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Press release

9 NOV 2018

Fire safety experts appointed to develop industry standards

More than 40 organisations from around the world have appointed fire safety experts tasked with developing landmark industry standards to address fire safety in buildings in the public interest.

The group, known as the International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) Coalition, was launched at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on 9th July 2018.

They have now agreed to appoint 21 experts who applied to join their Standards Setting Committee:

  • Ales Jug
  • Ben Bradford
  • Beth Tubbs
  • Birgette Messerschmidt
  • Daniel Joyeux
  • Dr Paul Stollard
  • Dr Tony Enright
  • Dwayne Sloan
  • Frances Peacock
  • Dr Graham Smith
  • Greg Payne
  • Jeff Wood
  • John Lewis
  • Kevin Hughes
  • Lorna Stimpson
  • Martin Conlon
  • Professor Sam Allwinkle
  • Robert Thilthorpe
  • Tim Neal
  • William Koffel
  • Executive Secretary – Alexander Aronsohn

The coalition consists of local and international professional bodies and standard-setting organisations committed to developing and supporting a shared set of standards for fire safety in buildings in the public interest. The standards aim to set and reinforce the best practice professionals should adhere to ensure building safety in the event of a fire.

As the property market has become increasingly international with investments flowing across national borders, the sector still lacks a consistent set of high level global principles that will inform the design, construction, and management of buildings to address the risks associated with fire safety.

Differences in materials testing and certification, national building regulations or codes, and standards on how to manage buildings in use, particularly higher risk buildings, means there is confusion, uncertainty and risk to the public.

Gary Strong, the RICS Global Building Standards Director cites the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 as one of many examples which demonstrates the need for a consistent global approach to fire safety. As the RICS representative to, and Chair of, the IFSS Coalition, he says that the Grenfell fire – the worst in the UK for over a century that claimed 72 lives - not only focused attention on building and fire safety in the United Kingdom but also exposed global inadequacies in how fire safety standards are set around the world.

Related Building Control journal articles

The Grenfell Tower fire focused the world’s attention on how many buildings are threatened with the prospect of failing fire safety standards. All over the world we see the need for more high-rise structures, some residential, some commercial and some mixed-use buildings, particularly with increased urbanisation in cities. Our concern is not with the height of these buildings but with the risks they pose in the absence of a coherent and harmonised approach to setting global standards in fire safety.

The effort by the IFSS Coalition aims to address this concern and bring together the design, construction and management aspects of ensuring fire safety of building assets in the public interest. 

Gary Strong
Global Building Standards Director, RICS and Chair of the IFSS Coalition

Once the high-level standards are developed, the IFSS Coalition will work with professionals around the world to deliver the standards locally. The standards will be owned by the IFSS Coalition and not by any one organisation.

As it’s first order of business the IFSS Coalition has set up a Standards Setting Committee (see below) that draw on a group of international technical fire experts to develop and write the high-level standards to ensure they are fit for purpose across global markets.