As the sun set over The Building Centre, AESG took to the stage to deliver an informative discussion about fire & life safety compliant facades. Beginning the evening was AESG’s Associate Director of Fire & Life Safety, Alex Manning, who discussed the key changes to the UK building regulations, as well as the new guidelines stated within the updated Approved Document B.
Alex spoke about four main topics:
- Integrated Facade & FLS Approach
- Basic facade-FLS concepts
- Changes to building regulations
- International codes and test
Following this, the panelists took their seats to provide their expert opinion on fire & life safety construction. AESG’s experience within the United Arab Emirates meant that the discussion could be led from a wide perspective. This also encouraged discussion around the UK’s ability to match other nations in terms of fire safety standards, with the panelists debating whether we can should look to other countries to learn about fire safety. AESG certainly brought their expertise to the UK, with AESG’s Director of Fire & Life Safety, Peter Van Gorp speaking knowledgeably on the subject, highlighting influences we can take from the UAE to apply to our UK regulations.
With several architects in the audience, concerns were raised over how these restrictions would affect the creative freedom of expression within design.
AESG’s Alex Manning commented that it was at the foremost of the company’s concerns, yet with the development of treated timber, it was the responsibility of manufacturers to keep up with changing regulations. This brought the discussion beyond the limits of facade regulations, with Peter Van Gorp describing how the UAE recognised balconies as a source of fire, as well as roofs and glazing. This led the panel to ask whether the UK was ‘behind the curve,’ in terms of fire safety regulations.
The discussion of residential versus assembly use of buildings provoked interesting opinions about differing requirements depending on the use of a structure. This led to some doubts over the depth of the new regulations, which are in place for structures that are 18 metres or higher. Yet, it was wholly agreed that buildings such as student accommodation are often below this height, and require equally stringent measures on the building’s safety. This demonstrated how the panelists were all looking to the future of fire safety regulations, warning the audience to be ‘competent,’ in order to keep up with these continuing developments.
Those present at the event varied, from architects, contractors and developers to managers of student accommodation. This meant questions from the audience were varied and insightful, with many integral topics discussed. AESG demonstrated their expertise within this subject, and for those in attendance, the evening was insightful and informative, answering pressing questions that have been arising as a result of these changes.