Published in PBC Today, David Mowatt, chairman of the Smoke Control Association (SCA) has written an article on the future of building regulations and touching on competence, compliance and a commitment to change.

Future Building Regulations

In the article, Mowatt references the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety which is said will bring about the crucial improvements and reform for the fire safety industry including the necessity for guidance and accountability for a building’s safety.

The chairman discusses the new reform which proposes a new building safety regulator who is responsible for new and existing building safety requirements. He stated:

‘Providing the regulator is given the requisite powers to take a hard line against perpetrators, both in terms of criminal offence charges and monetary penalties, the temptation to overlook regulations at the expense of safety standards will be significantly diminished.’

Mowatt goes on to talk about the primary objective of a smoke ventilation system is to protect the staircase and communal areas, especially in the increasingly complex designs of high-rise buildings.

He says,

‘Extracting heat and smoke away from the staircase is critical for safe firefighting operations as it results in a relatively clear air path for firefighters to approach the area affected by fire. This allows firefighters to conserve the limited air in their firefighting breathing apparatus and to reduce the potential for heat stress.’

The Chairman concludes by reiterating the fact the Smoke Control Association has led the way on improving competency levels and that it is responsible for producing guidance on smoke control systems so designers, installers and authorities can access this vital advice on the prevention of smoke spreading throughout high-rise buildings.

‘As an association committed to raising standards, the SCA strongly believes that the industry has suffered from a clear lack of resolve when it comes to issues involving compliance and enforcement and is hopeful that the proposals stemming from Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review will go a long way towards addressing the problem and forcing through a lasting cultural shift.’

The full article is available online at from page 236 to 238.