Free guide to managing Safety-Critical Elements in building construction published

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have published a free guide to managing Safety-Critical Elements (SCEs) in building construction for their members and the wider built environment sector.

The Guide to Managing Safety-Critical Elements in Building Construction helps to identify high-risk elements in and around buildings and outlines systems that should be adopted to ensure that SCEs are properly incorporated.

The guide highlights elements that, if omitted or installed incorrectly, can pose significant risk to people in and around buildings, including:

  • Safe means of escape for occupants and access for firefighters
  • Combustibility of cladding and insulating materials
  • Effective fire compartmentation including smoke control, firestopping, cavity-barriers and fire doors
  • Structural integrity of masonry cladding panels and the proper incorporation of necessary brick accessories into them including fixings, bed-joint reinforcement, wind posts and ties
  • Structural integrity of balconies

Commenting on the new report, Karl Whiteman, divisional managing director at Berkeley Group and Construction Leadership Council Industry Sponsor for Building Safety, said: “The design and construction of buildings is rightly in the spotlight, making the publication of this guide very timely indeed.

“It will help the industry as it continues to evolve how it designs, constructs and independently verifies new buildings. Building safety has to be the industry’s number one priority and we appreciate the attention the government is currently giving to this issue.”

Former president of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) and current member of RIBA’s expert advisory group on fire safety professor John Cole CBE said: “This guide is a spur to the industry. We have seen much evidence showing how poorly Safety-Critical Elements have been installed in too many buildings.

“We all have to stand up, be serious and take appropriate responsibility. We want to push the industry to ensure that, on every project, all SCEs that could potentially impact the safety of future building users are properly designed, installed and inspected, with supporting evidence of compliance.”

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