fire safety for high rise buildings
As residential fire safety, particularly in multi-storey buildings and tower blocks have been the centre of attention since last June, the groundswell of opinion is clearly behind the installation of fire sprinkler systems as part of a multi-million pound programme of fire protection upgrades.
While discussions continue regarding how the work is being funded, it appears that local authorities and housing associations are likely to make a significant contribution to the cost, so it’s inevitable that ‘value’ and ‘cost effectiveness’ will form part of the tendering procedures that are already taking place.
The tragic events of the Grenfell disaster last year cast a long shadow and one that will remain with the industry for decades to come.
Of course lessons will be learnt and perhaps at long last due attention will be paid to safety above other considerations when deciding upon risk critical building products such as fire doors and fire door assemblies.
More immediately however we all await the inevitable changes to legislation and good practice, following Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review and how it will shape future product specification, installation and ongoing use throughout the life cycle of the building.
Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report (Building a Safer Future, May 2018) is an opportunity missed to demonstrate clear leadership in the area of fire safety for high rise buildings, according to Ben Jayes, managing director of Vivalda Group.
Giving his reaction to the 159 page report, Jayes said “We were expecting a far clearer statement from Dame Judith, which would include banning any combustible material on tall buildings. We had also hoped to see sharper teeth when it came to independent building inspection, however this appeared to have been overlooked in favour of tighter regulations outlined in the report.