Feature Foreword and Introduction FIA Guide to the UK Fire Safety Industry
LUCKILY FOR the UK, life is returning
to some degree of normality now. We
appear to have weathered the short-term
impacts of the pandemic with national
lockdowns ending, face-to-face meetings
starting up again and the majority of the
population being vaccinated.
At the FIA, we’re proud to have
played our role in helping the fire
industry not only survive the pandemic,
but also thrive throughout its duration
by securing ‘key worker’ status for
practitioners and also transitioning
towards online training, etc.
Despite the pandemic, key issues such
as the response to the Grenfell Tower
tragedy and Brexit have remained of
paramount importance to the industry.
Much like across the last few years, we’ve
prioritised these issues to ensure that we
as an industry are always able to put our
best foot forward at any given time.
Among a diverse range of actions in
its response to the Grenfell tragedy, the
from the CEO
2021 has been an interesting year at the
Fire Industry Association (FIA) and one
inevitably punctuated by the continued
adaptation to the unprecedented
COVID-19 pandemic that has altered all
of our lives since March 2020
FIA has continued to adopt a primary
focus on life safety. We had great success
in the creation and application of the
Building Safety Information Portal.
Following the Grenfell Tower fire,
External Wall Survey-1 (EWS-1) Forms
were developed as a means of enabling
competent fire experts to aid lenders
and sellers to value flats in high-rise
buildings by identifying whether or not
remedial work needs to be carried out.
We have fully-funded the Building
Safety Information Portal and employed
software specialists to create an efficient
and user-friendly website that’s
supported by the Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Forum.
This has allowed the FIA to effectively
manage and verify the validity of EWS-1
Forms as well as those individuals
uploading them. Members of the public
are free to search for EWS-1 Forms
relating to any specific buildings via the
use of postcodes.
Further, we’ve employed a rigorous
approach towards the Building Safety
Information Portal to include manual
checks at various stages of the process in
order to eliminate, as far as possible, the
current problem of fraudulent EWS-1
Forms appearing in the market and to
ensure that forms are completed by
those sufficiently competent to do so.
As a result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy,
it’s no surprise to see that the
Government is implementing the
recommendations of the Public Inquiry
by way of changing existing laws as well
as creating new legislation.
To this end, our technical team,
Councils and Working Groups have
spent the last year working with the
Government and key stakeholders alike
to provide advice and support towards
the Grenfell Tower report, the Building
Safety Bill, the Fire Safety Bill – now, of
course, the Fire Safety Act 2021 – and
the Personal Emergency Evacuation
Plan (PEEP) consultation.
In addition, we’ve published a Code
of Practise in collaboration with the
National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC)
on Premises Information Boxes and
started another Special Interest Group in
conjunction with the Institution of Fire
Engineers squarely focused on the
subject of building facades.
Brexit has continued to pose new,
unique and complex challenges for our
industry, whether that be in terms of the
skills shortage, export and import issues
or regulatory and standards concerns.
Our Brexit Report published in early
2021 highlighted the fact that the biggest
concern of the overwhelming majority
of our members and the industry is the