Jane Embury, director, looks at the risk of fire
Fire can be friend or foe.
When fire breaks out in a building, it’s definitely an enemy. An enemy that needs to be contained.
We shouldn’t forget that in 2019/20, the UK suffered 286 fire fatalities. Thankfully, that’s lower than 20 years ago when fire fatalities were consistently over 500.
Fire and building safety were given extra impetus by the Grenfell Tower disaster, the 2017 London fire in which 72 people died.
In reaction to that tragedy, the UK government has now published its long-awaited Building Safety Bill.
It brings in new provisions for buildings over 18 metres and, it’s hoped, will help reinforce a culture of safe practice across the construction sector.
That responsibility begins at the design stage and covers every contractor and sub-contractor, for up to ten years after a building’s completion or refurbishment.
The Grenfell Tower inquiry shone a light on the often opaque and confused approach to fire safety that some companies have worked to.
In a complex building, responsibility for fire safety can lie between different contractors and suppliers. It makes for complicated paper trail.
We’ve seen that many times over the years. Improperly-fitted fire doors to badly-installed advanced glazing systems.
In response, we’ve raised issues of fire safety with the UK government and with jurisdictions elsewhere. Safety is what our business is about.
Now, there will be a requirement for every tall building to have a complete paper trail of building and fire compliance. Hopefully, that will concentrate minds across the sector.
Photo shows one of our systems in assembly.