European Association for Passive Fire Protection (EAPFP) representatives from across Europe met in Oslo, Norway on 7-8 July 2016 to discuss issues of common interest and concern. Discussions during the meeting focused on improving installer competency and tackling the misuse of fire safety engineering to reduce levels of fire protection, particularly passive fire protection.
A proposal to develop a strategy for promoting European Union (EU) standards outside of the EU was also considered. This was seen as vital for developing European trade and in protecting existing markets and quality from increased competition, particularly from the US.
Members expressed concern that in some parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, Member State national standards were often cited in building codes and elsewhere. However, in the drive to support directives and regulations such as the Construction Products Regulation, Member States have suspended further development of their own national standards in the expectation that they will be withdrawn and replaced by an EN standard. This is leaving many countries outside of the EU without support and leading to an increased take up of US standards and codes.
There were also concerns regarding the growing influence of foreign interests, such as ISO and ASTM, over standards used in the EU. The EAPFP is calling for European politicians to take a more active role to protect EU citizens and businesses from these interests and maintain the safety levels achieved in Europe.
Commenting on the meeting, EAPFP President Joric Witlox declared:
“Discussions from our meetings have helped us to identify several key areas of concern across Europe and the EAPFP is putting together an action plan to address these issues.
“The Association is continuing its campaign to raise standards in fire safety engineering across Europe, amid concerns that the discipline is often used by some engineers to reduce levels of protection rather than ensure adequate fire safety for buildings. We will also continue to promote initiatives which aim to improve installation standards and the competence of installers across Europe.
“The EAPFP also intends to approach relevant stakeholders, including CEN and national standards organisations, to develop a strategy to promote EU standards and ensure adequate support for those countries that currently use existing Member State national standards.
“By identifying issues of interest and concern affecting its members throughout Europe, the EAPFP acts as the European voice for passive fire protection. EAPFP members are national associations representing manufacturers, contractors and other institutions involved in passive fire protection. They meet twice each year to discuss issues affecting the European fire industry.
“The Association welcomes new members and would like to hear from other associations who are keen to improve fire safety within their own countries and across Europe.”