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UNECE joins global coalition to improve fire safety in buildings through industry standards

UNECE joins global coalition to improve fire safety in buildings through industry standards

The Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017 has brought under the spotlight the need for a coherent global approach to fire safety. That fire -  the worst in the UK for almost 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. 
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 for 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. 
The UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management has been working on building standards since its establishment in 1947. The Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing endorsed in 2014, underlines the importance of improving the resilience of buildings to natural and human-generated hazards through safety planning, design and construction. To respond to the need to address safety of buildings, UNECE has joined the International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) Coalition
The Coalition was launched with the support of UNECE in Geneva at the Palais des Nations on 9 July 2018; it brought together key organizations from around the world dealing with fire safety of buildings with the purpose of discussing the development of landmark industry standards to address fire safety in buildings.
The coalition consists of national and international professional bodies and standard-setting organisations committed to developing and supporting a shared set of standards for fire safety aimed at delivering greater consistency of minimum levels of fire safety and professionalism in buildings across the world.
“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 which pose risks in the absence of a coherent and harmonized 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.”   says Gary Strong, RICS Global Building Standards Director 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 its first order of business the IFSS Coalition will set up a Standards Setting Committee that will 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.
For more information, please contact:
Domenica Carriero
Associate Economic Affairs
OfficerEmail: [email protected] 

At RICS - Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors:
Gary Strong 
Global Building Standards Director
Email: [email protected]
Worldwide media enquiries: [email protected] 
Note to Editors:
Members of the Coalition so far:
ACAI – Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors 
AEEBC – The Association of European Experts in Building and Construction
API – Australian Property Institute 
APS – Association for Project Safety 
BCA – Building Control Alliance   
BIFM – British Institute of Facilities Management 
CABE – Chartered Association of Building Engineers 
CASLE – Commonwealth Association of Surveying & Land Economy 
CEBC - Consortium of European Building Control bodies 
CIAT – Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists 
CIBSE – Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers 
CIOB – Chartered Institute of Building 
CTBUH – Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat 
Engineers Australia – 
FIG – Federation International de Geometre, an international umbrella body of surveying professional bodies globally 
ICC – International Code Council 
IFE – Institution of Fire Engineers 
LABC – Local Authority Building Control 
NHBC – National House Building Council 
RIBA – Royal Institute of British Architects 
RICS - Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors 
SFPE – Society of Fire Protection Engineers 
SGSA – Sports Ground Safety Authority 
SIBL – Singapore Institute of Building Ltd 
The World Bank - 

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 12 34

Email: [email protected]

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