– The Rippling Effect of the Grenfell Tower Fire Tragedy –
The 24-story Grenfell Tower fire claiming at least 80 lives, with the death toll still rising, has easily become one of UK’s biggest crisis of 2017. The engulfed high-rise building in west London, was allegedly caused by a refrigerator unit. Then uncontrollably, continued to spread up the tower by the external cladding, used to insulate the building.
The incident has not only triggered a rippling effect of frantic among the UK, but all over the world, including Australia. Sparking audits in apartment buildings across England and Australia, in all fire safety aspects. And alarmingly, a number of buildings have been identified to contain the same combustible cladding material and non-compliant fire systems.
In truth, most old buildings, like the Grenfell Tower, do not comply to the modern guidelines for fire safety systems because regulations were not as clear and well-developed as they are today. Which is why it is essential to have these buildings ordered and up to date. In saying that, old and high-rise buildings are not just the vulnerable. During Scott William’s interview with ABC News (CEO of FPAA), he cited that smaller apartment buildings are also just at a high risk of loss. Being, the law not requiring buildings less than 25 metres to have sprinkler systems or alarms monitored by fire services.
Just after the London fire, the NSW Government has released a number of new and changed reforms to improve the building certification system. Meanwhile, NSW Fair Trading has since jumped on board by proposing a legal reform against non-compliant aluminum cladding.
These will include:
This would have a vast effect on construction companies, strata and independent owners across the state. Raising concerns about whether the non-complaint material has been inappropriately installed in their building. It has been recommended that if aluminum cladding has been used in a building, the owners take decisive consideration to carry out an audit and risk assessment to identify whether it is a fire risk.
Although, FSC does not specialize in external cladding, it is just an immense reminder of the importance of precise installation and certification. Fire Safety Constructions has always believed in improving the fire safety outcomes for the community, eternally urging us to meet our primary objective – achieve compliance.
– The release of the NSW Fire Safety Reforms –
It follows after the independent review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 (Lambert Report) in September 2016. Where the report identified a number of issues within the NSW building regulation and certification system. 10 months later, the Government has released a number of reforms to strengthen and establish quality within the certification system. In particularly among the Fire Protection Industry.
The ‘Fire Safety Regulation Reform’, released early July 2017, are for both new and existing buildings. Coming into effect on 1 October 2017. From October, several requirements from the new reform will apply immediately to new developments. Including builds initiating with the FR NSW input and the stage of inspections for certifiers. However excluding, the developments that have already been approved or have been pending before the 1st October.
From the fire safety reform responses released in September, it was announced that not only will the certification systems be tightened. But only trained, qualified and accredited persons are to install, instruct and maintain passive fire safety measures. This is exactly what the Government continued to implement in the reform released in July 2017.
Other changes and regulations pressed briefly include:
As mentioned in our blog about the Lambert report posted last November, Fire Safety Constructions highly respects the reforms put forward. Leading to improved fire safety outcomes for the community.
To formally read on the Building Regulation and Certification Reforms click HERE.
– ‘Building B5 Plant Room Works’, 62-72 Queen St, Auburn 2144
The B5 Plant Room work is part of the overall fire safety upgrade works to the residential buildings A-D at 62-72 Queen St, Auburn Central 2144. The complex is within the heart of Auburn and has been appointed to Fire Safety Constructions in stages, with an expected overall fire upgrade cost of approx. $2m. To find out more about this project CLICK HERE.
The B5 plant room work is the final stage of the Building B upgrade and involves some specialised products to achieve compliance. The scope of works for this roof space requires compartmentation and fire rating of all service penetrations including PVC pipes, electrical conduits, exhaust shafts and duct work. See below photos of existing non-compliant items.
Compartmentation was achieved by a fire rated ceiling and the steel columns were encased using Trafalgar Maxilite 30 board. PVC pipe and electrical service penetrations were rectified using traditional fire rated collar/mastic solutions.
Fire rating the exhaust system and ductwork was a much greater job. There are 16 ducts that extend through the building to residential and commercial areas. The scope allowed two options – fire spray or fire wrap – to achieve FRL -/90/90. We proceeded with the wrap option, Trafalgar Firewrap and underwent training with Trafalgar’s fire engineers to ensure that installation was per manufacturers test reports and was compliant.
See the below progress and completed photos for further information.
Fire Safety Constructions are always on the look out for new fire rating products that make retrofit solutions more practical.
– Fire Safety Constructions are a STRATA SERVICES SPECIALIST company!
Fire Safety Constructions employees recently attended the Strata Services Specialist Course hosted by Strata Community Australia (SCA). This course enhances our relationship and reputation within the strata industry and provides further training to our staff to enable professional and efficient service to strata owners and strata managers.
The course formalised issues that Fire Safety Constructions have recognised in providing service to strata managers since 1999 and will allow us to continue to exceed expectations.
Throughout the course 6 main topics were covered:
This course is part of our ongoing training and commitment to constantly advancing our service and professionalism.
– The NSW Government announce changes to the Home Warranty Insurance –
In November 2016 the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, announced ramifications to insurance under the Home Warranty Insurance or the Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF).
Due to the current form being unsustainable, at a deficit value of more than $293 million, it was vital that the NSW government secured the growth of the warranty insurance scheme for the future. The boom of property development and construction work within NSW is reason in itself of the needed changes.
Even though the Government is still in the process of releasing full details on the revised reform, it was made clear that private insurance providers will be able to enter the market, as well as a renewal in 2017 of the risk based premium system.
Under the amended scheme, all residential construction work with a value of more than $20,000 and less than 3 storeys, will continue to require cover by insurance under the HBCF. Insurance is mandatory prior to commencement of work or invoicing, including deposits.
Other announced changes include:
Fire Safety Constructions supports a wider range of insurers entering the market and also a risk based premium system. As a company who has held continuous Home Warranty Insurance since 1999 and with our strong company financials this ensures owners have capable and secure contractors to choose from.
Fire Safety Constructions Inspect & Test technicians are accredited by FPA Australia!
It all comes down to that weak link that causes unthinkable circumstances. There are too many loses of life, valuables and environment which are preventable. Fire Safety Constructions believe that we can be the ones to provide an improved and safer outcome for the community. By doing what we do, FSC allows residents and the public to have that second chance in an emergency, by minimising the impact of fire.
Due to the unstructured nature of the fire protection industry, businesses and individuals needed support and direction to provide the best service. This is where the Fire Protection Association of Australia (FPA Australia) become so important. In 2013 FPA Australia established an accreditation program, to recognise the skills and insights of those who undertake fire protection work in Australia called the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS).
The scheme required those to hold applicable insurances and sign a professional code of conduct. Somewhat leading to FPA Australia’s “simple goal”, that all individuals will be trained, competent and accredited by 2020.
Fire Safety Constructions is a proud member of FPA Australia and jumped straight on board to register all individuals performing Inspect & Test work for Accreditation. This commits FSC to list all employees that engage or perform inspection and test work activities and ensuring that all listed employees gain FPAS accreditation.
On that note, Fire Safety Constructions believe that the scheme released by FPA Australia will definitely strengthen that “weak link”. Creating a more professional, reliable and honourable industry that is highly depended on by the community.
The Lambert Report
After an overdue need for change, Fire Safety Constructions applauds the NSW Government for the release of the final statutory report of the review of the Building Perfessionals Act 2005 (The Lambert Report) on 21st September 2016. The report addresses the Government’s response to 150 recommendations and the plans of action it will take to establish improvement within the building and development certification within NSW.
The Lambert Report was overseen by Michael Lambert and as part as “Strengthening Certification in NSW”. In May 2015 the Government released a discussion paper to the public, outlining the reviews purpose, background information and the protential issues. From there the major problems reducing the effectiveness of the buildings quality were identified.
Among many of the Government’s important fire safety reform responses, it was determined that it will:
In practice we expect these reforms to improve fire safety outcomes and remove untrained and unlicensed contractors who still plague the industry. Fire Safety Constructions supports industry groups to assist in implementation and improved accreditation. For example we recently gained FPAS Accreditation for our individuals performing passive fire test and inspect work.
Fire Safety Constructions are looking forward to delivering the improved regulations as it will conclusively lead to increased quality of the buildings and most importantly to us, better fire safety outcomes for the community.
For more information on the NSW Government’s review of the Building Professionals Act 2005, visit here.