Partnership, sustainability and education are top of the agenda for the Association of Specialist Fire Protection, according to ASFP President Brian Robinson.
Speaking at the ASFP's President's Lunch, held at the House of Lords, Mr Robinson declared that improving the quality of fire safety requires a more collective approach to risk reduction and risk mitigation and highlighted the Association's role in the Fire Sector Partnership.
This forum has been established for representatives of organisations working with, or within, the built environment, fire and rescue and resilience sectors in the UK to debate issues of common interest.
"Allowing the sector to be more self-determined is high on the government's agenda and it will take time and thought to get used to the idea of developing our own policies and standards which can only be done by all parts of the sector working together and in harmony."
Changing building technology and a lack of understanding of fire safety and compliance are issues to be addressed, said Mr Robinson. "We know there is a serious disconnect in appropriate understanding, communication, ownership of responsibility and commitment to required standards throughout the entire process of design, build, inspection, hand over to the responsible person and onward management thereafter."
To address this, the ASFP has established a Sustainability Task Group and a Training Task Group. The Sustainability Task Group is made up of key industry players from within the manufacturing and contracting communities, consulting engineers and assessment bodies, Mr Robinson explained: "This task group was formed because of the growing recognition that within the 'sustainability' debate, compliance with the Building Regulations only forms part of the issue in relation to fire.
"Whilst the regulations address the issue of life safety they have no bearing on the actual destruction of the building, the accompanying impact from the carbon release generated, the devastation to the surrounding environment and the social impact caused to those living or working in the building in question, or those surrounding it.
"It follows therefore that the issue of appropriate fire protection measures, integrated within innovative design, must be recognised as a fundamental hub in any future carbon reduction mandate.
"In the coming months, ASFP will be working with those directly involved in the development of modern methods of construction to develop solutions in passive fire protection that will ensure adequate fire safety and building longevity without stifling essential innovation."
Meanwhile, the Training Task Group has been established to look at the whole issue of supply chain education, through which the ASFP will work with other associations to develop an improved awareness of the importance of fire by those who may impair the fire resistance within the fabric of a building.
The Association is also launching a new guidance document. The ASFP Guide to Inspecting Passive Fire Protection for Fire Risk Assessors is an essential document designed to take a pragmatic approach to the degree of inspection necessary to reassure the Responsible Person that appropriate measures have been taken when inspecting a diversity of building types.
Responding to Mr Robinson, Neil O'Connor, Director of Fire, Resilience and Emergencies for DCLG, praised the work that the ASFP has done to promote better understanding and competence in the industry.
"Ministers recognise the positive impact that this has on compliance with Building Regulations and the Fire Safety Order," he declared. "I know too that the Association's officers are in regular contact with officials in the Department and more recently have discussed possible changes to Building Regulations to support wider use of specialist third party certification. I understand that we should be publishing a consultation on proposals for the building regulations shortly."
The event was brought to a close by ASFP Chairman Nigel Morrey, who summed up the Association's activities. "Education and enforcement hold particular (and on-going) challenges and frustrations for our members but to solve a problem you need to recognise a problem and we and the wider industry now do. The broader UK fire agenda will form a key part of addressing these matters," he declared.
"We are now really making a difference and positioning ourselves and passive fire protection for the future. In fact, with key objectives and firm direction we are striving to deliver not only the requirements of our membership, but also those within the wider fire protection community."
For further information on ASFP aims and objectives contact Wilf Butcher, ASFP Chief Executive at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted January 18th, 2012 at 1125 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: email@example.com