Last month, the Fire Standards Board published a new ‘protection standard’ which aims to improve the fire safety of non-residential buildings – including what steps the fire and rescue services need to take to meet the required standard.
The role of the Fire Standards Board is to oversee the identification, organisation, development and maintenance of professional Standards for fire and rescue services in England.
Primarily, the new standard it is focused on reducing the risk of incidents in the built environment by ‘educating and regulating those responsible for keeping buildings safe to adopt safer behaviours and delivering proportionate and robust fire protection activities, complying with its statutory responsibility.
The FSB website goes on to outline what is required to meet the standard, as well as its expected benefits, and any relevant legal requirements, mandatory duties, linked qualifications and accreditations.
The introduction of the protection standard, which follows a consultation that received responses from across the industry, has been welcomed by the External Wall Systems (EWS) Services team at MAC Construction Consultants which has extensive experience with non-residential building refurbishment.
Commenting on the new standard in an article published by IFSEC GLOBAL Suzanne McCarthy, Fire Standards Board chair, said that the board recognised the ‘importance of this standard’, as well as the contribution it will make to ‘helping services in driving forward safer buildings, and the improved wellbeing of communities’.
Sentiments echoed by MAC Associate Director Deb Kilvington, who said it was an ‘important step in the right direction’ for addressing external wall and fire risk issues across the UK.
Deb, who forms part of MAC’s EWS Team, and who is TMIFPO and FRSM qualified, said: “The emphasis in recent years has been the risk of fire incidents on residential properties, and so it is reassuring to see that there is an increasing focus on non-residential properties too.
“This new protection standard will no doubt save lives, and we consider it an important step in the right direction to addressing the external wall and fire risk issues that exist in a whole range of different sectors across the country.”
MAC’s EWS team provides a complete range of external wall system services, as well as specialist advice and commercial support to clients in all business sectors across the UK
Deb, along with her colleague Barry Smith, who is RICS and CABE qualified, has extensive experience of undertaking inspections and delivering accurate reporting.
She also has a wealth of technical knowledge on construction and fire risk, ensuring that the right solutions and advice is delivered on even the most complex matter.
The team can deliver a range of services including:
• Desktop Study – undertaking a desktop assessment of documents, design details, drawings, construction information etc in respect of the external wall systems to each building.
• Investigation – investigating each type of facade construction in sample areas to agree suitable locations with clients for opening up works to inspect the façade and any void materials.
• Inspection - inspecting and reviewing the as-built construction to those areas, checking exposed cavity barriers, insulation, sub-bases, membranes and any fire stopping.
• Sampling – agreeing any sampling required to any cladding or other materials and reviewing the results.
• Reporting – producing EWS1 Forms and Reports on the type and combustibility of the identified cladding, insulation, membrane, sub-base materials, etc, and commenting on the presence of cavity barriers and general workmanship of the façade construction to provide recommendations for remedial works.
• QS & Project Management Services – managing any recommended works on behalf of clients.
• Due Diligence - reviewing any building to give peace of mind to clients prior to acquisitions.
• Funding Assistance – helping to apply for Government funding to ease the financial burden.
The team also has in place:
• ISO 9001 Quality Management procedures, alongside ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 accreditation, ensuring excellent inspection and reporting techniques and enabling the highest standards of quality throughout your project.
• Up to £10 million PI coverage, which is offered by a diminishing few in the marketplace.