CIC Blog: buildingsafety
Allan K Hurdle
Owner and CEO, AKH Services Ltd
Consultant, Smoke Control Association
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the points raised under the Dame Judith Hackitt review covering compliance and competence with independently tested products, the IFC scheme was developed with the Smoke Control Association (SCA). Developed to raise the importance of smoke control and the use of the EN/BSI and ISO standards, utilizing SCA guides for fire safety in buildings alongside that of sprinklers. The IFC SDI 19 scheme is the first smoke control scheme accredited to UKAS.
The SCA took it upon itself to review its own association’s structure, to be proactive in identifying competence and compliance, and to develop a scheme that design and install members would follow.
Recognising the industry’s shortfalls, the SCA is working hard to raise standards and improve levels of competency. The IFC together with the SCA came up with a scheme to raise the bar for its organisation and members.
It is apparent that smoke control and clearance within a building is as important as dampening down a fire by means of sprinklers. It should be part of the lifesaving package of systems for residents and the fire service.
All SCA members understand and work to standards applicable to their areas of expertise.
These areas cover system design, product manufacture, product testing, installation procedures and system sign off, with a Declaration of Performance (DoP) supported by all relevant certificates of conformance.
Following the Dame Judith Hackitt report and recommendations, competence and compliance is the bedrock of any SCA fire engineered systen and is the back bone of the IFC Scheme for SCA members involved in smoke control system installation.
There are now 39 companies signed up to the scheme with more applying.
The IFC SDI 19 certification scheme was developed with smoke control in mind and now designers and installers, who are members of the SCA and install smoke control systems, are required to apply for and receive accreditation to the scheme as a condition of membership.
Failure to register means members will not be allowed to continue with their membership.
Companies choosing smoke control designers and installers should feel confident in these companies who are registered with a recognized competence and compliant scheme.
The term installation within the SCA is deemed to include the fire engineered strategy with system sign off of the design process, which is signed off as work proceeds.
A well-designed smoke control system can save lives, help protect property and reduce insurance costs.
With the Coronavirus pandemic that has created the building industry lock down, it is more important than ever that there is not another “race to the bottom” on price, with non-compliant smoke control products being fitted by non-competent installers. Too many times have we seen the commercial needs of a business outweighing building safety.
SCA membership gives confidence to building owners in the right design, with the right independently tested products, correctly installed and signed off in line with the IFC certification process.
The SCA is now carrying out a series of free webinars for consultants, contractors and installers on the IFC scheme. If you are interested in attending one of the events then please contact the SCA.
Please visit www.smokecontrol.org.uk for more detail on dates and times.