Interim Advisory Group Meeting-20220509
GEORGE says that one of the Bim4housing members had removed fire extinguishers from common areas because they were concerned that the tenants might use them to fight the fires rather than concentrate on escaping.
STEVE ALDRIDGE, a fire risk assessor, gives his opinion about this matter: he deals more with commercial than domestic and works a lot with primary fire authorities (for commercial) with consistent rules across the UK. He doesn’t know of any primary authority within housing, which is needed. Currently, it’s variable from region to region.
PATRICK FLYNN of Network Homes: ‘we have already removed extinguishers from the majority of our stock…unless there are staff on site that are trained to use them.’ It was Patrick who first brought up the matter of the fire extinguishers.
CALUM KERR says that on his projects he would always take into account the insurer’s view which has an impact on the premiums and the cost. After Grenfell there was a big focus on fire safety and we’ve had specific audits by the insurers just on fire safety. The insurers perspective on whether to have or not have fire extinguishers is not totally clear. It’s project by project dependent, and somethings they try to impose on us almost makes projects uninsurable.
GEORGE says there should be a national strategy for this. BRETT HIBBITT disagrees, saying it should be based on advice from the fire risk assessor and there should not be a blanket approach. STEVE ALDRIDGE says how good or bad fire risk assessors are is variable. Consequently, he thinks they would benefit from guidance (note, not legislation). A client asks him ‘tell me what i need to do’ and this is difficult if there are no general standard operational procedures for things like fire extinguishers - what is the fire body’s view? PATRICK FLYNN says the challenge with housing is that you need to be associated with a particular local primary authority (there is not a common one). Advice may not be aligned between different authorities.
STEVE WYPER has taken out some fire extinguishers (mainly because they were propping fire doors open). Im mixed/residential there are extinguishers in the commercial parts (as designated by the fire risk assessor). He thinks maybe PAS 79 leads to a common approach to assess risk. STEVE ALDRIDGE thinks he’s right and that PAS 79 is great, but sometimes there will be ‘not applicable’ written in some of the fields (when actually it may be applicable). With software we’re making now it’s mandatory that if ‘not applicable’ is written there has to be an explanation as to why.
RICHARD talks about the 5 roundtables at DCW…this meeting is a practice run-through.
GEORGE (showing a document on screen) talks about the scenario for the roundtables, the risk of spread of smoke and how it can be mitigated (by compartmentation, detection and smoke extraction). All parties will need information specific to their needs. Advisory does not have its own table (due to the allocation of only 5 tables) but it goes across all the key stakeholder groups. Anyone (in the group) who is attending is welcome to join the tables.
GEORGE says they’ll run 2 scenarios 1) on the basis of everything working as expected and that methods of mitigation work when called upon. What information do we need to know about each of those elements that will prevent the spread of smoke? What information do duty holders need to provide for tenants and emergency services? What format should it be in? How should it be provided. recorded and audited? The plan is to have a 15 minute discussion around these points followed by a wrap-up 5 minutes. Each of the tables will then come up with the top 5 things they consider important to them in terms of answering those questions.
Scenario 2) one of the measures fails and smoke spreads. e.g. the fire compartments breach and therefore there is a reliance on the smoke detection system and the AOV to kick in. We want to discuss the sort of things that people might do to a e.g. fire door that will prevent it from working properly.
JAREK WITYK wonders what is the method of presentation (maybe some visual elements?) that will help to have the discussion? He says how he can’t relate to the PAS 1192 framework panel. He thinks if it’s possible to have an image or elevation creating a volume strategy of all the parts it could show below the ceiling level the fire smoke detector, exit signs etc, above you could show the volumes for individual systems and then talk about it. GEORGE thinks this is a great idea.
GEORGE shows on screen a document about fire fighting lobbies/ fire scenario. JAREK thinks it looks good, but he’d like to add to it an elevation of a door and also a door (using BIM360 for collaboration) and people could make comments and share it with interested parties. He says you need to think about the services passing above the door. JAREK will send something (his own diagram???) through tomorrow.
GEORGE shows on screen Paul Mcsolley’s document which focuses on fire fighting shafts. He talks about how different roles will require different knowledge (to do their work).
MATT TAYLOR, expert in dry lining, resopnds to George’s question ‘what information is needed to demonstrate that the job has been done properly?’: There are co-ordination issues, requirements for re-working which lead to defects. He gives an example of a frame coming in that wasn’t the same width as the wall and consequently a piece of stud was exposed and therefore was not achieving the fire performance it should have done. So, there needs to be more coordination between the dry lining package and other trade packages.
GEORGE says there is a common theme that the manufactured products that are going to be installed need to be determined before design is completed. MATT TAYLOR adds that it needs to be ensured that products are suitable to work together. STEVE WYPER says that, from a maintenance point of view it’s often the case that they order stuff to replace something and if it’s not available they are sent an apparently correct item which is not correct.
PAUL WHITE shows a photo on screen which relates to what Jarek described. Beneath the photograph is a fire door and they have battered through the top, there’s not enough space to put the services. JAREK says photos like this are helpful for him.
DEBBIE writes this via chat:
when considering performance we need to consider inter-relationships.
- Task or work performance
- Qualification/Certification for performance
- Agent of performance
- Performance in project
- Procedure in performance
- Instrument in performance
- Product in performance
- Deliverable of performance
- Past or planned performance
She explains that the specifics of ‘performance’ has to be clarified, there are many different facets of performance. It may change and help and organise what data sets, what roles and actors and decisions are made.
GEORGE says, regarding the digital record, it’s really relevant who did the work? what’s their evidence of competency? is there a schedule of the tasks? MATT agrees. GEORGE says there is a range of different methods that are essentially just providing a QR code/reference code to go back to some data. This group needs to contribute to what particular data that is.
DEBBIE says that the draft report from working group 2 on installers deals with a lot of this, but its light on compartmentation and light on behaviours and informations - she may do a draft response to it. She thinks they need to comment on it.
Jarek, Dave, Paul and (possibly) Matt will be attending DCW.
GEORGE says that Matt Taylor’s comments bring into sharp relief the significance of the weight of a door and the impact on the drylining. If the door is physically a different size that’s not something that can be fixed easily on site if the dry lining has already been put in. Therefore, there is a responsibility for contractors to select products much earlier in the process even before specialist trades are appointed. Otherwise, there will be more building work done in the wrong place and coordination issues. PAUL WHITE says all these same problems apply to dampers as well.
GEORGE asks is it’s possible to pick 3 or 4 different attributes from Paul White’s smoke damper paper to highlight on the day. PAUL WHITE indicates ‘yes’.