Testing times for UK construction: A look at service testing and fire safety

fire safety

Ryan Simmonds, Sales Director for Framing at voestalpine Metsec plc, calls on the construction industry to evolve and become a standard bearer in terms of full service testing and fire safety

The current UK mediasphere has the issue of fire safety front and center.

Whatever the outcomes of future hearings, reports and investigations, what is clear is that for any future building project, full system testing and fire safety are paramount to any organisation within the construction supply chain.

This extends from the initial designs, to the care taken when installing systems and safety measures, to the long-term maintenance and upkeep of buildings.

One issue already emerging from the Grenfell Tower tragedy is that focusing on the performance of one standalone product in a fire, without considering the myriad of other factors that can allow a fire to spread, is too simplistic and does not address all the risks involved.

Today’s buildings need to perform as efficiently as possible – structurally, acoustically and thermally – but they must also be as safe as possible in terms of fire protection.

Stringent on safety

The importance of stringent full system testing goes much further than responding to the news agenda. The Hackett Report concluded that indifference and ignorance led to a “race to the bottom” in building safety practices, with cost prioritised over safety.

We understand that striking this balance can be a challenge for the industry – but achieving this won’t happen overnight.

Months of research, design and stringent fire testing were invested to develop our new SFS range of sections, and, with the introduction of more product options to reduce over-specification, we are putting our stake in the ground with regards to where the industry needs to move to, if it is to evolve.

The biggest change in the SFS market for 20 years, the aim of the new range is to combine best value and quality for installers and end users, as well as have a substantial impact on the green credentials and sustainability of any project where our new SFS solution is implemented.

Peace of mind

The focus in modern construction is now more on liability and risk and assuring end clients in terms of full system testing, fire safety, insurance premiums, and potential changes to building regulations.

Our SFS range now has more system testing data than ever before, in fact over 200 wall and floor solution combinations. With our fire performance data tested or assessed by the UK’s leading test centre – the BRE, we also calculate acoustic and thermal data to give  complete peace of mind.

Alongside our colleagues in construction, it is our duty to innovate and adapt to give both assurance and reassurance when it comes to building safety, so our industry can make headlines for all the right reasons and be a watchword for both quality and safety.

In these testing times for UK construction, it is a time for introspection; we feel it is vital as an industry to re-examine our innermost workings and practices.

Ryan Simmonds

Sales Director

Framing Metsec



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