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Strong Stakeholder Values Found in Digital Fire Safety

Published: 2020-03-12

We were thrilled by the great interest in the webinar ”Digitalization of Fire Safety Design” we arranged with Symetri Europe in January. Strikingly, we attracted a wide range of stakeholder groups, from architects, fire safety engineers, construction companies, facility manager, regulators, interest groups and more. Just about everyone is affected by digitalization, and it brings us together.

We are empowered by new digital tools to co-create safer buildings. We saw this in the wide range of viewers at the webinar and we continue to see this in dialogues and discussions we have on daily basis. This is in sharp contrast to the construction industry where we too often tend to isolate ourselves in silos.

We recieved plenty of questions during the webinar, of which you can find the answers here. A few of them we think are especially interesting and deserve some extra attention. Scroll down and learn more about standardization, digitalization, and BIM.

Do you see this tool being used by architects or will fire engineers contribute to the BIM process?

– Who’s responsible for the fire safety design varies from country to country. In some countries it´s the fire engineer while in other countries it´s a specialized building engineer or an architect. No matter who´s responsible for the design of fire protection, BIM is an excellent way to become an integral part of the design process.

– In the design projects that Briab has been involved in, it was found that the architects are often pleased that the fire safety engineer carries out (and takes responsibility for) the digital fire safety design.

***What will the role of standards be for BIM and fire safety? ***

– Standards already play an important role for BIM and digitalization and we have ongoing standardization in CEN, ISO, buildingSMART and other groups.

– For fire safety, it´s worth noting that just in the past year we've seen the launch of BIM and fire safety standardization groups in several European countries such as UK, Germany and Sweden. Within buildingSMART, there's already proposal for BIM and fire MVD and IFC development. Briab is actively taking part in several of these initiatives and we see that standardization will play an important role for information exchanges, definitions and parameters but also work flows.

– However, it is important to stress that we already have BIM and fire safety working in practice in real projects. We do not need to wait for standards to change the way we work. By getting hands on with BIM and fire safety we're setting new standards by ourselves, and parallel to this we may get the lessons we learn in the world of standardization.

***The European Commission has made a proposal for a European Green Deal. Within this proposal, they mention a review of the construction products regulation, which should "ensure that the design of new and renovated buildings at all stages is in line with the needs of the circular economy, and lead to increased digitalization of the building stock. How do you think digitalization should be introduced in this EU regulation? ***

– The European Green Deal is a great initiative and we're excited to dig deeper into how it relates to BIM and fire safety. We'd like to get back to the value-chain here and the benefits of securing an unbroken chain of information. Products play an important role in the information chain and setting common European legislation here may facilitate digitalization in the construction sector. The inherent challenge in the traditional construction sector is that we tend to work in silos, and that we lose sight of the life cycle perspective along the way. Information is lost both during but especially after construction.

– In post-Grenfell England, the government had to identify risk facades in the UK. It turned out to be tedious work since construction documentation often does not provide that level of detail and transparency. In the end, thousands of buildings had to be examined and it turned out that 500 buildings have risk constructions. It shows how securing information of products and systems are vital to ensure transparency, accountability and in the end - compliance.

– Making sure that the Construction Products Regulations accommodates digitalization and supplies product information in suitable exchange format is therefore key to securing an unbroken chain of information. CPR therefore needs clearer information requirements and we need mandates to CEN to develop the needed standards. The new standard on data templates for product information is a good start, but more work needs to be done in the respective disciplines. For example, for fire safety we have yet to see common definitions and machine-readable parameters and their associated values for fire safety performance.

As we can see, BIM integrated fire safety design affects and interests more groups than simply the fire safety designer, and actually goes beyond the construction sector. The reason for this is obvious, safety involves and affects everyone and is everyone's business.

Do you want to know more how your organization can benefit from BIM-integrated fire safety design? Don´t hesitate to contact us!