Making the lead address to the national Fire Summit on 11th October at Aviva headquarters, the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) President Brian Robinson called for the creation of a National Fire Safety Agency that can address fragmentation in the supply, procurement and construction chain for buildings, to co-ordinate input from all the professionals involved in ensuring the fire safety of our built environment, to scrutinise fire safety and act as a centre of expertise and advice for builders, building owners, public and professionals alike.
The speech made clear that the FSF supports the wider and mandatory application of third party certification schemes especially for products and product systems that have a fire safety function, also including installers and those who carry out important maintenance and repairs during building occupation. Systemic failings of the regulatory fire safety system include concerns over performance in fire conditions that can be intense. There is accordingly a recognised need now, more than ever before, to have an enhanced degree of trust and confidence in products. And that is the fundamental purpose of third-party product certification schemes, operating to defined scheme standards and audited under UKAS accreditation.
Mr Robinson also said that improvements can only be made by defining relevant competencies for the key roles that can be identified along the design, specification, supply and construction chain through to building occupation, including for risk assessment and enforcement. Similarly, benchmarks and standards for key fire safety concepts must be defined, including the combustibility concept and associated product and system testing.
ASDMA is a member of the Fire Sector Federation and supports the concerns and fire safety objectives expressed in the President’s address to the Fire Summit. We particularly emphasize the importance of fire resistance testing of assemblies, essentially backed by technical assessments based on and related to relevant and applicable test evidence.
The need to work with the construction industry and architects to introduce regulatory provisions for the better assignment of responsibility and accountability at key points in the chain through to building handover also featured in the address. That is a major concern of ASDMA as well. We particularly see the need to keep true to the original fire safety performance specification through construction to building handover and during occupation, with assurance that the levels of fire safety and protection against fire and smoke spread are suitably and sufficiently maintained, as intended.
ASDMA is pledged through its constitution to do what it can to provide considered best practice guidance on fire door assemblies and associated fire safety principles. Details can be found on the ASDMA web site Knowledge Centre and the specifier guidance section, and we encourage questions or observations through firstname.lastname@example.org .