standards are adhered to?

 

Reply:

EN E-003627/2019

Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission (30.1.2020)

  1. Under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, fire safety (including fire detection) in buildings falls under exclusive competence of the Member States. This is in line with the subsidiarity principle.
  2. Under the regulatory landscape described above the Commission is not in a position to propose legislative initiatives about the installation and use of smoke detection alarms and about their installation.

However, the Commission has found two paths through which it informally promoted fire safety, which encompasses the issue of smoke alarms and their installation:

- In order to facilitate the exchange of experience and the best practices in the area of fire safety the Commission has set up the Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP). The participation to FIEP is from Member States’ authorities, construction industry, rescue services and non-governmental oganisations, and it covers almost 100 participants. After the creation of the FIEP (at the end of 2017) it has convened twice as a plenary meeting and three times in smaller more focused compositions (so-called project teams).

- In 2019 the Commission issued a Recommendation on building renovation (Commission Recommendation (EU) 2019/786). The Recommendation emphasises the fact that the renovation of buildings aiming to improve their energy performance could be used as an opportunity to improve the fire safety of the existing building stock at the same time. This could include the installation of smoke alarms and detection equipment.

 

 

 

IFSS global consultation on Fire Safety launched

IFSS global consultation on Fire Safety launched

23 January 2020

Today, the International Fire Safety Standards coalition (IFSS) has launched a public consultation on a set of principles and best practices for fire safety that exist all around the world. This project aims to bring transparency and consistency across the dozens of differing standards being used around the world. The global consultation is open until the 23rd March.

The Modern Building Alliance, as member of the IFSS, fully supports this initiative. It correlates very well with the 7 layers of fire safety and B.I.O framework we suggested as basis for EU Member States.

 

“Getting consistency, sharing knowledge and best practices across the world on fire safety resonate with what the European Commission is doing with the Fire Information Exchange Platform. It proofs that the need is real to increase fire safety of buildings. We are proud to support the IFSS who developed draft common principles on fire safety that can be used as a reference around the world. It is essential to ensure that fire safety is correctly considered over the whole life time of any buildings. A focus is therefore also needed on enforcement of regulations and competency of the value chain”

 Quentin de Hults, Executive Chair of the Modern Building Alliance

Additional information:

IFSS has been created by a Standard Setting Committee with 25 independent industry fire safety experts. It pulls together the pockets of fire safety best practice that exist across the globe, considering issues such fire prevention, detection and communication, occupant’s protection, containment and extinguishment at each stage of the property life cycle. The coalition organisations spearheading the standards have already received support from the United Nations.

 IFSS Press Release: https://ifss-coalition.org/news/

Access the consultation: https://consultations.intstandards.org/consult.ti/IFSS/consultationHome

Pilot project on fire statistics: The public tender is now released

Pilot project on fire statistics: The public tender is now released

19th November 2019

Today, the European Commission launched the public tender related to the Pilot project on fire statistics initiated last year by 24 members of the EU Parliament and the ITRE committee.

The tender mentions: "The aim of the contract is to map the terminology used and the data collected by the EU Member States regarding fire events and to propose a common terminology and a method to collect the necessary data in each EU Member State with a view to obtain meaningful data sets (based on standardised terms and definitions). This in turn would allow for knowledge-based decisions regarding fire safety at MS and at EU level regarding buildings fires (i.e. houses, apartment blocks, office buildings, commercial buildings, hospitals, schools and kindergartens, elderly homes, etc.).  The pilot project could lead to a potential subsequent preparatory action to launch EU-level actions and initiatives to support Member States' efforts for fire safety and fire prevention, including in their building renovation efforts, thereby supporting safety for Europeans as well as sustainable growth and job creation in Europe."

The Modern Building Alliance fully supports this pilot project which will strengthen the EU commitment to fire safety and will give the EU and national governments the opportunity to better identify the most effective fire safety measures.

The pilot project will complement and support the newly established Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) by the European Commission, to which the Modern Building Alliance is also contributing.

Reach the tender

Three MEPs table a parliamentary question about fire prevention and smoke detection

Three MEPs table a parliamentary question about fire prevention and smoke detection

6th November 2019

MEPs Theresa Griffin (S&D), Pernille Weiss (EPP) and Seán Kelly (EPP) co-signed a parliamentary question about fire safety measures of prevention and detection.

Extending the use of smoke alarms was one of the recommendation that the Modern Building Alliance presented in the EU Fire Safety Guide .

It has also been discussed during our Breakfast Roundtable held in the European Parliament beginning of October.

The Modern Building Alliance positively welcomes this initiative to push the Commission to take action to harmonise the use of smoke detectors all around the EU.

This is the “low hanging fruit” to decrease the number victims and damage due to fire.

Link

 

Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 Report issued

Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 Report issued

30 October 2019

 

This report aims to understand what happened on the night of the 14 June in the Grenfell Tower: how the fire started, how it escaped from the flat where it began and how it spread across the whole building.

A key conclusion at this stage is that the façade failed to comply with building regulations.

Phase 2 of the Inquiry is focusing on the outstanding issues and hearings are expected to begin in early 2020, following which the final report will be written and subsequently published.

 

All information