Smoke Control Association and BAFSA Issue Joint Statement
The Grenfell fire tragedy and subsequently the Dame Judith Hackitt report have focused attention and scrutiny on fire safety systems. In particular, issues have been raised around the culture of the construction industry and the need for a more rigorous regime to ensure correct certification of fire safety products and the professional competence of the contractors who install them.
Dame Judith’s report included a key recommendation for the fire safety sector to demonstrate leadership by developing a proactive and accountable approach to the specifying, installation and maintenance of fire safety products.
In recent months the Smoke Control Association* (SCA) and the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association* (BAFSA) have held joint discussions, with reciprocal presentations to their respective members, to share and compare common aims.
- Raising and promoting the technical skills and competence of our respective associations’ members.
- Reviewing and updating our technical guidance and standards for those seeking to use our respective products and services.
- Emphasising the need to use suitably tested products that are fit for their intended purpose.
- Working closely with the accreditation bodies which serve our sector.
- Engaging with the wider fire and construction sector and other stakeholders to promote our respective products and services.
On this last point, we are keen to engage with, learn from and inform relevant construction, engineering and fire sector membership bodies and trade associations so that collectively there is a raising of the standard across the fire safety sector.
The SCA and BAFSA both welcomed the response from Secretary of State for Housing James Brokenshire MP to the Hackitt report when he said:
"Dame Judith is clear that the current system - developed over many years and successive governments – is not fit for purpose. She is calling for major reform and a change of culture, with the onus more clearly on everyone involved to manage the risks they create at every stage and government doing more to set and enforce high standards. This government agrees with that assessment and supports the principles behind the report’s recommendations for a new system."
Both associations are encouraged by Mr Brokenshire’s intention to work with industry to make the wider suite of building regulations guidance more user-friendly. We await and are keen to respond to the anticipated consultation on the review of the Building Regulations, particularly Part B, guidance on fire safety, including means of escape, fire spread, structural fire protection and fire service access.
- The SCA’s aim is to promote and enhance the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of life safety smoke ventilation systems across all types of building. Its members strive to lead the market and to ensure that all smoke ventilation systems and products are designed and installed in accordance with all relevant regulations and standards, for the benefit of building owners, building occupants and the wider community.
- BAFSA is the UK’s leading professional trade association for the fire sprinkler industry. Its members install more than 85% of the sprinkler and watermist installations in the UK and include a significant majority of third-party certified sprinkler installers as well as manufacturers; suppliers; contractors; insurers; the fire and rescue services and others with an interest in the field.
Keith MacGillivray MBE MA BSc David Mowatt
Chief Executive Chairman
BAFSA Smoke Control Association