Reflecting Bureau Veritas’ continued commitment to educating businesses on regulatory best practice in fire safety, the health and safety expert has announced its first ever Fire Safety Awareness Week.
The awareness week will feature daily themes – including Building Regulations and Fire Risk Assessments – with each topic having its own webinar or educational video, offering expert insight on how to remain compliant. Starting on Monday 23 November, the week will then culminate in a panel discussion with some of the business’ top specialists.
Building Regulations have seen a number of changes in 2020 with the outcomes of the Hackitt Review resulting in a new Building Safety Regulator and amendments to Approved Document B changing the the current trigger height for sprinklers in new residential flats. As such, Bureau Veritas is reminding construction firms of the importance of fire safety throughout building design, construction and operation.
Fire Risk Assessments are an essential part of any fire safety system, designed to help protect people and property. When fire breaks out, the results can be disastrous if the fire safety installation chain breaks down. However, recent figures show that 60% of local authorities delayed fire door maintenance and inspection programmes in the first half of 2020, with 53% citing COVID-19 as the reason. Despite entering a second lockdown, Bureau Veritas is encouraging organisations to understand regulations around fire risk assessments and how to remain compliant.
The awareness week will also cover topics such as Fire Science, Fire Engineering and the Building Safety Bill.
Steve Highwood, Building & Infrastructure Market Lead at Bureau Veritas, said: “Despite COVID-19 being a major focus for everyone this year, we cannot ignore the other statutory health and safety procedures that must take place, to ensure the safety of employees and visitors. Added to this, more than ever businesses are facing increased competition and pressure on their resources, and so achieving compliance and meeting best practice standards concerning fire and life safety may not always be easy. And, while fire safety should be at the forefront of many duty holders’ minds, a substantial proportion may not fully understand what their role and responsibilities truly entail.
“Our Fire Safety Awareness Week has been designed with all sectors in mind, from Building Regulations and Fire Risk Assessments, to Fire Science and Fire Engineering. The various expert webinars and educational videos on offer during this week will help local authorities, duty holders and business owners to garner a greater understanding of their responsibilities around fire and life safety, and take the necessary steps to ensure they are compliant.”
And the statistics speak for themselves, with recent figures revealing fire and rescue services attended almost 154,000 fires between March 2019 and 20201. In addition, of the 48,400 fire safety audits carried out by fire and rescue services in 2019/20, just 66% were deemed satisfactory, with houses converted to flats, licensed premises and hotels seeing the lowest proportion of satisfactory ratings.2
Steve continues: “There is no one-size-fits-all solution to fire safety management. Ultimately, duty holders or building managers must be confident that they have identified the fire precautions necessary to reduce the risks to employees so far as reasonably practicable, and that those precautions are implemented and work in practice. Key to this is a reasonable, realistic and achievable compliance strategy, which our technical specialists at Bureau Veritas can support on.”
Whatever the level of in-house expertise, Bureau Veritas offers a comprehensive range of fire and life safety consultancy services to suit all requirements. From Fire Risk Assessment services to topic-specific consultancy, the testing, inspection and certification expert offers clients the unique opportunity to select the services they require to help improve fire safety management in their buildings, whilst benefitting from the cost-efficiencies of a combined service.
The Bureau Veritas Fire Safety Awareness Week schedule is as follows:
• Monday 23 November: Building Regulations – live webinar with Andy Lowe, Director of Building Control
• Tuesday 24 November: Fire Engineering – including new a Behind the Project video
• Wednesday 25 November: Fire Risk Assessments – live webinar with Lee Perry, Business Manager – Health, Safety & Fire Consultancy
• Thursday 26 November: Fire Science – including Safety at Christmas video and a Fire Science Behind the Project
• Friday 27 November: Building Safety Bill – including Safety Regulator Golden Thread live webinar with Andy Lowe
• Live Q&A session with Bureau Veritas experts; Andy Lowe, Lee Perry, Paul Currie & John O’Sullivan (register your place and submit a question to the expert panel here)