Spec Finish

Building safety The Building Safety Act has come into effect, bringing stricter and more defined regulations for the construction industry. It aims to ensure that building fire safety is the top priority and it sets out clear responsibilities for fire risk assessment throughout the lifetime of the building. 22 www.thefis.org T HE Act introduces new design and construction requirements that apply to high-rise residential buildings, hospitals, and care homes of at least 18 metres or seven storeys. These measures ensure there are clearly identified people who are responsible for safety during the design, build, and occupation of high-rise residential buildings. It establishes a Building Safety Regulator to hold those who break the rules accountable and gives residents and users more avenues to raise concerns and be heard. Ultimately, the goal is to drive the culture change needed to ensure design and construction safety within the industry. How contractors can stay on top of fire safety challenges Andrew Gibbs, Regional Sales Manager – Fire Protection, for SIG UK, highlights the safety challenges and how engagement with the supply chain can help mitigate any setbacks. For contractors, the Bill magnifies the importance of understanding product specification requirements to achieve fire safety regulation. It also highlights the need for clear assignment of an individual accountable for ensuring safety. This positions two fundamental challenges – navigating and understanding fire product specifications, as well as having the necessary skills internally to understand fire risk assessments. The right solution for the build Anyone whomanages product specification will know that it can be daunting trying to assess and select a suitable system for the project. There aremany different manufacturer systems and solutions to choose from– but how do you knowwhich aremeeting the regulations and will work together? This is where the distributors can support and act as a third party; helping to guide and make sense of the rules, regulations and product information. SIG has a specialist teamwhose focus is on fire protection; each specialist is working towards the Institute of Fire Engineering Level 3 qualification so they understand the challenges that contractors face from an engineering standpoint. This is critical when contractors are looking for support at building design stage. It is essential to work with a team that understands fire behaviour and science to effectively implement safety solutions and manage the risks. Leveraging the supply chain SIG takes a ‘product agnostic’ approach – this means that a solution compliant to Approved Document B comes first. There is no incentive to recommend one solution over another. Working closely with contractors, distributors can act as the support to identify the challenges and how to tackle them. Through key supply chain partnerships, SIG can then call uponmanufacturers whose product solution or systemare best applied. This ensures that contractors receive themost accurate information possible to help them make the call on which solution is suitable. This comprehensive supply chain is also beneficial when it comes to product training. Withmore contractors wanting to become accredited in specific systems, distributors can make recommendations and direct installers to themost appropriate training courses. Building regulations, and in particular fire, can be difficult to stay up-to-date with. By using a partner such as SIG, contractors are better able to stay ahead of the changes and can effectively manage any gaps in skill or knowledge. (For more information on the Bill, visit https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3021 ) www.sigplc.com Mind the (knowledge) gap As drylining firms continue to expand their portfolio of services in the fire protection market, Carrie Blackshaw, who is the Fire Protection Sales Director at Minster, notes the knowledge gap that exists within the industry. Carrie notes: “The construction industry is going through a massive cultural change. In April 2022, the Government’s new Building Safety Bill became law and whilst the bulk of provisions may not fully come into effect for another 12 to 18 months, installers and drylining businesses across the UK are extending their fire protection capabilities, demonstrating their commitment to upholding greater standards of competence in the construction of safer buildings.” Post Grenfell and the subsequent Hackitt Review, fire safety systems and solutions have come under intense scrutiny. Accountability AndrewGibbs, Regional Sales Manager–FireProtectionatSIGUK IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE FIRE SAFETY FACTS SEEK ADVICE Carrie Blackshaw Fire Protection Sales Director at Minster

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