In light of a recent series of fires in high-rise buildings with combustible facades, including the Grenfell tower fire, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has initiated a project to develop a fire risk assessment tool for these types of buildings to assist local authorities globally with fire safety in their communities. This project builds on previous NFPA work begun over the past few years, related to growing concerns about fire risks associated with combustible wall insulation components.
“NFPA is committed to helping communities respond to current fire threats,” said Jim Pauley, NFPA president, in a news release this morning. “Given several recent tragic high-rise fires, this resource couldn’t be more needed or timely.”
The risk assessment tool will help authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) prioritize mitigation by incorporating a methodology that identifies key variables (such as wall materials, building fire protection systems, etc.). The risk assessment tool helps characterize those variables in terms of risk or mitigation potential, and incorporates them into an engineering-based risk model. The project will be conducted by a global engineering team whose work will be overseen by an advisory panel of global stakeholders and experts. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
“The deadly fires that have occurred around the globe reflect a need to recommit and promote a full system of fire prevention, protection and education in order to help save lives and reduce loss,” said Pauley. “At NFPA, we’re doing all we can to support and provide jurisdictions with the tools they need to assess risk and deliver the level of safety people expect and deserve.”
These sentiments were reinforced in an Associated Press news story published yesterday, which addressed how building regulations have failed to keep up with changing materials, and that many of the deadly fires that have occurred in the past year reflect insufficient efforts to oversee and inspect building construction.