“Responsibility for fire safety lies with construction industry,” says APS

The Association for Project Safety (APS) is calling for all new UK construction projects to be designed by people equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience best suited to the project to help mitigate fire risk.

APS was responding to the London Fire Brigade’s recent assertion that another disaster similar to the Grenfell Tower tragedy cannot be discounted unless the construction industry started to take fire safety more seriously.

A spokesman for the Brigade suggested that it has taken a tragedy such as Grenfell for everyone to take fire safety seriously and listen to what the Brigade had been saying for years about aptitude and skills.

Echoing these remarks, Bobby Chakravarthy, president of the APS, said: “The Association for Project Safety agrees with the London Fire Service’s submission to the recent review of fire and Building Regulations. Fire safety should never be considered an ‘off the shelf’ package bolted onto the construction design. Effective design which delivers intrinsic fire safety elements can further limit the risk of fire, not just for the people both living and working in buildings, but for firefighters and other emergency services who may be called out.

“Building and construction companies and their clients need to understand their limits and responsibilities fully. Not one group of industry professionals has a monopoly on knowledge, which is why all projects need a suitable organisation to oversee all design decisions from a risk management perspective.”

Mr Chakravarthy said he supported the London Fire Brigade’s comments that the responsibility for ensuring buildings are constructed with proper fire safety measures sits with the construction industry, however a general lack of competence means that perceived dangerous decisions are being made about buildings’ design or construction.

He continued: “The construction industry needs to collectively examine how it minimises fire risk. Another Grenfell Tower scenario needs to be avoided at all costs and therefore a fresh perspective on embedding fire safety into the design phase is vital.

“Construction defects and design flaws must be eradicated, so when these buildings are inspected in future years, they get a clean bill of health.”