Fatal house and apartment fires could happen anywhere in Europe, and elsewhere, at any time because of poor design and construction standards along with a lack of stringent, independent enforcement of building codes and regulations, according to leading fire expert, Mr. CJ Walsh of FireOx International.
Quoting innovative 2012 fire research testing carried out in the U.S.A. he stated: “the modern home – highly insulated, packed with electronic equipment and wiring, and fast-burning synthetic furnishings, etc – is the ‘perfect storm’ of fire conditions and outcomes. More open residential design + increased fuel loads + new construction systems and materials = faster development of fires, much reduced times to flashover, far less time for evacuation of occupants, and shorter building collapse times.”
“If you want proof”, he said, “just look at that 2015 fire in an Irish terrace of houses, where fire spread dramatically and very rapidly. And the fire would have kept spreading, without that physical separation between the two terraces. It simply should not have happened that way”, said Mr. Walsh who is organizing a major international conference on Sustainable Fire Engineering in Dublin later this year.
“There needs to be an urgent and radical rethink of how we design and construct residential buildings, in particular, because of the potential serious risk to life. When we give legal form to codes and regulations with the objective of protecting society, we must ensure that they are independently and stringently enforced by local Authorities Having Jurisdiction. Self-regulation is no regulation”, he stated.
Mr Walsh, a Registered Architect, Fire Engineer and Technical Controller, said that related issues such as the super insulation and airtightness of Passive/Zero Carbon/Green Houses, and the installation of renewable energy sources, e.g. photovoltaic panels, are actually contributing to a much greater level of fire risk.
“Is sufficient consideration being given to fire safety in these cases, and in many other so-called Sustainable Buildings, or is fire safety being intentionally ignored,” he asked continuing: “and in fire incidents which have actually occurred in these buildings types, frontline firefighters have faced unexpected and complex life-threatening challenges.”
Over 300 Delegates from around the world are expected to attend the 2016 Sustainable Fire Engineering Conference which will take place in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin, from 28-30 September 2016.
The Central Theme of this Benchmark Conference – co-hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University and FireOx International – will be how to marry the demands of sustainable building design, construction and operation with a transformed fire engineering which is fit for purpose in today’s world … fire engineering which can respond, creatively and ethically, to current and reasonably foreseen threats, such as the recent Hive Attacks in Brussels, and rapidly changing social and economic needs.
“Unfortunately, a fundamental conflict exists between Sustainable Building Design Strategies and the fire safety approaches adopted in conventional fire engineering”, explained conference organizer Mr. Walsh. He added: “A wide chasm separates the language and understanding of these two very different design disciplines. As a result, the performance of sustainable buildings can be seriously compromised. If, on the other hand, stringent independent technical control is absent on site, it is the building’s fire safety which will suffer.”
Mr Walsh stated: “If Architects are not aware of these issues, either they are working on Utopian Projects not intended for construction, or the fire safety of occupants and firefighters in their real buildings is at serious risk.”
Conference Delegates will hear from an international panel of expert speakers on the subjects of:
• Sustainable Fire Engineering: Design, Construction & Operation of Buildings
• Firefighting in Sustainable (Green, +Energy, Smart) Buildings
• Fire Incident Human Behaviour, Abilities and Perception
• Intelligent Passive & Active Fire Protection Measures
This Benchmark Sustainability & Fire Engineering Conference is co-hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University and FireOx International … and is an Approved Regional Sustainable Built Environment Event in the SBE 2016-17 Cycle supported by UNEP’s Sustainable Buildings & Climate Initiative; CIB (International Council for Research & Innovation in Building & Construction); iiSBE (International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment); and FIDIC (International Federation of Consulting Engineers) … which will culminate in the World SBE Congress to be held in Hong Kong, Peoples Republic of China, during July 2017.
Explore Links and Reference Documents on the practical issues involved in Sustainable Fire Engineering at: www.sustainable-firengineering.ie/links
Survey the wide range of Conference Topics to be discussed during SFE 2016 at: www.sustainable-firengineering.ie/sfe
SUSTAINABLE FIRE ENGINEERING
The Aim of Sustainable Fire Engineering is to dramatically reduce all direct and indirect fire losses in the Human Environment (including the social, built, economic, virtual, and institutional environments) … and to protect the Natural Environment.
Towards Zero Preventable Fires in the Built Environment !
In essence … Sustainable Fire Engineering heavily front-loads fire prevention and fire protection measures in the built environment … above and beyond the minimal and very limited fire safety objectives mandated in current building codes/regulations and standards.
SFE’s Key Concepts are … Reality – Reliability – Redundancy – Resilience !
SFE Design Solutions are …
• Adapted to local geography, climate variability and extremes, social need, economy, and culture
SFE 2016 DUBLIN OBJECTIVES
1. To initiate discussion and foster mutual understanding between the International Sustainable Development / Climate Change / Urban Resilience Communities and the International Fire Science & Engineering Community.
2. To bring together today’s disparate Sectors within the International Fire Science and Engineering Community … to encourage better communication between each, and trans-disciplinary collaboration between all.
3. To transform Conventional Fire Engineering into an ethical and fully professional Sustainable Design Discipline which is fit for purpose in the 21st Century … meaning that fire engineers can participate actively in a sustainable design process, and can respond creatively with sustainable fire engineering design solutions which result in Effective Fire Safety for All in Sustainable/Green/+Energy/Smart Buildings.
4. To launch a CIB W14 Research Working Group VI Reflection Document: ‘Sustainable Fire Engineering Design & Construction’ … which will establish a framework for discussion on the future development of this innovative and exciting design discipline.