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EU Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP)

The Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) was established to facilitate the exchange of fire safety information and best practice among Member States. The Modern Building Alliance and its members fully support this initiative and will contribute to the discussions with relevant stakeholders.

 

A new fire safety initiative

In September 2017, following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London, the European Commission announced a new initiative to enhance fire safety cooperation across EU Member States.

Under the leadership of the Commission’s DG GROW, the Fire Information Exchange Platform (FIEP) gathers Member State authorities and stakeholders from civil society and industry. They first met on the 16th October 2017.

The FIEP aims to facilitate the exchange of information between the competent Member State authorities and other stakeholders, allowing them to benefit from lessons learned and best practice regarding fire safety. It is expected to enhance the capabilities of Member State authorities to fulfil their tasks in full knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of the regulatory choices they have to make.

The following areas have been identified by FIEP members for further cooperation:

  • Common terminology and fire statistics
  • The application of fire prevention principles
  • The regulatory approach for new products, including high-rise buildings
  • Exchange of experience from fire accidents
  • Fire engineering approach in building regulations

The Modern Building Alliance and its members fully support the work and philosophy of the FIEP.  A lack of accessible, comparable statistical data is one of the critical issues which has hampered efforts to protect European citizens. While many Member States have introduced initiatives to improve fire safety in Europe, the results of these are often not shared effectively. This means successful projects may not be replicated in other countries and makes it difficult to learn from initiatives that are not as successful as desired.

Listen to what Fulvia Raffaelli from DG GROW said about the EU Fire Information Exchange Platform during our roundtable event ‘Fire safety: setting the scene for fire safe European buildings’ in the European Parliament on the 28th November 2018.

 

The Modern Building Alliance contributes to the discussions and will continue to share its expertise

During our roundtable event organised in the European Parliament on the 28th November 2018, Fulvia Raffaelli (DG GROW - C1) presented an update on the work of the FIEP.

Around the five key workstreams identified (see above), the European Commission created Project Teams. So far, 3 Project Teams have been constituted and met in 2018:

  • Project team 1: Exchange of experience from fire accidents
  • Project team 2: Experience on regulatory fire safety approach for new products and tall buildings
  • Project team 3: Fire prevention principles

Each Project Team gathers representatives of Member States and relevant stakeholders to share information and elaborate recommendations for the plenary.

Following the first meetings of the Project teams, the FIEP met on the 27th February 2019 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 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. Find more information about this meeting here.

The Modern Building Alliance has been active in contributing to the work of Project Team 2. As our buildings evolve and increasingly present new features (organic facades, greater use of natural products,  photovoltaic panels integrated in roofs/façades, charging points for electric vehicles, etc.), it becomes important to discuss possible regulatory challenges emerging from these new products but also from new ways of construction (modern façades, taller buildings).

During the meeting, the Modern Building Alliance presented its approach on fire safety in tall buildings and a set of recommendations to the European Commission. Our belief is that a holistic approach is best able to ensure increased fire safety in medium and high-rise buildings. It should start with proper enforcement of national regulations and should include adequate European harmonised standards to be used for large scale façade system testing, but also all main components applied in façade systems, covering the building design, the fire safety installations and the organisational aspects.

Finally, we believe that us and all product manufacturers have a direct responsibility in:

  • Contributing to the development of robust product standards and having their products classified and labelled according to these standards;
  • Presenting unambiguous and clear information about their product performance, installation and use guidelines. For façade system components, this also includes applying large scale system testing and providing clear information about the systems and applications in which their products may be used or not.
  • Contributing to the training of the planners and installers.

 

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