Posted on 17/11/2020 in Building & Construction 2020
Fire safety in building sustainability labels

A webinar discussed the feasibility of a fire safety rating scheme for buildings based on a safety assessment model. The event was organised by the “European Fire Safety Community”, which is an initiative of “Fire Safe Europe” (FSEU). Nearly 140 participants were online. FSEU explained that their objective is to develop a fire safety rating scheme for buildings, performance based, to provide a consumer “label”, and based on data and modelling of fire safety assessment.
Daniel Joyeux, Efectis, noted the need for more data to support fire risk assessment models, in combination with fire testing, in particular on product fire performance after ageing.
The importance of building contents contribution to fire risk was raised. Daniel Joyeux indicated that flame retardants in upholstered furniture have a strong influence on overall building fire performance, especially in homes.
Bando Benifei, Member of the European Parliament, underlined the importance of data and of balancing fire safety with chemicals use. Zeljana Zovko, Member of the European Parliament, pointed to the motion proposed by 20 MEPs proposing the creation of a European Fire Safety Day on 31st May (date of the Great Fire of Zagreb, 1731). She underlined the impacts of fire, both on people and on cultural heritage (example of the Notre Dame fire, Paris, 2019) and the need for Member States to work together on fire safety.
A session discussed fire safety in building sustainability rating schemes. Schemes such as RELi, BREEAM, LEED, DGNB and the EU reporting framework for sustainable buildings Level(s) tend to not include fire safety because it is considered to be covered by regulation. Dorin Bleu, Romania Green Buildings Council and John Fingleton, Irish Green Building Council and Cristian Maluk, University of Queensland indicated that fire safety is seen as too complex, especially with the importance of maintenance and training. They noted however that sustainability of buildings does increase fire risk (e.g. with the move to denser homes, increasing use of insulation materials) and that there is inadequate data on the environmental impacts of accidental fires.

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