At present, there are many contrasting approaches and requirements across the world in relation to fire safety, which have resulted in significant variations in the design, approval, construction methods, products and operation of buildings. The development of a common understanding of building design, construction and management and how the impact of fire affects these, will help to build trust and confidence among the many and varied actors, including the public and finance industry, ultimately underpinning an improved quality of life and increased investment in line with UN sustainable development goals.
The adoption of the International Fire Safety Standards Common Principles (IFSS-CP) will provide a connected and more consistent approach that will yield considerable benefits and improve our ability to:
IFSS-CP establishes overarching, performance-based common principles for fire safety engineering design, construction, occupation and ongoing management. IFSS-CP is intended to be flexible and non-prescriptive so that it can be adopted incrementally and advance good practice. The common principles have been developed so that they are universally applicable throughout the world, regardless of the existing codes, standards and guidance already in place. The adoption of IFSS-CP will help protect people, buildings and contents, and the environment from the destructive effects of fire.
The IFSS-CP provides a performance-based framework that applies in all stages of a building’s life cycle (design, construction, in use, change and demolition).
The five IFSS-CP can be defined as follows;:
The IFSS-CP framework articulates the functions, life span characteristics and attributes of fire safety in buildings. It can be used to determine general and specific functions (building and management), hierarchies, competencies, knowledge and skills. IFSS-CP has been designed for policy makers, professionals and others to ensure that they have considered the full breadth, depth and range of fire safety strategies and measures at each stage of the Building Life Cycle.
The Coalition advocates that the adoption of IFSS-CP will amongst other things:
Despite rapid globalisation, with investment flowing across borders, money pouring into built assets and increasing numbers of different professionals operating across the world, the industry currently lacks a consistent set of high-level principles for design, construction and management of buildings for fire safety.
Differences in materials testing and certification, national building regulations or codes and guidance on managing buildings in use, particularly higher-risk premises, mean that there is confusion, uncertainty and risk to the public.
Multiple differing standards mean there is no single authoritative way to work. But for the first time at a global collaborative level, International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) will bring greater consistency by setting minimum levels of fire safety and professionalism across the world. On 9th July 2018, the International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) Coalition was launched at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland.
In the context of the IFSS Coalition’s work, an international standard is something that is established and agreed at a global level and implemented locally.
The IFSS themselves will be owned by the coalition and not by any single organisation. Member bodies subscribe to the shared international standards and commit to their use and implementation.
The coalition will provide universal rules that classify and define fire safety standards at project, state, national, regional and international levels.
Professional institutions will incorporate these high-level standards and rules into their guidance or local standards, and we expect governments to support or adopt these principles, or both. All organisations in the coalition will participate in implementing the shared international standards through their respective memberships and staff.
IFSS will be used throughout the world in both developed and developing nations. Each organisation in the IFSS Coalition has committed to the adoption of the standards throughout its own professional membership.
Our aim is that all higher-risk buildings to which occupiers and the public have access will publicly display a certificate of compliance with the IFSS.
The coalition is a group of professional and not-for-profit organisations responsible for researching, developing, publicising and implementing IFSS globally for the construction and real-estate sectors, and was established late 2017 after the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London in June 2017.
The coalition supports the creation, maintenance and use of high-quality international standards, developing these using a transparent and inclusive standard-setting process.
Each of the coalition organisations has signed a declaration of support and commitment to promote and implement IFSS, and to encourage world markets to accept and adopt them. It is establishing a standard-setting committee dedicated to realising shared and international fire safety standards.
Members of the coalition so far:
Further members are expected to join the coalition shortly.
An IFSS supporter is an organisation that supports a collaborative approach to the development of international standards and commits, in principle, to the adoption of the suite. Supporters might include, but are not restricted to, the following types of organisation:
Prospective IFSS supporters are asked to express their interest through any member of the IFSS Coalition, or by emailing Gary Strong for further details.
Gary Strong FRICS
Global Building Standards Director
Gary leads the Global Building Standards department of Professional Groups. As a Chartered Building Surveyor, Arbitrator, Chartered Loss Adjuster and Chartered Building Engineer, he has over 38 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial property matters.