Fire industry expert, Tom Brookes, appointed as new FSA chair

Tom Brookes, who is a senior figure in the fire safety industry, has been appointed as the new chair of the Fire & Security Association (FSA). Tom Brookes career history He began his career as a fire engineer in 1992. He then went on to buy Lindum Fire Services in 2002.

Brookes turned Lindum Fire Services into one of Lincolnshire s top fire detection and alarm systems firms. During his 25-year career in the industry Brookes has worked with several industry bodies. They include technical committee member at the British Standards Institute (BSI) and chairman of the British Fire Consortium. Steve Martin, head of the FSA, says: The FSA is pleased to confirm that Tom Brookes has taken over the role of chair from Pat Allen. Pat has done a fantastic job in recent years and we look forward to continued success with Tom at the helm. Moving forwards at the FSA Brookes says: I aim to utilise my 25 years experience in the fire sector to ensure that the industry drives through improvements in the safety of both residential and commercial buildings. The British government recently announced an independent review of the Building Regulations and Fire Safety , following the Grenfell Tower disaster in Kensington, London. The FSA will respond to the review on behalf of the industry, notably in respect to high-rise residential and commercial buildings. Dame Judith Hackitt will lead an independent review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety .

The Review will report jointly to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Home Secretary Amber Rudd. An interim report will be submitted in autumn 2017, followed by a final report in spring 2018. Free Download: A Technical Guide to Fire Detection and Alarm Systems Fire legislation, which is written for the purpose of life safety, requires duty holders in non-domestic premises to assess fire risks and put in place arrangements for the prevention of fire and to protect people from fire when it occurs.

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Click here to download now Related Topics Watch: The Fire & Security Association on IFSEC TV FSA to celebrate 10th anniversary with free drinks reception Trailblazer apprenticeship standard launched to plug growing skills gap in fire and security

Residential landlords still haven t learned Grenfell lessons especially in social housing, survey reveals

Fewer than one in four (23%) private landlords have been in touch with tenants to discuss fire safety measures since the Grenfell Tower fire and even fewer social landlords have done likewise. Three months on from the fire, which killed at least 80 people, only 10% of tenants in social housing say they have been contacted by the landlords about fire safety. That s one of the headline findings of a survey released to coincide with Fire Door Safety Week (25 September-1 October), and the results seem to demonstrate the need for such a campaign.

Some 39% of tenants polled said they had seen fire doors propped open and 21% had noticed damage to their building s fire doors. Forty percent of renters said there is no clear fire escape route displayed. Of the 18% that have reported a fire safety infringement or concern to their landlord, almost a quarter (24%) waited weeks for a response. It is astounding to learn that in the last three months so little has been done to address the concerns of tenants and residents. Hannah Mansell, spokesperson, Fire Door Safety Week A majority (55%) say they feel uninformed about what they should do in the event of a fire and about one in four (24%) feel more anxious about living in a rented apartment since the Grenfell Tower fire. This new research shows that landlords and building owners still have a long way to go meet their fire safety responsibilities, said Hannah Mansell, spokesperson for Fire Door Safety Week. It is astounding to learn that in the last three months so little has been done to address the concerns of tenants and residents. Misunderstood The role and importance of fire doors remains widely misunderstood, believes Mansell, who is also BWF technical manager, chair of the Passive Fire Protection Forum and a trustee of the Children s Burns Trust. Many people do not realise that the real job of a fire door is to hold back fire, smoke and toxic gases, delaying the spread around a building and keeping the vital means of escape route clear.

They only work properly if they are specified, manufactured, installed and maintained correctly and, of course, closed when a fire breaks out. This is especially important in high rise buildings, houses of multiple occupancy and other types of shared sleeping accommodation. Checking fire doors should be part of a regular fire-risk assessment. This should examine all aspects of fire safety management, including active and passive fire protection measures, signage, means of escape and the specific fire plan procedures. Mansell who has spoken to IFSEC Global more extensively about the fire safety landscape believes better education and greater transparency are essential to effect meaningful change. Crystal clarity There needs to be crystal clarity about the responsible person and a total transformation of attitude towards fire safety of tenants in rented accommodation. Our focus for Fire Door Safety Week in this pivotal year is to ensure all landlords and tenants have the knowledge and resources they need to stay safe. Dany Cotton, London Fire Commissioner, oversaw the fire and rescue service s response at Grenfell Tower. London Fire Brigade fully supports Fire Door Safety Week, she said.

This is an important campaign which drives home the potentially life-saving role that fire doors play in buildings, especially residential buildings such as tower blocks. It is extremely concerning that the lives of the public and our firefighters are still being put at risk by poorly maintained fire doors and people acting irresponsibly by removing self-closers or by keeping doors wedged open. We do what we can to advise the building owner, but it s time for the responsible person to really step up. Paul Fuller CBE, chief fire officer, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Good fire doors help stop fires from spreading. Fires that spread put more lives at risk and I would urge everyone to check that their fire doors are properly maintained and kept shut. Remember they don t just protect you, but everybody in the building. Paul Fuller CBE, chief fire officer of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and chairman of the Fire Sector Federation says: It is simple. Proper fire doors save lives, but only if they are correctly made and installed, and certainly not if they are wedged open or in disrepair. Too often our officers walk into a building and see fire doors in an appalling state.

We do what we can to advise and enforce the responsibilities of a building owner, but it is time for the responsible person to really step up. That s why we are supporting Fire Door Safety Week. There can be no excuse; all the resources you need to promote door safety are there on the website and free to download. Fire Door Safety Week is run by the BWF, the BWF-Certifire Scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme in partnership with the Government s Fire Kills campaign. On 30 August the Government issued fresh advice for tenants and residents on steps to take if they have any concerns about fire safety in their building: In the first instance, contact the landlord or building owner with any concerns. If still concerned and not receiving reassurance, then contact the relevant local authority or local fire and rescue service for advice. IFSEC Global is proud to support Fire Door Safety Week, which runs from 25 September to 1 October. You can pledge your support for the campaign here, and by tweeting under the hashtag #FireDoorSafetyWeek and sharing or using the wealth of resources found in the campaign s toolkit which includes a downloadable Responsible Person poster. The site also includes advice aimed at fire and health and safety professionals.

Related Topics A rogue s gallery of fire doors unworthy of the name (and perfectly good ones rendered useless) We re often dealing with decades of neglect : Hannah Mansell on fire doors and the post-Grenfell rush to improve fire safety Watch: The consequences of badly specified and fitted fire doors plus 5 tips for getting it right

Grenfell inquiry begins: The numbers that lay bare the funding crisis hampering high-rise improvements

The government has ordered councils to review and upgrade fire safety in social housing across England and Wales. After decades of neglect, however, the bill for remedying myriad shortcomings is astronomical and many councils are nearly technically insolvent. The public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire opens today.

It s the start of a very long process, with the interim report due to be published in Easter. The inquiry s remit encompasses the cause and spread of the fire, high-rise regulations, and the actions of the local authority, Kensington and Chelsea Council. Residents and victims will watch retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick give a 45-minute statement. The fire, which killed at least 80 people in June, has pushed the fire safety debate beyond the fire-safety sector and into the national media. Long frustrated with being stonewalled by government, suddenly leading figures in the industry were thrust in front of TV cameras. The debate focused on cladding initially but has widened to almost every aspect of fire safety. So horrendous was the Grenfell tragedy that people are finally taking fire safety seriously in a way that never happened after Lakanal. That central and local government are finally taking the issue seriously is no cause to celebrate it shouldn t have taken such loss of life to jolt people into action. And where there s a will there isn t always a way where money is involved as our infographic below shows.

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Fire safety in prisons: When theory and practice slip their handcuffs

Just weeks after the Grenfell Tower disaster in June the newly elected Kensington and Chelsea Deputy Council leader, Kim Taylor-Smith, told the BBC that despite being a member of the council s Housing Scrutiny Committee for over a year, he was unaware of residents repeated warnings about fire safety in the building. It seemed utterly unbelievable, but if my further investigations into fire safety in prisons is anything to go by, it could well have been true. The councillor said: I was on a committee that was responsible for safety, we take steps in order to ensure safety, sometimes that doesn t work the whole issue of how we scrutinised is obviously the issue we are having to look at we will have to change.

Since 1982 HM Prisons Inspectorate (HMIP) has had the task of inspecting our prisons and in 35 years they have come a long way. Most people involved in prisons today can name Peter Clarke as the current Chief Inspector of Prisons, probably Nick Hardwick before him, maybe Anne Owers, David Ramsbotham and perhaps even Stephen Tumim before that but who can name the first two Chief Inspectors of Prisons? While HMIP was slow to get off the ground it has gathered pace, focus and professionalism since its creation but it remains seriously defective in major areas. Today, when HMIP inspects prisons it does not inspect them for fire safety that is the task of the Crown Premises Fire Inspection Group, (CPFIG) a little-known statutory inspectorate sitting quietly inside the Home Office. CPFIG did not copy a single one of the 19 cases of statutory fire safety notices issued a cross a 12-month period to the Prisons Inspectorate CPFIG, unlike HMIP, does not publish a single one of its prison fire safety reports online and, despite inspecting fire safety conditions in all prison establishments, premises which are totally immune from prosecution see page 3, it is not a member of the 21-strong National Preventive Mechanism, a body owing obligations to the United Nations (led by HMIP in the UK) that exists to monitor conditions in places of detention. No doubt it was as a result of recognising this dangerous gap between HMIP and CPFIG that the last Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, now chairman of the Parole Board, in January 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two inspectorates. It set out clearly how the two inspectorates will work together and communicate with each other, so vitally important was this deemed to be that section seven of the MOU was devoted to it in detail. The MOU makes clear both HMI Prisons and CPFIG are committed to sharing information relevant to the safety of staff members or prisoners with each other. Trigger questions It accepts that both inspectorates may receive information during their own inspections which can be relevant to the statutory responsibility of the other, and they agreed a system supporting what they called the meaningful exchange of risk information to share that information and not just information but training too.

It was agreed that CPFIG would provide the Prisons Inspectorate with what it called trigger questions , which could assist HMI Prisons inspectors to identify potential fire safety concerns during their own inspections. Moreover CPFIG would provide the necessary fire-related awareness training for HMI Prisons inspectors, so they could interpret the answers to their fire-safety trigger questions so enabling them to identify matters that potentially affect the safety of prisoners and staff. HMIP agreed that if they found reason during one of its own inspections to suspect that there is unnecessary risk to people from fire within an establishment, HMIP would notify CPFIG of their concerns and in return CPFIG agreed that if it found poor management of safety or apparent concerns about the conditions for prisoners at custodial premises, they would advise HMIP of their concerns. Both accepted that the ongoing safety of persons in prisons was, said the MOU, paramount . In the year to June 2017 CPFIG conducted 19 fire safety inspections in prisons in England and Wales. My previous investigation into fire safety in prisons found that, in 100% of those inspections, CPFIG found fire safety failing so serious that they placed the lives of prisoners, staff, contractors and visitors at risk and resulted, in all 19 prisons, in the issuance of statutory Non-Compliance Notices (NCN) and, in four cases, Crown Enforcement Notices (CEN) too. These are clearly serious matters of substance, that had the MOU been followed, either in letter or even simply in spirit, would have immediately resulted in CPFIG informing HMIP of each of these failures right? Wrong. A Freedom of Information Act response from CPFIG, dated 4 September 2017, reveals that CPFIG did not copy a single one of the 19 cases of statutory fire safety notices issued across a 12-month period to the Prisons Inspectorate.

The MOU failure to comply with the MOU started just months after it was signed. CPFIG found fire safety failings so serious they served the prison with an NCN, giving it just 28 days to correct numerous fire safety defects What is equally worrying is that no-one in the Prisons Inspectorate ever asked questions either. The right hand of the Prisons Inspectorate was blind to what the left hand across at CPFIG was doing despite their written agreement underpinned by their dual belief that safety was paramount . In the middle of this ignorance were the lives and safety of tens of thousands of people living, working and visiting these 19 prison establishments amid dangers to which the Prisons Inspectorate, like the Housing Scrutiny Committee that covered Grenfell Tower, were completely oblivious. This failure to communicate resulted in the ludicrous situation in July this year when the Prisons Inspectorate published an inspection report of HM Prison Coldingley in which it concluded that, when judged against the Healthy Prisons Safety test, Coldingley was a reasonably safe prison little knowing that it was anything but safe. And they ought to have known CPFIG certainly did. Serious defects Just 26 days after Peter Clarke marched his Prison Inspectorate team out of HMP Coldingley, on 3 March 2017 convinced it was safe, CPFIG came knocking on the Coldingley Gate and found fire safety failings so serious they served the prison with an NCN giving it just 28 days to correct the numerous fire safety defects it found. Serious defects that included: The procedure is not always followed for removing cigarette lighters and matches from prisoners in Segregation who appear to be at increased risk of self-harming through fire. Normal and/or emergency lighting doesn t provide sufficient illumination to implement the Cell Fire Response plan including the removal of a prisoner from the cell.

The measures to reduce the spread of fire and smoke were inadequate. There was insufficient evidence available to demonstrate the effectiveness of the smoke control arrangements for E wing after it was confirmed to have extraction only. The generic cell fire response plan was not suitable for the circumstances in which prisoners are not locked in their cells. The training package delivered to staff does not provide sufficient practical instruction on the use of Inundation equipment. An insufficient number of prison staff members working in residential wings were in date with their training in Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) wearing. The number of trained prison response staff members available was not always sufficient to implement the cell fire response plan effectively. The fire safety measures were not always being tested and maintained in good condition and effective working order. It is clear now that CPFIG never copied HMIP into any of these fire safety defects nor into any of the other 19 fire safety NCN and CEN s it served in the year to June 2017 either. But why didn t the CPFIG training of HMIP Inspectors in fire safety, provided for in the MOU signed 14 months before the Coldingley inspection, allow HMIP inspectors to pick up on the serious fire safety defects at Coldingley themselves?

Sources tell me it is because no such fire awareness training by CPFIG of HMIP has ever taken place. The combined failure to train, and communicate the vital fire safety failings CPFIG found at Coldingley, allowed HMIP to publish, in July 2017, a wholly misleading report declaring HMP Coldingley to be safe, when CPFIG knew it was anything but safe. What is the point of having a MOU if neither side takes a blind bit of notice about its terms? Didn t anyone in the Prisons Inspectorate even think to ask, after a year of silence, why they had neither been trained nor advised of any fire safety concerns, as the MOU provides for, by their CPFIG partners over at the Home Office? Did no one at CPFIG pick up on the fact that by failing to train HMIP inspectors, and to disclose any of these 19 prison fire safety notices to the Prisons Inspectorate, they were consistently breaching the terms of the MOU? And if not, why not? These are serious issues, they are not some minor technical defect, but real life and death safety issues where, either through incompetence or complicity, the two organisations are not speaking to each other as they have both specifically agreed to do in a jointly signed document. This month, September 2017, HMIP published a new edition of its Expectations document, going forward it is the document on which future prison inspections will be grounded. HMIP make clear on page six of this document that they employ a clear and coordinated whole-prison approach that ensures prisoners feel and are safe but that simply is not true.

HMIP, despite the contents of its MOU with CPFIG, routinely ignores fire safety. This has to stop. Systematic failure The Prisons Inspectorate exist to inspect prisons that means all four corners of it and everything within it. Inspecting a prison isn t an al a carte menu where they can decide what parts of the prison they want to inspect, such as food or cleanliness, but ignore vitally important other areas such as fire safety. The systemic failure of the MOU between HMIP and CPFIG reveals that a new system of working is urgently required if lives are not to be lost. There were 2,580 fires in our prisons last year, that s almost 50 blazes a week. Our prisons detain people with serious mental health issues, those who self-harm by starting fires, as well as those convicted of arson; the dangerous risk factors are as clear as they are gross. Yet those with specific statutory responsibilities for them and who have agreed to work together are ignoring them. We need a Prisons Inspectorate that shoulders the full burden of responsibility for the entirety of prison inspections, not one where when it comes to fire safety it can conveniently slope that shoulder in the direction of CPFIG, claiming fire safety in prisons is their bag.

Prison Inspections is HMIP s bag and the sooner they realise it the better. What we need is an urgent inquiry by the Justice Committee in Parliament into the whole subject of prison inspections. One that demands answers as to: Why so many HMIP recommendations are routinely ignored year after year in today s report on Bullingdon Prison, 70% of recommendations made two years ago have still not been implemented? Why HMIP never concern themselves with fire safety? Why HMIP never ask CPFIG why they have not had the training the MOU provides for? Why CPFIG do not tell them of fire safety notices served on prisons and why they never ask? The lives of 86,000 prisoners, 32,000 staff and hundreds of thousands of visitors each year are being put at risk because HMIP are just not fit for purpose.

I want to hear Peter Clarke, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, repeat the words of Kim Taylor-Smith: We will have to change or are we to sit back and allow Grenfell Tower to become the lesson we all tragically failed to heed?

Our 10-day campaign for a stronger, faster response to the lessons of Grenfell

#EUCanBeFireSafe Since the Grenfell Fire tragedy in London on 14 June, the European Commission has not shown any sign of accelerating specific policies that are crucial to making Europe s buildings safer in a fire. Fire Safe Europe is rolling out activities over the next 10 days to get MEPs to call on the European Commission to take action. These actions will culminate in a debate on fire safety in buildings at the European Parliament plenary session on Wednesday 13 September.

Contact us and follow Fire Safe Europe s Twitter feed for more information. Campaign activities A petition has been launched to improve Fire Safety in Buildings. This will be presented to MEPs prior to the 13 September plenary debate. On 6 September firefighters will come to Brussels and speak to MEPs between 12am-3pm at the Esplanade in front of the European Parliament in Brussels. You are invited to come and speak to the firefighters. Photos and information will be published on Fire Safe Europe s Twitter feed. On 7pm on 12 September, a candlelight vigil in the memory of fire victims will be held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Fire affects communities deeply. Lives are lost, people are injured; jobs, businesses, firefighters and the environment are affected.

We believe it is important to take the time to reflect and pay homage to fire victims. On 13 September between 3-4pm (TBC), the European Parliament meets to debate fire safety in buildings. It is a fundamental duty of members of theEuropean Parliament to enable people to be safe in their homes. We want MEPs to make a difference by requesting rapid action on key policies that impact fire safety. You can follow the live debate here.

Help us lobby the EU to make our buildings safer: Fire Safe Europe

Fire Safe Europe is urging people to sign a petition imploring the EU to take concerted action to remedy shortcomings in building regulations, their enforcement and fire safety practices. Why is this important? Fire kills 11 people every day in the European Union (EU).

Apart from major tragedies, like the Grenfell Tower fire in London, we don t often hear about them. Yet there are 5,000 fire incidents each day in the EU, and they affect communities deeply. Lives are lost, people are injured, jobs, businesses, firefighters, and the environment are affected. We assume that new buildings are more fire safe, but they are increasingly highly insulated and airtight, with more combustibles, which makes fires grow faster than ever before and become more hazardous. Whereas in the 1950s, it took about 25 minutes for a room to be engulfed in flames, now it takes 3-5 minutes. Fires affect EU citizens, and you have an opportunity now to ask the EU to improve fire safety in buildings. Why do we need to act now? After the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the European Parliament has taken the initiative to start a debate on fire safety in buildings. This debate will happen on Wednesday 13 September 2017: This is your chance to ask for fire safety in buildings to be improved.

Sign today , and help us make our buildings safer for all. A little more information We are Fire Safe Europe, a European alliance which aims to raise the profile of fire safety in buildings and we are asking the European Institutions to: Make changes to ensure that tests to evaluate the performance of facades in a fire are based on real life situations where fires can be large scale. Introduce requirements to test the toxic smoke from construction products, and to label those products with their results so that builders and consumers can make informed choices. Develop a European Fire Safety Strategy: Many EU policies impact fire safety, a focussed strategy would enable the EU to have a coordinated approach to fire safety in buildings. Building fires affect people: there are at least 5,000 fire incidents each day in the EU. Each year in Europe, approximately 70,000 people are admitted to hospitals with severe fire related injuries. Worldwide, children make up 30% of injuries and fatalities caused by fire. Firefighters are especially heavily impacted. Building fires affect the environment: Fires cause massive amounts of air pollution.

They deplete materials and increase carbon emissions, a major challenge for sustainable resource management. Building fires have a cost: ‘ 126 billion is eaten up by fire damage each year. For European countries, it is 1% of their GDP. Fire can lead to major infrastructure, data and stock loss, less productivity, staff unemployment, and even bankruptcy. About Fire Safe Europe Fire Safe Europe (FSEU) is a broad and unique cross-sectorial alliance of fire experts, fire fighters, European associations, and international companies, including construction manufacturers and material suppliers of insulation, cable, concrete, ceiling, and fire protection equipment. FSEU s mission is to improve fire safety in buildings for European citizens. Free Download: The key to mitigating cybersecurity risks Exploiting IoT technology without creating cybersecurity vulnerabilities is one of the defining challenges in today s security landscape.

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Faulty white goods will lead to fatalities unless government acts on LFB recommendations, letter signed by London Mayor warns

Fire safety news Faulty white goods will cause more fire-related deaths unless ministers act on recommendations made by the London Fire Brigade (LFB), according to a letter signed by the London Mayor and several safety organisations. Sent to Theresa May, the letter raises concerns about the flammable plastic backing that is still often attached to many fridges and freezers when sold to consumers. Product recalls are also ineffective, it says, because many people continue to use them.

The letter also refers to a tower block fire traced to a faulty Indesit dryer that took place a year ago in west London. The incident, which resulted in no injuries but took 120 firefighters to extinguish, prompted the LFB to issue a series of safety recommendations. A year later and none of the recommendations have been acted on, the letter says. The government is due to respond to the recommendations later this year. Very little protection The letter says: A year on, people across the UK are still using white goods that pose a serious fire risk and are subject to recall or corrective action. Worse still, some fridges and freezers are still being produced with a flammable plastic backing, which offers very little protection against the insulation foam inside catching alight if a fire starts. In March 2016, we reported that faulty tumble dryers that were deemed a fire risk could be in use for another nine months after Whirlpool said some repairs might have to wait until January 2017. Whirpool risked further anger by advising consumers that they could continue to use the machines so long as they cleaned the lint filter after every cycle and didn t leave dryers unattended during operation. Three UK fires a day involve tumble dryers 2,170 since 2010 and the Grenfell Tower blaze was traced to a faulty fridge.

LFB has urged the government to create a single register of product recalls and publish it on its website. It also wants risk assessments including sleeping risk published when a fault is identified. The letter was signed by London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the Fire Brigades Union, the National Fire Chiefs Council and the charity Electrical Safety First. A father died having saved his children from a fire caused by a faulty fridge-freezer made by Beko in November 2010. Santosh Benjamin-Muthiah was overcome by smoke at his home in Wealdstone, north London after helping his two daughters aged three and three months escape through a window. However, the recommendations to improve product recalls made by the coroner at the inquest have resulted in no substantial changes , according to the fire service. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: The terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower in June is a stark reminder of just how devastating a fire caused by faulty white goods can be.

However, Consumer Minister Margot James said the government already has a robust system to inform people of faulty goods.

Our one-stop shop Product Recall website makes it clear to the public which white goods are safe to use at home and we are considering the framework for a national body to support consumers on product safety, she added.

Cash-strapped local councils balk at multimillion-pound fire-safety upgrades as government rules out additional funding

Grenfell fallout The Local Government Association has said that local councils cannot afford the substantial fire-safety upgrades to social housing recommended in the wake of the Grenfell fire. With some local authorities at risk of technical insolvency following swingeing budget cuts, they have now been instructed by the government to implement multimillion-pound changes. Communities secretary Sajid Javid has told councils that the government will provide no extra funding for expensive measures such as the installation of sprinklers and replacement of unsafe cladding and insulation on tower blocks.

The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, told the Economist in January that even if he closed all 19 libraries and nine sports centres in the city, abandoned maintenance of of its 140 parks, halted all road repairs and street cleaning and switched off 50,000 streetlights, he would be still 22 short of the savings imposed by budget cuts planned by 2020. It is also clear that councils cannot afford to carry out this work. Local Government Association The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) reportedly sent a letter to local authorities in July saying that our expectation is that, as a building owner responsible for your tenants, you will fund measures designed to make a building fire safe, and will draw on your existing resources to do so.

30m per council A source has told the Financial Times that the bills could run into tens of millions. Some councils have estimated the costs to total an average of around 30m per council. The Local Government Association, which represents more than 400 English and Welsh local authorities, has issued a statement saying: It is clear that the current building regulation system has failed. It is also clear that councils cannot afford to carry out this work. Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA s safer and stronger communities board, said the government should meet meet the exceptional cost to councils of removing and replacing cladding and insulation on high-rise blocks. With the government under fire for neglecting fire safety including how housing ministers sat on a report urging action over high-rise blocks Javid sought to place much of the blame squarely at the feet of local authorities in a speech on 4 July. Speaking to survivors, people in the local community, and people in tower blocks around the country, one thing is abundantly clear local government is facing a looming crisis of trust, he said.

The DCLG has said: We ve been clear with councils and housing associations that we expect them to do whatever local fire services and experts say is necessary to make residential buildings safe.

We will ensure that where local fire services have advised works are essential to ensure the fire safety of a building, current restrictions on the use of financial resources will not prevent them going ahead.

Dates announced for tall building fire safety events

FIRE EVENT The recent fires in Grenfell Tower (London) and The Torch (Dubai) have highlighted the need for improvements in tall building design, construction, management and firefighting. The Tall Building Fire Safety Network, which offers regular courses and conferences on tall building fire safety management in locations around the world, has announced a full schedule of events for 2017/18. The 5th International Tall Building Fire Safety Conference will take place between 19 21 June 2018 at Excel London alongside the FIREX International exhibition.

Day one will consider design and fire engineering in tall buildings, including fire testing of cladding systems; day two, management and insurance of fire risk in tall buildings, including construction and refurbishment; while the last day will consider firefighting in tall buildings. This will be followed on 22 June by a Tall Building Firefighting Summit . The objective of this Summit is to bring together fire chiefs and firefighters from around the world to discuss and challenge the current state of the art with regard to tall building firefighting. The event will be free to serving firefighters and seek to develop the next generation of firefighting procedures for tall buildings. Meanwhile, the next Institution of Fire Engineers Recognised Tall Building Fire Safety Management Course will take place at The Shard, London, UK between 11-15 Dec 2017. Other dates in the UK: 15-19 January 2018, Birmingham 19-23 February 2018, London 19-23 March 2018, Manchester 21-25 May 2018, London And in Australia: 9-13 October 2017, Perth 16-20 October 2017, Melbourne 23-27 October 2017, Sydney The Tall Building Fire Safety Management Training Course is packed with useful tools and techniques for those tasked with management. Training will address the issues raised by the Grenfell Tower fire. Instructors on the course are experts in their field and come with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Delivered over five days in existing Tall Buildings, the course covers a wide syllabus of relevant topics and case studies including: Prevention, including; case studies, fire risk assessment, management systems Detection and Alarm, cause and effect, maintenance, degraded systems, false alarms Escape, evacuation strategies, lifts, disabled escape, wayfinding, car parks Containment, passive barriers, steel protection, sprinklers, construction work Firefighting, fire statistics, fire growth, firefighting techniques, wind driven fires The course is ideal for anyone who has a responsibility for managing fire safety in a tall building, including high rise residential, hotels, business and office blocks and mixed use.

For further information on the courses or to book, please email Russ Timpson: [email protected]

Architect says sprinkler installation at Glasgow Hospital was used as an excuse to flout other buildings standards

Cost-cutting Credit: George Allison under CC BY-SA 4.0 An architect who helped design Scotland s largest hospital has warned that corners were cut in the construction of the 14-storey complex in the name of keeping down costs. Robert Menzies, now retired from his role at BMJ Architects, believes the installation of a sprinkler system in Glasgow s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital has been used as an excuse for flouting other building standards. He says the complex, which includes a children s hospital, adult hospital and laboratory, lacks exit stairways and exceeds size limits on fire compartments, while a hose-reel for firefighters is too short and some fire doors open in the wrong direction.

Insulation panels used in Grenfell tower are also fitted to the hospital, although the health board has insisted they are safe. Menzies drew up the hospital s exemplar design which sets criteria that firms bidding for construction projects must meet as senior healthcare architect at BMJ. He says the construction contract was given to London-based Brookfield Multiplex in defiance of architects recommendations that a bid from Balfour Beatty be accepted on the basis of cost , he suspects. They ve then made the stairs the minimum width possible. Surely you d want to make them wider to compensate for not having enough stairways in the first place? Robert Menzies, BMJ Architect We thought we would provide a monitoring role right through to completion of the actual build, in terms of where this is compliant and where it s not, so we were surprised to be told we were no longer required, Menzies told the Glasgow Evening Times. I had read the winning bidder s fire strategy and it concerned me a lot. It was almost like they the health board didn t want us around asking questions. It was very odd.

Lack of stairways On the lack of stairways he said: They are supposed to provide three stairways minimum as an emergency escape route if there are more than 100 people per storey. In the adult tower, there are 112 patients per floor but only two stairways. They are only slightly over, but that s just the patients there are also staff and visitors. They ve then made the stairs the minimum width possible. Surely you d want to make them wider to compensate for not having enough stairways in the first place? At least one fire compartment was too big in the original designs, says Menzies at least for the limit prescribed in Scotland, set at 1500sq, whereas it did meet the 2,000sq metre limit set in England. Pointing to the high failure rate of sprinklers in US hospitals 20% of which have had fires where sprinklers failed Menzies told the Glasgow Evening Times that an over-reliance on sprinklers was foolish. If you re putting sprinklers in and you re saying a fire will never occur as a consequence, then why do you need escape stairs? Why do you need anything?

But what happens when the sprinkler system fails? They re not 100%. A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde did not dispute the veracity of Menzies claims, but pointed out that all buildings in the hospital complex were certified as compliant with Scottish fire safety and building standards by Glasgow City Council in 2015. Health Facilities Scotland also endorsed the hospital s fire strategy, he said. He said: It is important that everyone working in and coming to these world class facilities for healthcare know that we take fire safety extremely seriously and that there are heat/smoke detection and early warning fire alarm systems combined with automatic fire suppression sprinkler systems fitted in all areas. The hospitals are further protected by designated fire-fighting and fire evacuation lifts, as well as multiple fire escape stairwells. A spokeswoman for Brookfield Multiplex said: The final design met all the requirements of the building regulations and was signed off progressively through construction by Glasgow City Council s building control office.

Construction consultancy firm Currie & Brown has been appointed to verify the hospitals construction and certification process following the Grenfell blaze.