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fire safety

NBS and ASFP partner on passive protection

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 Today, NBS, a specification and product information platform for the construction industry, has entered into a new partnership agreement with the ASFP (Association for Specialist Fire Protection), the UK’s leading association for the passive fire protection sector.

The partnership aims to assist with peer review and ensure the accuracy and quality of specifications relating to passive fire protection. It allows NBS to publish references to and extracts from ASFP Technical Guidance in NBS products and services, and to provide ASFP with extracts of NBS content for peer review.

The move will result in improved support to architects, designers and specifiers in developing specifications for passive fire protection products and systems. It ensures they will have access to appropriate high-quality guidance and technical content, helping them to produce accurate and structured specifications. It will also assist passive fire protection manufacturers to provide product information and technical data in an appropriate and structured format.

Commenting on the partnership, ASFP CEO, Steve Davies, said: “One of the ASFP’s key aims is to raise the standards and improve the quality of passive fire protection products and installations. This new partnership with NBS offers us the opportunity to influence the way in which passive fire protection products are specified and to improve understanding throughout the construction sector of the properties and performance of these key life safety products.

“We look forward to working with NBS to raise awareness so that passive fire protection will be considered much earlier in the construction process. By sharing our technical expertise and best practice guidance we hope to promote the correct design, specification and installation of passive fire protection products and systems.”

Richard Waterhouse from NBS, said: “Fire safety has never been more important, and the ASFP bring a wealth of knowledge that’s unmatched in the industry. Having them on board will no doubt prove invaluable to our users when looking to specify passive fire protection products. Equally, this will be hugely beneficial to manufacturers who are looking to provide the very best standard of data and in a format that architects and specifiers can easily obtain.

“As specialists in their field, ASFP are the leading authority on passive fire protection and the design and installation of passive fire protection products, so we’re thrilled to be announcing this partnership. We’re also keen to share with ASFP members how NBS software can help protect against risk through our digitally collaborative specification writing platform.”

Commenting on the partnership, Sascia Elliott, Head of Partnerships at NBS, said: “Similar to the NBS ethos, end-user safety is at the heart of what ASFP do. The need for further expertise and guidance on this matter has never been more relevant and we’re looking forward to introducing this knowledge into the NBS platform as soon as possible.”

BESA: Only 1% of buildings are fire safety compliant

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Huge numbers of fire and smoke dampers remain untested in thousands of buildings across the UK, according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

The Association fears that less than 1% of buildings have been fully tested in line with legislation, despite growing awareness of the importance of carrying out comprehensive fire safety risk assessments in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

Many building owners are unaware that they have a legal responsibility to ensure the fire and smoke dampers in their buildings are tested at least once a year – and sometimes more regularly depending on indoor conditions. Even where testing is being carried out, it is often impossible to access at least 25% of the dampers in a building and, in the worst cases, as many as 90% cannot be reached or even located.

Failing to check that these devices are in good working order and, therefore, able to reduce the risk of fire and smoke spreading through a building, can lead to hefty fines and possible prison sentences under current fire regulations.

“Many building owners don’t even know they have dampers; even less that they are a critical element of their building’s fire safety system,” said BESA’s technical consultant Peter Rogers. “However, since Grenfell there has been much greater focus on all aspects of fire safety.

“This has obvious implications for damper testing regimes, best practice and the competence of the firms employed to locate, test, and maintain these safety critical devices,” Rogers told a BESA webinar this week.

The Association has updated its technical guidance for Fire and Smoke Damper Maintenance (VH001) and that this can now be downloaded from its website as part of the association’s contribution to improving the overall safety of buildings.

The webinar heard that there are an estimated 30 million fire and smoke dampers already installed in UK buildings and, if each one was checked and repaired when necessary as required by law, the damper testing market would be worth at least £500 million annually.

Despite the clear legal obligations, the BESA webinar heard that many buildings including hospitals (which typically contain thousands of dampers) had arbitrarily decided to reduce testing to once every five years to save money.

“That’s like deciding to only put your seatbelt on once in every five car journeys,” said George Friend, chair of BESA’s Ventilation Hygiene group. “How do you know on which journey you are going to crash?”

Part of the testing regime involves flagging up which dampers cannot be found or accessed and providing suggestions for remedial works – including installing access panels and/or builders’ hatches – to ensure all dampers can be checked and repaired if necessary.

“It is also crucial that we move away from the tick list culture that still dominates testing regimes,” said Richard Norman, managing director of Indepth Services. “To be compliant with legislation, testing should involve comprehensive photographic records showing the condition of the damper before, during, and after testing.

“The availability of VH001 has improved the situation and if all building owners or managers only used contractors who complied with this guidance, it would eradicate a big part of the problem,” added Norman.

VH001 outlines all aspects of a compliant test regime in line with industry best practice and standards. It builds on the industry’s installation and commissioning code of practice DW/145, the sheet metal ductwork specification DW/144, and the ventilation hygiene standard TR/19.

The BESA testing guidance was produced in response to urgent calls for a methodology to help the building services industry comply with the British Standard (BS9999) for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings along with the healthcare sector’s technical documents HTM 03-01 for heating and ventilation and HTM 05-02 for fire safety in healthcare premises.

BESA’s guidance explains how dampers should be located – in line with the responsibilities of the system designer and as part of a building’s fire strategy – and accessed for testing along with the levels of competence required to carry out this work. It states that an inventory of all dampers should be created and that every manually resettable damper is individually released to ensure the spring-loaded shutter remains operational.

The BESA document also sets out a comprehensive plan for providing reports to clients and any findings that need action including damaged and missing dampers. It also highlights key elements needed to put a planned maintenance regime in place linked to the Association’s digital planned maintenance tool SFG20.

“It is no longer acceptable – or compliant – to put in your report that a damper could not be tested,” said Friend. “There are a lot of people out there carrying out visual inspections that add no value for clients and certainly don’t make people safer.”

Some firms have also been carrying out full building surveys to establish the number of dampers installed without actually carrying out any testing, the webinar heard.

“Not only does this do nothing to improve fire safety, it is a criminal waste of a client’s time and money. If you are carrying out a survey, why not test at the same time?” said Norman, adding that one positive outcome from the Covid crisis was that many clients had been saving themselves time and money by getting indoor air quality and damper testing done at the same time.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: InVentry

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InVentry are the market leaders for staff, visitor, and contractor management across the UK and beyond. With their state-of-the-art system, you can have full clarity of who is on-site at any given time. Trusted by over 8,000 organisations, you know you can trust them to put your sites security at the highest level. 

With InVentry’s Anywhere App, you can control fire evacuations at the palm of your hand. Know who is on-site at any given time and take accurate real-time registers once everyone has exited the building. 

With their new Fire Evacuation Reports, you can receive detailed reports about your evacuation, who was accounted and unaccounted for the duration of the evac – allowing you to identify and make improvements going forward. 

If you have any questions about InVentry’s Fire Evacuation features, please get in touch with them on info@inventry.co.uk or 0113 322 9253. 

www.inventry.co.uk

Global fire protection systems market to hit $155bn

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The global fire protection systems market size is expected to reach USD 155.03 billion by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of 7.5% over the forecast period.

That’s according to a study by Grand View Research, which says increasing adoption of wireless technology, growing human and property loss owing to fire breakouts, and stringent fire safety regulations are projected to fuel the market growth.

Increasing implementation of building safety codes and renovation projects is also anticipated to be a major factor positively influencing the market growth. The application and usage of the fire protection systems are anticipated to increase continuously with the developments of commercial entities and corporations.

Furthermore, technology enhancements such as extinguishing based on mist and products such as laser optical/infrared smoke detectors, alarms with embedded voice evacuation announcements, hypoxic air fire suppression systems, and wireless fire alarm systems are expected to gain traction in the market globally.

Moreover, in 2020, the market will be hampered due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has interrupted production, impacted demand, and caused supply chain disruption.

Key findings from the report:

  • Fire detection is expected to dominate the product segment and the trend is expected to continue over the forecast period and is expected to reach $71.21 billion by 2027
  • The maintenance services market is anticipated to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period. The demand for these services is often driven by new building construction activities, modernization activities, and demand for system upgrades
  • The commercial application segment is expected to dominate over the forecast period. Increasing investment of companies for reducing the loss of property and life, and safeguarding the infrastructure across several applications is also estimated to further propel the demand. The segment is expected to reach $71.31 billion by 2027
  • North America is projected to account for the majority market share over the forecast period. The increasing demand for smart buildings and intelligent houses which deliver optimum safety and security is expected to drive the growth. The region is anticipated to reach $46.64 billion by 2027

The growing trend of integrating fire alarm and detection systems with building automation systems offers vast growth opportunities to market growth. Connectivity with building automation systems is increasingly becoming a major feature of fire protection systems in commercial, industrial, and residential applications.

This can be attributed to the fact that such integration allows for the development of systems that are capable of sharing and gathering data, which can help in alerting individuals about fire safety issues in the premises. A notable rise in investments in smart building automation technologies across several regions is expected to lead to new opportunities for building automation systems in the industrial and commercial sectors.

Consumers in developed regions such as Europe and North America have seen a steady rise in demand over the past few years, and the growth trend is also projected to continue over the next few years. However, a lack of stringent regulations and high cost of advanced fire protection systems has kept the markets in emerging countries largely untapped. Nevertheless, improving economic conditions in countries, including Brazil, and India, are anticipated to boost the demand.

Infrastructural development activities across the Asia Pacific region owing to the rising demand for new transport and utility infrastructure will drive demand. The high rate of urbanization is placing increased pressure on under-invested, weak city infrastructure. The consecutive rise in focus on new residential and infrastructural development projects is expected to propel the demand across this region; thus, such factors fueling market growth.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: TAIT FIRE RESCUE COMMUNICATIONS

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Fireground communications has some unique challenges, and careful consideration should be given, especially when upgrading radio equipment from analogue to digital.

Tait has taken a holistic view to meet these challenges and the requirements of the different users on the fireground, e.g. Breathing Aapparatus wearers, Entry Control Officers, and Incident & Command Officers.

Thus, being able to select and adapt the best equipment (e.g. high power ATEX devices) and combine it with complementary accessories like RSM, headsets and earpieces, is vitally important.

Read more here!

Experience Tait’s Fire Rescue Communications at BAPCO 2020

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Fireground communications has some unique challenges, and careful consideration should be given, especially when upgrading radio equipment from analogue to digital.  

Tait has taken a holistic view to meet these challenges and the requirements of the different users on the fireground, e.g. Breathing Aapparatus wearers, Entry Control Officers, and Incident & Command Officers.

Thus, being able to select and adapt the best equipment (e.g. high power ATEX devices) and combine it with complementary accessories like RSM, headsets and earpieces, is vitally important.

We are proud to present the Tait solution for the Fireground at Bapco 2020!

Details at www.taitradio.com/Bapco

Do you specialise in Fire Safety solutions? We want to hear from you!

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Each month on Security Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the security market – and in March we’ll be focussing on Fire Safety solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help security buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Fire Safety solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Ian Jefferies on i.jefferies@forumevents.co.uk.

Here’s our full features list:

Mar – Fire Solutions
Apr – Lone Worker Security
May – Perimeter
Jun – SIA Security Training
Jul – Transit, Screening & Scanning
Aug – Biometrics
Sep – IP/IT Security
Oct – CCTV
Nov – Loss Prevention Solutions
Dec – Drones

Fire Door Safety Week: Know the risks

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Abloy UK has released an infographic that uncovers recent statistics around fire door safety and highlights the risks around non-compliance. 

The move marks the start of Fire Door Safety Week 2019, explaining how fire can spread fast, recommendations on how to make premises safe from fire, details of fire door regulations and responsibility and penalties for non-compliance.

Pat Jefferies, Commercial Director of Abloy UK, said: “Fire Door Safety Week is an excellent opportunity to shine a light on the issues around the risks of unregulated fire doors, and educate those responsible for ensuring safety in buildings.

“Although the initiative gives us a relevant platform to highlight these issues, fire door safety should be front of mind all year round – especially when the ultimate cost from non-compliance can be the loss of life.

“That’s why Abloy is committed to educating anyone responsible for the specification and installation of fire doors through our Academy – whether that’s an architect, specifier, systems integrator, landlord or facilities manager.

“We’ve been training delegates at the Abloy Academy on the points raised in this infographic and so much more for over a decade, and are proud to help ensure public safety through fire door safety education for many more decades to come.”

Check out the full infographic here:

Do you specialise in Fire Safety solutions? We want to hear from you!

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Each month on Security Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the security market – and in March we’ll be focussing on Business Fire Safety solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help security buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Fire Safety solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Haydn Boxall on h.boxall@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering in 2019, month by month:

March – Fire Solutions
April – Lone Worker Security
May – Perimeter
June – SIA Security Training
July – Transit, Screening & Scanning
August – Biometrics
September – IP/IT Security
October – CCTV
November – Loss Prevention Solutions
December – Drones 

For more information on any of the above, contact Haydn Boxall on h.boxall@forumevents.co.uk.

False fire alarms over Xmas ‘cost the economy £1 billion’

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Siemens is warning UK businesses about the potential consequences of false fire alarms during the busiest period of the year. The electronics giant says false alarms from remotely-monitored fire detection and fire alarm systems cost the UK economy an estimated £1 billion in business disruption, with 95% of automatically-generated alarms being proved to be false, placing Fire and Rescue Services and the public at unnecessary risk. “The vast majority of automatic fire alarm calls are proven to be false and are often caused by either false fire triggers or the inadequate maintenance of alarm systems,” said Don Scott, fire engineering consultant Siemens Building Technologies. “Christmas is already a time of heightened risk of fire for many businesses with the F&RS stretched to capacity across the country. False alarms create further pressures when emergency services have to challenge whether alarms are genuine before attending incidents – the time lost could end up costing thousands of pounds in repairs or at worst, put lives at risk.” Siemens says ionisation or single-sensor optical smoke detectors are a common cause of false alarm activations as they have difficulty in accurately distinguishing between airborne pollutants, such as steam, aerosols, dust, cooking fumes, insects, sparks, embers and a real fire. The incorrect siting of detectors can also be triggered if there is excessive air movement from mechanical heating or ventilation. It says multi-sensor detectors are responsive to more than one fire phenomena, i.e. smoke, heat and carbon-monoxide and are proven to be more immune to false alarm phenomena thereby giving fewer false activations. For more stringent applications; beam detectors, heat detectors and aspirating detectors are available. The company also asserts that regular maintenance programme ensures the correct functioning of a fire alarm system – inadequate servicing and testing compromise safety. If an alarm system is aging or becoming unreliable replacement is advised when offset against the cost of disruption to a business. Generally, detectors should be replaced every 10-15 years, depending upon the environment in which they are installed and the manufacturers recommendations. Dave Green, national officer, Fire Brigades Union said: “False alarms use up resources which could be better served elsewhere, and increase response times to actual emergencies. But it is better to be safe than sorry, and fire services should always be called when any alarm is raised.” “Fire services are under more pressure than ever before, dealing with more incidents and more fires, with increasingly fewer firefighters. Since 2009, there has been a 23% decrease in the number of firefighters across the UK. This huge decrease in the number of firefighters has meant that preventative work, which would help to reduce the number of false alarms, has worryingly fallen by the wayside.”
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