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Author: GTS

High-Risk Buildings (HRB) – a Fire Strategy will be essential!

On 1 October 2023, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) became the Building Control Authority for all higher-risk buildings (HRBs) in England.

If you’re planning any projects on higher-risk buildings in England, you need building control approval from the BSR before any building work can commence.

What is a Higher-Risk Building (HRB)?

Classified on gov website:
During the design and construction phases, a higher-risk building has at least 7 storeys or is at least 18 metres in height and either:

  • is a hospital or care home
  • has at least 2 residential units

Documents you need to prepare 

As part of your building control application, it is required that you gather and maintain the following fire safety documents. These fire safety documents are essential and must be kept current throughout the construction process, as they constitute a portion of the necessary records you are obligated to maintain.

The fire and emergency file outlines the premises on which the building’s management and maintenance strategies are based, particularly once it is operational. This document must address the mitigation of fire spread and the prevention of structural failure from the outset of construction. It is required to encompass:

  • The foundational assumptions guiding the design and intended use of the building, which should be both realistic and thoroughly vetted, accompanied by a well-founded explanation.
  • The measures that responsible individuals must implement to guarantee a safe evacuation process.
  • Provisions for enabling fire and rescue services to access the site, building, and water sources essential for firefighting efforts.
  • A comprehensive fire strategy that details the methods for adhering to the functional requirements A3 and B1 to B5 outlined in Schedule 1 of the building regulations.

Global Technical Service (GTS) – Fire Strategies

Our team of experts work hard to ensure that all Fire Strategies carried out by GTS are to the highest standard and are as meticulous as possible, outlining every detail.

GTS can provide:

  • Fire strategy production and review for any client in line with the RIBA stages.
  • Support at a qualitative design review
  • Fire Safety Management Plans to BS9997
  • Cladding investigations for residential high rise building in preparation for a EWS1 form to be issued and signed by a charted RIBA member
  • Fire Engineered design and review for solutions that do not fall in line with ADB (BS 9999, BS 9991 and bespoke fire engineered solutions)
  • EWS1 surveys and Fire Risk assessments for residential and non-residential building
  • Fire Strategy Drawings and Compartmentation Drawings
  • Provide advice to clients for pre-consultation meetings with building control or other local authorities to meet the designer’s vision

Do it Right First Time Contact us today to find out more or get a free quote for a fire strategy

Class O Conundrum Continued

Two hours of CPD points are available. Presented by Ian Abley

Webinar Date: 15 February 2024

The Class O Conundrum; Class 0 was said to be the highest national performance classification for construction materials and products, such as in external walls, until the fatal fire of Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017. Despite a warning about the potential combustibility of Class 0 “cladding” products from the Select Committee to the Ministry publishing statutory guidance after Garnock Court fire on 11 June 1999.

Class 0 was defined in the statutory guidance of Approved Document Part B and not in any British Standard. When Grenfell Tower Inquiry finally reports by June 2024 it will be seven years since 72 deaths. That was an unnecessary and high price for British society to discover that Class 0 could in fact be achieved by composite products with highly combustible cores.

This webinar explains the Class 0 Conundrum using the evidence in a continuing process of disclosure, which led to Inquiry publication in 2022 of the Research on the Approved Document And Revision (RADAR) project, undertaken with construction industry partners in 2000.

How do I register for free tickets?

Webinar Date: 15 February 2024 @ 15:30pm

Email hedley.thompson@rockwool.com or DM on LinkedIn with your email address.

Fire Door Inspection Walk-through

Are you capable of carrying out fire door inspections?

The purpose of the Bespoke Level 3 Qualification Fire Door Inspections Course is to allow learners to demonstrate that they are capable of carrying out fire door inspections and have the under-pinning knowledge needed, at the required depth and to confirm occupational competence.

It has become a legal requirement for the responsible person(s) of multi-occupant residential buildings over 11 meters to undertake fire door inspections once annually on fire doors at the entrances of individual domestic premises.

The responsible person(s) must also undertake inspections on any fire door in communal areas every three months.

This legal requirement aims to improve the fire safety of high-rise buildings and hold the correct individuals accountable for any failure to comply.

Global Academy’s Bespoke Level 3 Fire Door Qualification Course will make you fully compliant. Get in touch directly for a quote for business or multiple applicants. Monthly dates are available at our training suite.

Training Provided by Global Technical Services (GTS)

Assembled of individuals from backgrounds such as fire safety, firefighting, military, and infrastructure design and build, the GTS team has a combined experience of 233 years.

Global Group Management Update

Global Group Management Update

We proudly announce the appointment and promotion of three accomplished professionals to key directorial roles. These strategic moves reflect the company’s commitment to its ambitious growth plans and unwavering dedication to advancing fire safety solutions on a national scale.

As Global continues to expand its footprint and establish its trusted and highly qualified status in the fire safety industry, these senior appointments are pivotal in ensuring the company’s sustained growth and success.

Jonathan Harwood, Director of Commercial and Operations Global HSE:

Jonathan has been with the business for over 4 years, heading up the Group’s passive fire division, however, in this newly created role, Jonathan will be responsible for overseeing and optimising Global HSE commercial operations, whilst helping to drive the passive side of the business forward. With a wealth of experience in passive fire, Jonathan brings a unique skill set and a proven track record of driving operational excellence.

Ross O’Loughlin, Director, Head of GTS:

Elevating Ross to this critical role underscores Global’s commitment to innovation and cutting-edge solutions. Ross will continue to lead GTS but take on a more strategic role in pioneering new technologies and advancing the company’s product offerings to meet the ever-evolving demands of the fire safety landscape and fast-paced developments in legislation.

Ian Jordan,  Financial Director, Global Group:

Recognising the pivotal role of effective financial management, Ian assumes leadership of Global’s Financial and HR division. Ian will play a key role in shaping and amplifying the company’s commercial objectives as it continues to make strides in fire safety.

These appointments not only bring a wealth of expertise and leadership to the Global HSE Group but also reinforce the commitment to delivering cutting-edge fire safety solutions worldwide.

Andrew Cooper, MD, expressed confidence in the newly appointed directors, stating, “I’m delighted to have such a formidable leadership team on board as we move forward. I believe their combined expertise will be instrumental in propelling Global to new heights as we embark on this exciting phase of expansion and innovation. I’m looking forward to us all working collaboratively to realise the company’s overall objective of establishing Global as the obvious fire safety partner of choice for any organisation wishing to take fire safety seriously, working with Global to ensure their buildings are safe and compliant for all who use them.”

The whole team at Global are excited about the future as we remain dedicated to making all buildings we interact with safer through innovative and compliant fire safety solutions.

Case Study: Angel Court

Client: Gateshead Council
Project: Angel Court
Scope of works: Internal and external remediation works on doors and exterior cladding
Programme works are planned over 26-weeks, completion is planned for
mid-February however the works are progressing at speed therefore a January completion

Collaborating with the fire engineers from Gateshead Council, our own fire engineers, and the building and façade team, we have collectively established an efficient programme of work.

Ensuring tenant engagement is top of our priorities and working hard with the council to provide a safe environment for a live site and current occupants. The works include the removal of combustible Kingspan Kooltherm foil-faced insulation and reinstate A1 non-combustible mineral wool slab and the correct cavity barriers suitable for a rainscreen application.

Existing Façade Make-Up

Images are indicative of the issues found behind the Rock panel Facades. Global attended site on multiple visits to gain further knowledge of the façade configuration and how we can best remediate the external wall.

FRAEW Remediation Recommendations

  1. To remove and replace inappropriate fire cavity barriers to all EWS affected areas with the approved type specifically for the façade configuration taking into consideration of the building height and occupancy profile.
  2. To remediate cavity closers to openings to ensure a complete seal is achieved between the cavity and the apartment.
  3. To assess the suitability of the substrate in which the fire/cavity barrier is affixed to at all EWS affected areas to ensure a complete seal between line of compartmentation is achieved.

Scope of Work

  • Carefully remove existing rock panels.
  • Remove all combustible insulation, and breather membrane, stripping down to the existing sheathing board. Leaving Timber Battens in place.
  • Installation of non-combustible insulation behind and between existing timber battens.
  • Installation of barriers at every return.
  • Ensure weather tightness and waterproofing of existing sheathing board.
  • Reinstatement of Rock Panels.
  • Installation of correct cavity barriers positioned at Compartment lines (Horizontal and Vertical).

Social Value

Global donated £3,756.00

New Chicken Coop – The old chicken coop was restricting access to the scaffolding. So Global, alongside the residents supplied a brand new chicken coop.
Repainted the Communal Area
Operatives at Angel Court have utilised the ‘Pie in the Sky’ café within the scheme increasing local spend within the community.

Fire Strategy in Building Design and Safety

In today’s climate conscious building environment, marked (some may say marred) by new materials and technologies, a comprehensive fire strategy is fundamental to safeguarding lives and ensuring regulatory compliance. Global Technical Services (GTS) excels in creating fire strategies that align with the RIBA stages ensuring safety and compliance from initial design, throughout the building’s lifecycle.

Developing a Holistic Fire Strategy

A robust fire strategy encompasses every aspect of a building’s design, operation, maintenance and occupancy. GTS’s approach integrates fire safety considerations seamlessly into the architectural vision, adapting to each RIBA stage. This involves evaluating risks and proposing solutions that enhance safety without compromising aesthetics or functionality. This is supported through GTS’s Fire Scrutineer service through various design and construction hold points.

Navigating Regulations and Empowering Responsible Persons

GTS’s fire strategies address the complexities of fire safety regulations, particularly aligning with Approved Document B, B1 to B5, BS9999 and BS7974. These strategies empower the responsible person with an understanding of the building’s fire safety systems, enabling informed decision-making and effective management. While the fire strategy will form part of the Regulation 38 pack, it can also act as a guide to ensure the responsible person understands the comprehensive fire safety information, systems, equipment and their interactions; essential for maintaining safety standards within their area of responsibility.

Evolving Strategies for Design and Existing Buildings

Our strategies evolve with each RIBA stage, reflecting design changes to maintain relevance and effectiveness. For existing buildings, GTS’s retrospective strategies demonstrate compliance with previous legislation, guiding renovations to enhance safety standards.

Case Study: Enhancing Fire Safety in Heritage Hotels

A testament to the practical impact of fire strategies is GTS’s work with a chain of existing hotels across England, Scotland, and Wales. This project exemplifies the pivotal role of retrospective fire strategies in maintaining and enhancing fire safety standards during significant refurbishments.

In these hotels, some of which are historic buildings with listed status, the challenge was to update fire safety measures without compromising the buildings’ integrity. GTS developed bespoke strategies that not only respected the architectural heritage but also ensured compliance with contemporary fire safety standards. The strategies facilitated the implementation of modern fire safety solutions, while preserving the character of these heritage buildings.

This case study highlights the importance of regularly reviewing and updating fire strategies, especially for existing buildings. Changes in regulations, building usage, and advancements in fire safety technology necessitate a dynamic approach to fire strategy planning. For buildings with a long history, like the hotels in this case study, aligning with the latest standards can be a complex task, and may necessitate fire engineered solutions. But a fire strategy is crucial for ensuring safety and compliance, or justifying a bespoke solution. 

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FRAEW – A Breakdown Guide

Produced by Bruce Patterson and Keith Plowman

What is an FRAEW?

FRAEW stands for Fire Risk Appraisal of External Walls. It is a systematic process for evaluating the risk posed by external wall construction and cladding in multi-storey, multi-occupied residential buildings.

Purpose of FRAEW

The purpose of the FRAEW is to inform the Fire Risk Assessment (which now has to take into account the external wall). As such the FRAEW will assess the risk to occupants from fire spreading over or within the external walls of a building. This assessment is crucial in determining whether remediation or other mitigating measures are necessary to address any identified risks, particularly in buildings where combustible materials are present in the external wall construction.

PAS 9980

PAS 9980 serves as a structured framework for suitably qualified professionals conducting Fire Risk Appraisals of External Walls (FRAEW). It lays out a methodical approach for evaluating the fire risk posed by a building’s external wall systems, considering various factors such as the building’s design and materials comprising the external wall system.

Understanding Fire Hazards in External Walls

Fire hazards in external walls primarily involve the potential for rapid fire spread due to combustible materials used in cladding or insulation. These hazards are amplified in high-rise buildings where evacuation may be more challenging, and the reach of fire and rescue services may be limited.

How a Company Will Conduct a FRAEW

The process typically involves the following step:

  • Initial Assessment: Confirming the need for a FRAEW based on building type and characteristics.
  • Data Collection desk top study: Gathering detailed information about the building’s construction, materials used, and any previous assessments.
  • Site Inspection: Visual intrusive inspection of the external walls to understand the materials and construction methods.
  • Risk Analysis: Evaluating the collected data against defined risk factors to assess the potential for fire spread and its impact.
  • Reporting: Compiling a comprehensive report that includes the risk assessment findings, risk rating, and recommendations for risk mitigation.

Key Considerations for a Quality FRAEW

A quality FRAEW should:

  • Be thorough in data collection and inspection
  • Be conducted by competent professionals with expertise in fire engineering and building construction
  • Consider all relevant factors, including building design, materials, and occupant safety
  • Provide clear and actionable recommendations
  • Comply with PAS 9980 process

Benefits of FRAEW Assessments

Benefits of conducting FRAEW assessments include:

  • Informing the FRA.
  • Informed decision-making regarding necessary remedial works.
  • Enhanced safety for building occupants by identifying and mitigating fire risks.
  • Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Greater confidence and peace of mind for residents and building owners.
  • Standardized approach facilitating consistent and reliable risk assessments.
  • FRAEW assessments, particularly when conducted in line with PAS 9980, are crucial in ensuring the safety of buildings against the risk of fire spread through external walls.

Why GTS?

With a foundation rooted in fire service experience, our approach to risk is uniquely grounded in a ‘first-hand life safety perspective.’ Our team comprises a blend of industry professionals, collectively addressing every facet of the thefaçade lifecycle – from initial design, build and maintenance to remediations, and lifetime energy consumption calculations.

ASFP Marketing Campaign of the Year

Marketing Campaign of the Year: Global Group

ASFP Marketing Campaign of the Year: Global HSE Solutions’ whiteboard animations campaign which offers a unique approach to sharing fire safety knowledge and understanding across all marketing channels. The campaign was recognised for its ability to convey critical fire safety messages without relying on extensive text and for catering to audiences of varying levels.

Global are proud to have nominated our whiteboard animations for the Marketing Campaign of the Year as they have made significant contributions to our organisation and the industry at large. They offer a unique approach to fire safety knowledge and understanding, and its usability across all marketing channels. Creating and sharing these animations have enabled the Global group to reach a wider audience, improve marketing collateral, and enhance our overall marketing activities.  

By offering the industry creative ways to understand and develop knowledge of fire safety will continue to be at the forefront of innovation, driving positive change and improving the future of the fire safety industry. 

HOMES UK 2023 Highlights

Global Technical Services (GTS) attended HOMES UK 2023
An unmissable event for housing and asset management, development and sustainability professionals

HOMES UK 2023 Highlights – is the largest free-to-attend conference and exhibition of its kind. Bringing together over 4,500 housing sector professionals to discuss how to build and maintain high-quality, sustainable homes in communities where people will thrive.

On the first night of HOMES UK – Global hosted a networking event at The Fox, Excel. Connecting with social housing providers and frameworks.

HOMES UK was a huge success for The Global Group, meeting many clients and prospective customers. We also showcased our latest brochures, which can be found here:

HSE Brochure
GTS Brochure

HOMES UK 2023 Highlights that GTS can provide:


FRAEW Intrusive work

FRAEW INTRUSIVE WORK

A FRAEW will assess the materials used to build the external wall or cladding, the workmanship of the final build – e.g. the gaps between the cladding and junctions between different building materials.

A FRAEW will not only cover external walls and cladding, but attachments like balconies, windows and any additional attached buildings.

It will also involve some invasive sampling and investigation of the external walls to ensure that external insulation is also compliant with existing fire safety regulations.

Global will assure any instrusive work done to the external wall will be properly replaced on the same day by a professional, never leaving it left exposed. Making the external wall safe and exactly the same as it was before, as seen below. Saving time and money for management, by not having to source multiple
contractors to remediate.