In light of the recently announced official public enquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, and the appointment of an expert panel to advise the government on immediate fire safety issues, the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) have made an offer to the government to assist.
The FSF is calling on the government to listen to its own fire safety experts. The FSF is a forum of debate and discussion open to any organisation with a legitimate interest in the built, natural, fire and rescue service, or national resilience environments. The Federation has 64 members representing a large number of different organisations across the UK fire sector, including trade associations, companies providing fire protection products, local authority building control, and global insurers.
The FSF feel they can offer fire safety expertise to the government from a wide range of businesses across the entire fire and built environment sectors. Insight from the breadth of FSF membership would enable the government to make decisions about fire safety based on due and proper consideration throughout the life cycle of UK building stock.
Paul Fuller, Chairman of the Fire Sector Federation, said, “We are gravely concerned in particular about the whole design, specification, supply chain and construction process.
“The system is inherently fragmented; meaning decisions about design strategies, products, techniques, certification, competency and auditing, amongst others, are made in a disjointed and often ineffective and inconsistent manner, with less regard to fire safety than should be the case.
“…The FSF is the only representative organisation that brings together all of the fire sector in one place, as well as organisations in other sectors across the built environment and responsible authorities.”
The Fire Sector Federation, which includes BAFSA (the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association), is calling on the government to be proactive in developing the most appropriate mix of solutions to ensure a tragedy such as the Grenfell Tower fire can never happen again. At Applications Engineering we are supporting the campaign for fire sprinklers to be a part of that solution.
According to BAFSA, Sprinkler retrofits in high-rise tower blocks completed in the past 5 years costs on average between £1,500 and £2,500 per flat. At such a relatively small cost, retrofitting fire sprinklers surely has to be given the government’s most urgent attention.
Sir Martin Moore-Blick has been appointed as chairman for the Grenfell Tower public inquiry, which will go right back to the construction of the tower. He will also be looking at the nature of the building regulations that may have contributed to the fire. Survivors of the Grenfell fire are calling for the parameters of the enquiry to be broadened to consider systemic issues, such as why residents’ concerns about fire safety were allegedly ignored.
We hope the outcome of this horrific tragedy puts fire safety in high-rise living and the effectiveness of fire sprinklers at the heart of legal reform.