The European Commissioner for Industry, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, made a statement on fire safety in buildings to the European Parliament on 13th September, following the Grenfell Tower fire London.
She underlined the importance of enforcement of fire safety regulations at the national, regional and local levels and that subsidiarity allows each Member State to decide to what extent flammable materials are authorised in different applications in construction, with common testing methods for products being fixed by the Construction Products Regulation. She underlined the emerging issues of smoke toxicity from construction products and fire performance of facades. Political Groups and members of the European Parliament responded in a 25 minute debate online. Many speakers underlined fire smoke toxicity, including suggesting product labelling with information about smoke emissions, and mentioning firefighter cancer risks. Many also spoke of the need for tighter regulation and better fire testing of façade materials. Speakers noted that there are 5 000 fire incidents per day in Europe, suggesting that most fire deaths are caused by smoke, that risks are accentuated by increasing use of flammable insulation materials, that fire statistics are inadequate, and that new materials which can slow fire spread and reduce smoke emissions should be investigated. The European Commission announced the launch of a “Fire Information Exchange Platform”, on 16th October in Brussels, bringing together national authorities and stakeholders to discuss fire safety practices, new products and technologies and fire engineering principles.
European Commission statement on “Fire safety in buildings” https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2014-2019/bienkowska/announcements/fire-safety-buildings_en and European Parliament debate 13th September 2017 (25 mins.) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/EN/vod.html?mode=unit&vodLanguage=EN&vodId=1505313499921#