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CIF offers guidance in response to Lakanal

08 May 2013

Chiltern International Fire is calling for improved education and training for professionals involved in the design, specification, construction and management of buildings following the inquest into the Lakanal House fire

The inquest into the Lakanal House fire in July 2009 in which six residents of the high rise social housing block tragically lost their lives discovered a general failure to comply with the principles of fire safety regulation and a lack of understanding of passive fire protection.
Recognising the need for improvement, Coroner Frances Kirkham CBE made a number of recommendations for developing the understanding and training of those responsible for the fire safety of such buildings.

Writing to the London Borough of Southwark, Ms Kirkham called on the authority to consider the training required to ensure the competency of members of staff carrying out risk assessments in higher risk residential buildings, as well as the training needs of personnel involved in the procurement or supervision of maintenance and refurbishment work in such buildings.

Ms Kirkham highlighted the need to ensure that materials used have appropriate fire protection qualities and called for staff to be trained to understand the principles of compartmentation.

In response to the tragedy, Chiltern International Fire (CIF) has joined with a number of professional organisations – including the Association for Specialist Fire Protection, the Passive Fire Protection Federation, and the Fire Sector Federation – in calling for improved education and training for professionals involved in the design, specification, construction and management of buildings.

CIF Deputy Technical Manager Mark Cummings explains: “If you have any responsibility for the fire safety of others, it is vital that you have an understanding of the role that passive fire protection products play in preventing the spread of fire and your obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

“Lakanal particularly highlights the vital role played by compartmentation and demonstrates the tragic consequences which may ensue if such systems are not adequately specified, installed and maintained.

“Chiltern International Fire is committed to playing a significant role in educating the industry and providing essential guidance to improve the standard of fire safety across the UK, in the hope that a similar tragedy can be averted in the future.”

CIF offers a range of seminars and courses designed to improve the understanding of professionals involved in the design, specification, construction and management of buildings and provide suitable guidance. It has developed a free half-day seminaressential for those responsible for fire protection measures within their workplace.

The free Fire Protection Measures– Understanding Your Responsibilities seminar aims to explain the duties of the Responsible Person under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) and raise awareness of passive fire protection. Held in regional locations around the UK, events are currently scheduled to take place on 1 May in London; 24 September in Birmingham; and 6 November in Manchester.

CIF also offers a one-day CPD certified course Fire Protection in Buildings Explained – the Role of Passive Fire Protection Products for building contractors, facilities and estates managers, fire engineers, housing associations, local authorities, fire stopping installation companies and individuals designated as the ‘Responsible Person’ under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

The course aims to provide delegates with an understanding of how passive fire protection products enhance a building’s fire resistance, protect both buildings and people, reduce the spread of fire through secondary ignition and limit the spread of flame and smoke. Combining classroom seminars with multiple live fire demonstrations, the courses will take place at CIF’s headquarters in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire on 4 June and 1 October and cost £285 + VAT to attend , or £255 + VAT for TRADA members.

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