The Construction Industry Council (CIC) is the representative forum for the professional bodies, research organisations and specialist business associations in the construction industry.

Landmark industry standards to address fire safety in buildings

CIC Members ACAI, APS, BIFM, CABE, CIAT, CIBSE, CIOB, IFE, LABC, NHBC, RIBA and RICS have joined more than 30 organisations from around the world to develop landmark industry standards to address fire safety in buildings in the public interest. The group, known as the International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) Coalition, was launched at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

The coalition consists of local and international professional bodies and standard-setting organisations committed to developing and supporting a shared set of standards for fire safety in buildings. The standards aim to set and reinforce the best practice professionals should adhere to ensure building safety in the event of a fire.

As the property market has become increasingly international with investments flowing across national borders, the sector still lacks a consistent set of high level global principles that will inform the design, construction, and management of buildings to address the risks associated with fire safety.

Differences in materials testing and certification, national building regulations or codes, and standards on how to manage buildings in use, particularly higher risk buildings, means there is confusion, uncertainty and risk to the public.

Gary Strong, the RICS Global Building Standards Director and Chair of the IFSS Coalition says: “The Grenfell Tower fire focused the world’s attention on how many buildings are threatened with the prospect of failing fire safety standards. All over the world we see the need for more high-rise structures, some residential, some commercial and some mixed-use buildings, particularly in cities. Our concern is not with the height of these buildings but with the risks they pose in the absence of a coherent and harmonised approach to setting global standards in fire safety. The effort by the IFSS Coalition aims to address this concern and bring together the design, construction and management aspects of ensuring fire safety of building assets in the public interest.”  

Once the high-level standards are developed, the IFSS Coalition will work with professionals around the world to deliver the standards locally. The standards will be owned by the IFSS Coalition and not by any one organisation. As it’s first order of business the IFSS Coalition will set up a Standards Setting Committee that will draw on a group of international technical fire experts to develop and write the high-level standards to ensure they are fit for purpose across global markets.