Please see below a link to the new guidance on returning to work issued by the UK Government.  I am sure it will also be valid or act as a benchmark at some time for members who are working in non UK countries as well.   As we see more sectors returning to work we thought it would be useful to share a link to the government guidance on working safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

There  are eight guides which cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.

We are all hopeful that recovery from the pandemic can start soon and thoughts are now turning towards economic revival.

The Fire Sector Federation, who we are a member of, wishes to assist where it can in this process, for example, by working with others to solve any issues by informing or requesting support from government and others.

With this in mind this note has been prepared by the Federation for use both as an aid and a stimulus to all members, and for any comments and ideas that you would wish the Institute and Federation to consider.

Fire Sector Federation Revival Planning

As a Nation we find ourselves in very unfamiliar waters during the current pandemic and as an Institute we have discussed the current situation during our online meetings.

Our thoughts go out to all people involved on the frontline in this situation.

We value our members greatly and without you there would be no organisation to drive our message forward into the future. We are aware that some members may have fallen on difficult times and hardship and we are asking any members who may not be able to pay their fees at present please contact Richard on info@ifsm.org.uk or Bridget on admin@ifsm.org.uk

We aim to defer the payment and will review this month by month for a period of time or until circumstances change.

As an organisation we want to be flexible and supportive to our members and we feel this is the right time to offer that support. Please be assured that all information will be dealt with in confidence.

Again, many thanks for your continued support of the institute, Stay Safe…

Kind Regards

Adrian Simpson
Membership Secretary.

membership@ifsm.org.uk

The Government has published the results of the Building a Safer Future consultation and the two outcomes, Response and Economic Impact, can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877628/A_reformed_building_safety_regulatory_system_-_gvt_response_to_the_Building_a_Safer_Future_consultation.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877521/A_reformed_building_safety_regulatory_system_-_economic_assessment_of__benefits_and_costs_to_the_gvt_response_to_the_Building_a_Safer_Future_consultation.pdf

I am sure that at this time most of you will be able to find time to read these documents!

Council member and Life Vice President John O’Sullivan has kindly shared with us Bureau Veritas Emergency Preparedness Pack which can be used by all members and their clients. Grateful thanks to John and BV for sharing this preparedness pack with all of us.

Bureau Veritas Emergency Preparedness Pack 2020 V.2 (1)

We have received a few queries asking if fire risk assessors and those linked with the fire industry are classed as ‘key workers’.

The Institute’s clear position is in supporting the Government and the main information and guidance for employees and employers is set out on the Governments website, including definitions of ‘key workers’.

The Institute is not in a position to make individual judgements, but clearly, we are all in the business of assessing risk and therefore that call has to be with yourself, and if fire life safety issues outweigh, in any single case, the threat to life from COVID – 19 then the judgment has to rest with the individual assessor and the call should be ‘is my movement and task essential to support critical infrastructure?’. If not, Council advice is: –

do not travel, stay at home and support crucial national infrastructure in this way.

Rest assured, Council members are taking this ‘time out’ to work from our isolated positions on some critical details and papers which will define the future of fire risk assessment, fire risk assessors competency and fire risk assessors themselves!

As you all are aware, the COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) is a topic of conversation and concern. This note is intended to give you guidance and will be updated as the ongoing situation changes. IFSM is keen to protect the health & safety of its staff, members and visitors.

The current situation is changing daily, but the government advice currently is to continue business as normal and we remain fully operational, until such time that the government or our landlords (The Building Centre) advise otherwise. This includes continuing with meetings, events and membership applications.

We understand some members will have concerns over travel etc therefore, we will respect any members decision regarding travel and non-attendance. Alongside everyone else, the IFSM will keep an eye on the developing situation and advise and act accordingly. Further updates will be provided as the situation develops.

If you have any symptoms of illness that could be associated with COVID-19, starting with a fever but including headaches, persistent dry cough or other cold and flu symptoms then please do not attend any of our meetings. If you are worried that you may have symptoms of the virus or have any reason to suspect that you may have become infected with the COVID-19 virus you should self-isolate and call the NHS 111 number. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.

A number of our members may express an unwillingness to have personal contact during these uncertain times and it is suggested that out of common courtesy, members and staff do not risk offence by offering handshakes or any other form of personal greeting that requires physical contact with any other person, unless this is mutually agreed in advance.

Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19:

• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
• put used tissues in the bin straight away
• wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
• try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
• clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
• do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

When attending meetings in the IFSM office, please be aware that this is a place of employment and follow PHE advice now and in the future. For visitors to our office, we have supplied tissues and anti-bacterial wipes for your use.

If you have any concerns, please speak with the IFSM Business Support Manager or another senior member of staff privately.

We have received notification regarding the proposed consultation by BSI for PAS 79 1 and 2.  A public consultation will take place around mid-next year on these two documents.

Download project overview here >>

We will be responding at the time via our Technical Sub Group but will also contact all members to collate any views you may have as part of the consultation process.

PAS 79 Review Panel Overview

The Government have now completed its consultation after its Call for Evidence on the Technical Review of Approved Document B.  The document signals the start of the full technical review of AD B.

For your information, the document can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/technical-review-of-approved-document-b-of-the-building-regulations-a-call-for-evidence?utm_source=7ca85d1e-54ff-42ee-9463-1d996f6d74e6&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=daily

The extent of the review is large so there are potentially stages to this work. Therefore, it is no surprise that government at the same time announced that it is prioritising the issues affecting high-rise residential buildings.  This saw the launch of the consultation Thursday 5th September 2019 on the inclusion of sprinklers and other safety measures for these building types.

 

Robert Jenrick the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government made the following statement in both Houses yesterday:

 

“I updated the House today in an Oral Statement on the Government’s progress on building safety and set out this administration’s approach.  As set out in the Statement, I am consulting on changes to fire safety regulations for new-build blocks of flats.  We will seek to commit to requiring sprinkler systems as standard in a wider range of new flats.

 

We will also consult on requiring better signs and evacuation alert systems to support effective firefighting.  A link to the consultation document ‘Sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats’ is here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/sprinklers-and-other-fire-safety-measures-in-new-high-rise-blocks-of-flats and I will deposit copies of this consultation in the Library of the House.”

 

Linked to the statement is the Approved Document B consultation, with a summary of the responses made to the call for evidence last December being published. The new ‘sprinkler and wayfinding’ consultation will run from 5 September 2019 to 28 November 2019.

 

In addition it was announced a new Protection Board is being set-up by the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council to provide further reassurance to residents of high-risk residential blocks with the Communities Secretary making £10 million a year of funding. The Board will provide expert, tailored building checks and inspections, if necessary, on all high-risk residential buildings in England by 2021.

 

The idea is the Board will operate until a new building safety regulator is established to oversee the new regulatory regime for buildings and legislation on a new building safety regime is introduced.

 

We will be co-ordinating a response to the consultation by the Institute shortly.