Modern Building Alliance joins the International Fire Safety Standards Coalition (IFSS)

Modern Building Alliance joins the International Fire Safety Standards Coalition (IFSS)

23 August 2019

The Modern Building Alliance recently joins the International Fire Safety Standards Coalition.

The Coalition was launched with the support of United Nations Economic Commission in July 2018; it brought together a growing list of professional and non-profit organisations from around the world dealing with fire safety of buildings with the purpose of discussing the development of landmark industry standards to address fire safety in buildings.

The Coalition  committed in developing and supporting a shared set of standards for fire safety aimed at delivering greater consistency of minimum levels of fire safety and professionalism in buildings across the world.

Modern Building Alliance sponsors Fire Safety Façade 2019

Modern Building Alliance sponsors Fire Safety Façade 2019

13 August 2019

As sponsor of Fire Safety Façade 2019, Modern Building Alliance confirms its commitment to support sciences and researches on fire safety in buildings.

The 3rd International Fire Safety of Facade (FSF 2019) is held in Paris, from the 25th to the 27th September.
Organised by CSTB (Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment), the French Building Research Institute, FSF2019 is a three-days event that fosters dialogue among scientists, academics and professionals from around the world related to the research and development in the field of facade fire safety.
FSF2019 promotes the cooperation between manufacturers and researchers.

Quentin de Hults and Mohamad El Houssami, both from the Modern Building Alliance, will present the paper "A European Framework to ensure fire safety in taller buildings". This paper proposes a comprehensive and structured list of elements for consideration by Member States in their regulatory approach to ensure fire safety in high and mid-rise buildings.

More information about FSF2019

 

 

 

Modern Building Alliance presents the EU Fire Safety Guide

Modern Building Alliance presents the EU Fire Safety Guide

1 July 2019

Modern Building Alliance officially launches the European Fire safety Guide. Written for policy makers, this guide presents a holistic approach of how fire safety in buildings can be improved and what can be done at EU level.

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EU fire safety research needed in Horizon Europe – Joint letter to Commissioner Carlos Moedas

EU fire safety research needed in Horizon Europe - Joint letter to Commissioner Carlos Moedas

EU fire safety research needed in Horizon Europe - Joint letter to Commissioner Carlos Moedas

4 June 2019

A wide range of stakeholders, including Modern Building Alliance, addressed a letter to Commissioner Carlos Moedas asking for fire safety science to be considered within Horizon Europe, the new research and innovation framework programme.

As demonstrated by recent initiatives likes the Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) and the pilot project on fire statistics, the EU has a role to play for fire safety in buildings. Fire safety research is an additional area where many stakeholders consider that EU actions would be beneficial.

Quentin de Hults, Executive Chair of the Modern Building Alliance commented:

“We firmly believe that fire safety science is essential for industry and for society:

  • it allows adequate product development and innovation,
  • it guarantees safe performance and benefits (quality of life, environment…),
  • it improves safety levels in buildings with the most effective solutions, and
  • it informs policies (performance requirements) and prevention measures.”

Read the joint letter

Modern Building Alliance sponsors Interflam 2019

Modern Building Alliance sponsors Interflam 2019

The Modern Building Alliance is proud to sponsor Interflam 2019, the 15th International Conference and Exhibition on Fire Science and Engineering that will take place in London on July 1-3. This three-day conference, which is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, brings together engineers, scientists, practitioners and regulators from around the globe. There will be multiple sessions supported by posters, exhibitions, demonstrations, networking sessions and workshops. Aimed at harnessing fire science to provide a safer built environment, Interflam 2019 will look at issues like fire prevention and safety, facades or human behaviour in fire.

We firmly believe that fire safety science is essential for industry and for society:

  • it allows adequate product development and innovation,
  • it guarantees safe performance and benefits (quality of life, environment…),
  • it improves safety levels in buildings with the most effective solutions, and
  • it informs policies (performance requirements) and prevention measures.

Quentin de Hults, Executive Chair of the Modern Building Alliance says “as representatives of the plastics industry, we are committed to playing our part in making buildings safer and more sustainable. We are proud to sponsor an event such as Interflam which help bridging the gap between science, regulations and construction industry”.

The Modern Building Alliance hopes to meet you at their booth in London!

 

 

Progress of the Fire Information Exchange Platform: only a more active contribution from Member States will make it successful

Progress of the Fire Information Exchange Platform: only a more active contribution from Member States will make it successful

On 27 February, the Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) met for a plenary meeting to present progress since its establishment in October 2017.

During the meeting, the European Commission called on Member States to actively contribute to the platform. The Modern Building Alliance, which is also a member of this FIEP, fully supports this call, as exchange of information on fire safety is crucial to understand the impacts of regulatory choices and improve fire safety for European citizens.

Out of the five priorities identified in 2017, three dedicated project teams presented their progress. While lots of information was exchanged on fire prevention, the European Commission identified a lack of input from Member States on the other two priorities namely lessons learned from fire accidents and regulatory approach for new products and high-rise buildings. In June 2018, the Modern Building Alliance proposed a framework for structuring the exchange of information on the necessary regulatory approach for high rise buildings and we invited again the FIEP to consider using it. With regard to the fourth work stream on fire statistics, the European Commission announced that it will benefit from the pilot project on fire safety statistics voted by the European Parliament last September. This will help complement the pioneering work already done by the European Fire Safety Alliance in gathering EU-wide data. Finally, the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) announced that the last work stream on fire safety engineering will be led by its own Joint Research Centre, showing an interest from the European Commission to have a more horizontal approach to fire safety.

This meeting was also the opportunity to report on the progress of a possible harmonised European approach to regulating the fire performance of façades following the publication of the European Commission’s study last September. While many Member States have expressed a preference for the ‘alternative’ approach on the long term, proposing a new testing and classification method, we encourage the Commission to organise additional and dedicated discussions with Member States and stakeholders to further clarify short and middle-term solutions. We believe that the “proposed approach” – relying on existing testing methods – is most able to deliver quick and impactful results. You can find additional information on our position here.

We would like to also congratulate Estonia and Sweden who shared additional information on their recent successful initiatives on fire safety, demonstrating the large potential for improvements thanks to well-targeted prevention measures focusing on the benefits of smoke detectors, the risk of smoking and open fires, and the danger of obstructing escape routes.

Finally, the Commission presented the outcome of a questionnaire sent to all Member States and to which 17 of them responded. The results showed that national fire safety regulations are constantly being revised to consider developments and take stock of learnings, which shows the benefits of sharing information within the FIEP.

Commenting on this meeting MBA Executive Chair Quentin de Hults said “The FIEP is now fully setup and we welcome the initial progress. Several Member States are sharing very relevant information particularly on their successful prevention efforts, we encourage all of them to actively contribute to the different work streams. As representative of the plastic industry in the construction sector, we are committed to supporting the FIEP in making Europe’s buildings safer and more sustainable”.

To learn more about the FIEP and its goals, please see our dedicated page here.

Fire Safety Mission for Europe: Modern Building Alliance joins forces with IAFSS

Fire Safety Mission for Europe: Modern Building Alliance joins forces with IAFSS

On 3 December, a workshop by the International Association of Fire Safety Science (IAFSS) was organised in Brussels, bringing together over 100 representatives of the fire safety community to discuss the importance of science in fire safety and to define a Fire Safety Mission for Europe. Our Executive Chair, Quentin de Hults, presented the views of the industry on the need for fire safety science together with pinfa. He stressed the importance of fire safety science for product development and innovation but also as a basis to inform policies and fire prevention measures. He also raised a number of technical and societal questions that should be answered with the help of fire safety science.

The event comes as a response to European Commission’s publication of its outline for “Horizon Europe”, the research & innovation programme which will follow Horizon 2020, with a proposed budget of around 100 billion € for 2021-2028. The original proposal makes no mention of fire safety.

The new proposed structure for Horizon Europe will build on thematic “pillars” (Health, Inclusive and Secure Society, Digital and Industry, Climate, Energy and Mobility and Food and Natural Resources) and horizontal “missions”. The definition of a “Fire Safety Mission” is particularly suitable for the inclusion of fire safety in Horizon Europe, as fire safety is truly horizontal in nature, cutting across a broad variety of potential themes.

IAFSS launched a position paper calling for action concerning fire research and engineering needs for the future, the IAFSS Agenda 2030 for a Fire Safe World. Using the IAFSS Agenda 2030 as a starting point for dialogue, the IAFSS and International Standardisation Organisation Technical Committee on Fire safety (ISO TC92) invited all fire safety stakeholders to a workshop to define a Fire Safety Mission for Europe. Stakeholders will help develop a research roadmap and potentially white papers, to facilitate the generation of directed funding towards fire safety science research to address emerging societal and environmental challenges.

Key takeaways from this productive workshop are:

  • the need to make fire science more proactive
  • the importance to strengthen collaboration between academics, fire fighters and industry
  • to work on fire safety awareness for professionals and citizens
  • to take a holistic view on fire safety, involving all disciplines and aspects
  • to consider the strong social aspect and be inclusive

Modern Building Alliance stands ready to contribute to these aspects and is proud to have supported this workshop.

Stakeholders discuss how to improve fire safety at European Parliament event

Stakeholders discuss how to improve fire safety at European Parliament event

On 28 November 2018, the Modern Building Alliance and the European Fire Safety Alliance (EuroFSA) organised a roundtable event ‘Fire safety: setting the scene for fire safe European buildings’ in the European Parliament. The event was also supported by MEP Bendt Bendtsen (EPP) and MEP Theresa Griffin (S&D) who both acknowledged the need for better and harmonised data collection and knowledge-sharing between countries to achieve better fire safety in Europe.

As recent tragic events have rightly triggered a renewed concern on how to improve fire safety in Europe, the event was a timely opportunity to take stock of the several initiatives put forward in the EU over the past year. Fulvia Raffaelli, Head of Unit in DG GROW, presented an update on the work of the Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP), showing good progress when it comes to the work streams on prevention and experience sharing.

The event also gave the opportunity to many different stakeholders to present their perspective. Industry stakeholders, fire fighters, MEPs and Commission’s officials, all agree to take the work on fire safety forward and ensure a holistic approach with accurate data to improve fire safety in Europe.

Importantly, the event was the opportunity to present a new report on fatal residence fires by EuroFSA and the Dutch Fire Service Academy (IFV) where smoking and defective electrical appliances are identified as important causes for fatal residence fires. The report also concludes that most fatal residential fires ignite on upholstered furniture, beds and matrasses and textiles, including clothes. This report is a first step towards a better understanding of fatal residential fires in Europe and precise and up-to-date fire statistics that can support a more efficient regulatory framework.

Find more details about the event here, including presentations of the different speakers. You can find more details about the programme here.

MEPs take another step toward increased fire safety in Europe

MEPs take another step toward increased fire safety in Europe

25 September 2018

Today, the European Parliament’s Committee on Budget (BUDG) adopted an amendment for a pilot project on fire safety to be included in the EU’s 2019 budget. The Modern Building Alliance would like to congratulate the BUDG Committee and all the MEPs that have supported this initiative which will strengthen the EU commitment to fire safety and support a breakthrough in fire statistics and prevention. The pilot project was first proposed by the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE), led by MEP Bendt Bendtsen and supported by 23 other MEPs across most political groups and aim to mend the data gaps on fire statistics and implement pan-European awareness fire safety campaign.

Quentin de Hults, Executive Chair of the Modern Building Alliance said: “Understanding the key risk factors is essential to identify effective actions. This pilot project can help Member States in their fire prevention efforts and make sure the rate of fire fatalities in Europe keeps going down”.

We currently experience a lack of EU-wide statistics about fire safety while data are essential to identify risk factors and most effective prevention measures. Efforts to prevent the development and consequences of fires require building occupants to understand which safety precautions or emergency actions need to be taken and in which circumstances. The pilot project will start by gathering better statistics and would recommend EU-level actions to support fire safety and fire prevention efforts of Member States, turning into a possible pan-European fire safety awareness campaign.

The 2019 EU budget will be voted by the European Parliament plenary in October and should be agreed between the Council and the European Parliament later this year. Once approved, the Commission will be responsible for implementing this two-year project and report every year to the European Parliament on the progress made.

To learn more about the pilot project and its aims, please check our news post here.

European Parliament’s Committee on Budget (BUDG) meeting. Votes.

 

 

 

New Commission study on fire performance of façades shows continued progress on fire safety

New Commission study on fire performance of façades shows continued progress on fire safety

14 September 2018

On 3 September, the Commission published a study on the development of a European approach to assess the fire performance of facades of buildings. The Modern Building Alliance welcomes these efforts to strengthen fire safety in Europe and is ready to engage further with the Commission and regulators to discuss and clarify identified gaps.

The study, commissioned by DG GROW, aims to provide Member States’ regulators with a harmonised European approach to regulating the fire performance of façade systems. It presents two options:

  • The first option, the so-called “proposed test method”, is a classification methodology based on existing testing standards for fire performance and fire behaviour of external facade systems.
  • The second option, or “alternative method” proposed by the consortium is based on a new testing and classification approach combining two tests.

The Modern Building Alliance sees numerous benefits in developing harmonised EU standards and believes that the “proposed test method” put forward in the study, and preferred by the European Commission services, is most able to deliver quick and impactful results. Firstly, an approach based on existing standards will capitalise on the historical experience of laboratories, regulators and manufacturers and will rely on valuable existing data. This will also enable a faster implementation which is essential for reinforcing fire safety in the EU and protect citizens.

As Member States are planning to review their national regulation, the Modern Building Alliance shares the sense of urgency in ensuring a swift implementation of this methodology. We also encourage the Commission and regulators to organise additional discussions with stakeholders to further clarify some points highlighted in the study, such as the development of a clear definition of facades.