Fire protection needs to be considered right at the beginning of the building design process, experts have said in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze.
A statement from the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) said that the Grenfell Tower fire had significance that would resound across the industry, from designers to suppliers and contractors.
“The incident highlights a number of concerns regarding fire safety in the built environment and demonstrates how vigilant we must all be when designing, supplying and installing fire protection in buildings,” it said.
“Compartmentation and structural fire protection play a vital role in protecting escape routes and slowing the spread of fire and smoke. But there can be tragic consequences which may ensue if such systems are not adequately specified, installed and maintained; or are bypassed by rapid fire spread outside the building as may have happened at Grenfell House.
“Working with stakeholders from across the entire construction industry, the ASFP has been leading an initiative to ensure that fire protection is considered throughout the life of a building from design, through construction and fit-out to the building once in occupation. The ASFP is developing an overarching Construction Strategy to encourage collaborative working across the whole design and build process to improve the quality of installed fire protection within the built environment.
“Key to this is introducing fire protection into the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Plan of Works to ensure that there is a detailed specification for fire protection in initial building designs, and throughout the construction process. This aims to ensure that fire protection measures are correctly designed, specified, installed and inspected to make buildings safer for everyone.”
The ASFP added that it “wishes to convey its sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower tragedy and to pay tribute to the bravery and professionalism of the fire service”.