New coalition to develop international fire safety standards
- More than 30 local and international professional associations and building standards organizations have joined forces to create the International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) Coalition, which will develop new building fire safety standards, according to a press statement from one of the coalition's members, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
- As the real estate industry becomes increasingly international in scope, there have been hurdles to developing a consistent set of fire safety standards because of different material testing procedures, building codes and fire-related regulations from country to country. The group's goal is to come up with a set of shared standards that will establish minimum fire-safety requirements and standards for professionals in design, construction and management positions to follow in order to achieve a maximum level of safety.
- Once the IFSS members develop the new set of standards, the coalition will own them, rather than any one member organization, and help with their local implementation around the world. As a first step, the IFSS will engage a group of international technical fire experts to develop high-level standards, as well as ensure they work in various world markets.
The chair of the new coalition, Gary Strong, who is also the global building standards director of the RICS, said London's Grenfell Tower tragedy indicates the level of need for a consistent set of international fire safety standards.
In June of 2017, more than 70 people died in a fire that broke out at the residential tower, a blaze that was reportedly caused by a malfunctioning refrigerator on one of the building's lower floors. The rapid spread of the fire, however, has been blamed on cladding that had been installed as part of a renovation.
In April of this year, a BRE Global report on the fire was leaked to the Evening Standard, and it alleged that the fire might have been avoided if construction crews had complied with certain safety measures during the renovation. The report said that in addition to the cladding and insulation being highly flammable, the quality of construction was poor. According to BRE, the building's cavity barriers were too small and incorrectly installed, creating a path for the fire instead of stopping it like the barriers were supposed to do. A lack of door closers also allowed the fire to burn through the building at a rapid pace, as did the gaps in window frames and the makeshift fillers stuffed inside of them.
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Global organisations unite to solve fire safety in buildings
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