EAPFP EdinburghWith growing recognition of the challenges facing the fire sector across Europe, the European Association for Passive Fire Protection (EAPFP) brought together a number of European and global fire organisations at its meeting in Edinburgh 7-8 November to discuss possible areas for collaboration.

Each organisation was keen to share its knowledge and experience in a bid to improve fire safety and raise standards of build quality and education throughout Europe. Representatives from Construction Products Europe; the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations Europe; the Society of Fire Protection Engineers; and the Institution of Fire Engineers met with EAPFP members and provided an overview of their organisations’ activities.

EAPFP president Miroslav Smolka welcomed all the guests to the event and provided a brief introduction to the EAPFP. He stated that the EAPFP mission is to enable building owners in Europe to obtain good and reliable passive fire protection products, which are properly installed so they deliver the declared fire safety performance. Therefore, EAPFP aims to explain and facilitate use of European legislation and standards; and inform, educate and develop the market and promote the use of good and properly installed products.

Christophe Sykes of Construction Products Europe explained that the association brings together over 50 national and EU associations to lobby on the internal market legal framework and EU sustainable construction initiatives. He highlighted the implementation delay that characterises most of our updated CE marking standards as a result of legal arguments. He explained that Construction Products Europe is calling for a common agreement to improve the EU standardisation process. He discussed other issues and opportunities for improved collaboration, such as the regulatory framework (EU – Member States) for the fire assessment of facades methods; the enhanced integration of Extended Application (EXAP) standards in the harmonised system; and test methods and classification updates from CEN/TC 127.

Tommy Arvidsson of the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations Europe explained that CFPA Europe linked national organisations working with fire prevention and protection; safety and security; and natural hazards. It produces technical guidelines and aims to harmonise training, offering a CFPA Europe Diploma which is fire safety qualification recognised across Europe. CFPA Europe supports a range of fire safety campaigns in many European countries and is also gaining interest for its guidelines and training from other areas of the world.

Jose-Louis Fernandez of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers outlined the SFPE mission to define, develop, and advance the use of engineering best practices; expand the scientific and technical knowledge base; and educate the global fire safety community to reduce fire risk. The SFPE is a global organisation offering a wide range of education in the form of webinars, seminars, magazines and technical guides. It also aims to enhance the scientific understanding of fire through the SFPE Foundation which identifies relevant research, provides student research grants and seeks long-term funding resources for such activities.

Steve Hamm of the Institution of Fire Engineers described the IFE as a professional body which aims to enable people to demonstrate their competence in fire engineering. He declared that the IFE is recognised internationally as a benchmark for chartered fire engineers with over 620 Engineering Council registrants. It offers third party accreditation of engineers and also operates a Register of Fire Risk Assessors. The IFE is a qualifications awarding body and administers over 6,000 examinations each year, including Level 3 and Level 2 qualifications in passive fire protection.

EAPFP President Miroslav Smolka welcomed the input from all four organisations noting that there were several areas of synergy:

“The EAPFP would like to thank all of our guests for joining us for this interesting and enlightening meeting, which has highlighted many areas for potential collaboration. There are clear synergies between all of our organisations matched by an overwhelming desire to develop stronger ties to improve the understanding of fire science, as well as advancing the competency of all involved in the fire safety sector.

“I look forward to building on these first introductions to identify some key opportunities for future collaboration. By bringing together representatives from the construction industry, the passive sector and national fire safety organisations, as well as fire engineers, the research community and insurance, we hope to ensure that the EAPFP’s aims can be achieved, resulting in improvements in the safety of our future built environment.”

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