Fire Safety Seminar Exposes Industry Knowledge Gap

Fire Safety Seminar Exposes Industry Knowledge Gap

Knoweldge on fire safety brought into question at recent housebuilders’ seminar.

A survey following a series of in-depth presentations at the recent Housebuilders’ Fire Protection Seminar – hosted by leading European specialist supplier to the construction, building and industrial markets, SIG plc – has revealed that there may be a knowledge gap amongst housebuilders regarding the correct specification and installation of fire-stopping measures.

Taking place at the impressive Saddlers’ Hall in London, the event saw SIG joined by the Children’s Burns Trust, the Chief Fire Officers Association and the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP), to speak about the threat of fire in residential buildings, and what this means for housebuilders. The topics covered included fire protection best practice, looking at the consequences of non-compliance and the need to have workers correctly assessed for competency in the installation of passive fire protection elements.

Taking the stage to open the event, Paul Gordon, Managing Director of SIG Distribution asked the audience whether they believed their projects had appropriate fire-stopping, repeating the question once the event concluded.

From the beginning to the end of the seminar, the number of attendees that agreed shifted from 72% to just 40%, showing the current knowledge gap in the industry.

Speaking on the results, Mr Gordon stated: “It’s clear that there is uncertainty in the field of passive fire protection.

“By hosting this unique seminar, with experts on hand to provide insight into the issue, SIG is highlighting the steps that need to be taken by the trade and will work alongside it to make the country’s homes safer than ever.”

Nigel Gillingham, SIG National Fire Protection Manager, commented: “Every residential occupant has the right to be protected from fire, and the responsibility to deliver this protection falls to each party involved in a project, from the design stage, to the property handover, and beyond.

“The use of appropriate, fully traceable, well-tested and certified products, which have been installed by assessed and certified contractors is fundamental to delivering the correct level of protection. At SIG we have the skills and knowledge to bring these elements together, helping to deliver a truly robust fire protection package.”

Andrew Orriss, Sales Director at the SIG360 Technical Centre, which provides specialist advice on fire protection products for new build and retrofit projects, focused on the need for housebuilders to recognise the complexity of product installation.

Andrew stated: “It’s not unheard of for products which are not fit for purpose being used inappropriately, products not being installed properly or indeed both, and while this might seem to save time and money, the consequences can be dire.  This issue should never be underestimated, as builders are accountable for the building’s fire prevention strategies, and should the worst happen fines and potential prison sentences would inevitably follow.”

Speaking after the event, Hannah Mansell, Trustee of the Children’s Burns Trust said: “Passive Fire protection products play an enormously critical role in keeping our friends, families and emergency services safe.  I was honoured to be selected by SIG to present to the audience on behalf of the Children’s Burns Trust.

“The event highlighted how the design, product specification decisions and due diligence carried out by responsible companies such as SIG make the buildings where we live, sleep and visit a safer environment for our loved ones.”

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