Pre-DCW Roundtable Input
GEORGE says that at the roundtables at DCW they will provide workshop participants with an A4 sheet of paper for each of the stages and they can write (inspired by the conversation) what are the key things that they think they need as a developer or installer etc. Secondly, to look at what do people do to those assets to prevent them from working? Examples: fire door being painted over (internally) which compromises fire safety, and also installing a new carpet which means the door won’t open properly, consequently having to trim the door on the base (causing a fire protection problem). Additionally, installation of broadband penetrating firewalls etc., people putting condoms over smoke detectors so they can smoke in the flat.
Having identified these experiences and recognising that a particular mitigation treatment has been compromised therefore there would be a great reliance on the smoke control system working. PAUL WHITE adds that there’s also the issue of the doors used in the smoke control system not being fire door sets.
GEORGE states another issue is the escape process itself: how do people get out of the building? There can be a situation where a fire risk assessor doesn’t check an escape door because it is not classified as a ‘fire door’, meaning that people wouldn’t be able to get out (if the escape door is not functioning properly).
GEORGE says that the purpose of this session is to see from a construction group perspective what information the construction team will be looking for to ensure mitigating the risk of the spread of smoke and also to digitally record that it's been done. Paul Mcsolley has created a floor plan where he’s running the scenarios and George plans to have a drawing for each of the tables for reference and then they can write down any information that’s needed, Assa Abloy, the fire door manufacturers, will be attending the roundtable.
RICHARD FREER says the purpose of this is to partly showcase what Bim4housing is doing (maybe getting more members and publicity) and also to promulgate the risk-based approach to issues. The outputs (via A4 pages) are less important than the visibility. The group needs to define as much as possible in this meeting so it is ‘pre-done’ for the actual roundtable.
PAUL WHITE shows a diagram on screen (Paul Mcsolley’s floor plan???). It is a typical plan with regard to compartmentation and smoke control. There is a colour coded key relating to duration of time. There is different levels of compartmentation - between the flats its slightly less. The main escape route (which is the stairs) is 120 minutes, with some 90 minute construction inside it. If there is a fire the AOV will open to draw smoke out of the stair lobby. There will be a digital record of the compartmentation. You can check if holes have been drilled in the wrong place. Is the AOV the proper product? Is it the proper lift? Have the doors been modified? Do they meet the original design specifications? etc These are the things to be looked at for the digital record.
RICHARD FREER asks whether the clear guidance for these to be checked is actually followed. PAUL WHITE says it is not. It is guidance, not mandatory. PAUL says it's likely that a smoke control system has not been checked in 10 years. He’s found bikes and prams in smoke control shafts. Having a digital record is the first part (of dealing with all this).
CHRISTINE MILLING says that it may be able for each of the tables to print out what the purpose of the groups are…because otherwise, with the short sessions, it may be difficult ‘not to go down rabbit holes’. RICHARD agrees, saying it needs to be very tightly controlled.
ALASTAIR BROCKETT says the people who usually do procurement for local authorities/housing associations have never really been up to speed on fire requirements. Their first priority is budget management (because the budget is so limited). Because of procurement agreements they may buy products that are not adequate for the purpose. Do the fitters know how to adjust it etc.? In terms of records, fire risk assessments should be done every year.
You can asset tag anything you want (with QR codes), even fire doors. When it's scanned it calls up a photograph of the original installation.
RICHARD asks ALISTAIR ‘in terms of the construction group, what information do you think you need to supply? ALISTAIR says that depends on the particular asset. It’s about granular information (as Richard says). MARTIN ADIE thinks it’s a development from what you get at contract handover or hand over from the designers. If that’s been done properly you’re halfway there,. And you have to understand the maintenance regime that’s gonna be required going forward. If you own the building, you need to know how to look after it.
RICHARD says that what keeps coming up is the change management side of things: as soon as you change something, changing something totally changes the dynamic.
JERRY COLLINS believes that any operatives that are engaged in carrying out any work in a communal area should be fully briefed, competent, and possibly certified to work in an area including fire doors. RICHARD says this issue of 3rd party certification often comes up at roundtables.
PAUL WHITE agrees with ALISTAIR that all the fire stopping needs to be recorded the fire dampers need to be recorded, and the components of the smoke control system. If a specialist inspects these they will have an app (similar to what Alistair described) with pictures from multiple viewpoints/damaged/open & closed - there could be up to 9 photographs for a fire damper. The key thing with the fire risk assessment/any other reports is ‘these are the actions you’ve got to do’. The amount of time it takes for anyone to take action is up to them, it’s their decision as its their risk assessment. MARTIN ADIE is hoping to attend the roundtables in person. PAUL WHITE, as a mechanical engineer, is here to help make sure that the right data is captured and not leaving anything out. ‘The program of putting it right is going to be a long, painful and expensive road.’
JAN STEPHENS asks what exactly will happen at the roundtables. PAUL WHITE says they’ll look at it from the different workstreams, to have a look at the diagram and everyone will work through that and see what information they would need in a BIM system to allow them to address the specific points of each part of it from the point of view of design/operations etc. That gives an idea to the BIM people to know what information they have to capture. It’s a discussion group.