Fire, Security and Safety
Fire safety is the key issue of our times. While the new build sector has relatively easily made the transition to using fire safe materials, the issue of combustible material in the external walls of existing buildings has caused major concerns for all stakeholders. We spoke to Richard Izzard, managing director of aluminium decking manufacturer AliDeck, to find out more about successful fire remediation of combustible balconies.
Leaseholders and building owners up and down the country have been caught in an incredibly frustrating and difficult situation across the last 18 months. In the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, mortgage lenders became increasingly reluctant to provide loans on properties in high-rise buildings. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the BSA, and UK Finance developed the External Wall Fire Review scheme (and its EWS1 survey form) in an attempt to provide an industry-led solution.
Titon Ventilation Systems new FireSafe Air Brick® has recently been installed in the new Blackhorse View residential development.
Following the Grenfell tragedy, root and branch change has been demanded across construction practice and the regulatory landscape has consequently been in a state of evolution. Against the backdrop of a raft of updates in legislation and building regulations, as well as multiple Advice Notes addressing fire safety in the external envelope of buildings, industry stakeholders and BSI recently published a new British Standard for balcony design; BS8579:2020. We spoke to Richard Izzard, managing director of aluminium decking manufacturer AliDeck, to find out more.
Wednesday 9th June saw the success of the virtual event, ‘What Makes a Healthy Home?’ powered by Aico | HomeLINK. The event aimed to create thought-provoking discussion regarding the current standards and legislation that contribute to creating safe homes for residents and the resulting impact on the social housing sector.
In attendance were close to 300 professionals, thought-leaders and decision-makers from across the industry to hear from keynote speakers, Dr Stephen Battersby, Vice President at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and Dorota Pawlowski, Managing Associate at Trowers and Hamlins LLP. With interactive polls, dedicated question and answer sessions with keynote speakers and networking opportunities, the conference empowered the discussion of prevalent issues within the UK housing sector.
While Housing Associations have long been shifting towards a more digital way of working, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this further, with more housing managers embracing remote working technologies and embedding digital infrastructures and data standards into their everyday processes. But are these systems being used to their full potential? As well as providing the option to log in to a central database from any location, remote management systems can also help streamline operations and crucially, open up mutually beneficial dialogues with tenants.
The Grenfell review from Dame Judith Hackitt concluded that the current legislation regarding fire safety equipment in the UK is not fit for purpose and that it needs to improve. Learning the best that we can from other countries (such as those in the European Union) while avoiding their shortcomings would be a good start.
But while well-considered fire safety regulation is essential, it is equally important for all those involved in the design and construction of buildings and construction products to have an understanding of what fire can do to a building and how damage and danger can be minimised.
The internet is awash with manufacturers, installers and ‘experts’ citing different test standards and accreditations. Scott Francis, Technical Manager at Bowater Doors unpicks this information and explains what you should look for when choosing a composite fire door.
Look for the latest standard - BS EN 1634
BS EN 1634 is the latest standard for fire resistance and smoke control and is accepted in Approved Document B, the fire safety element of the Building Regulations in England.
It’s a far more demanding test in comparison to the old BS 476 standard. This is particularly in reference to the requirement to expose both sides of the door to the fire combined with the increased level of pressure and heat in the furnace. We made the decision to test our doors to the limits with regards to safety and security to ensure we are offering the best composite fire door on the market.