Independent Fire Scrutineering
What Is Independent Fire Scrutineering?
Following a review of fire strategy compliance as a reaction to several high-profile building fires, FCS provides ‘Independent Fire Safety Scrutineering’ services in line with the proposed Independent Construction Assessor (ICA) framework as part of the Building Safety Bill which is at the consultation stage in government. FCS works with construction companies and contractors to ensure that at each stage of the project compliance is maintained, recorded, and certified....
It is recognised that considerably more rigour is required in the delivery of a building’s fire strategy through the design, procurement of materials, and construction phases, as well as Portfolio Managers awareness, understanding, and recording of these strategies post-construction.
As a result of this and following consultation with specialised consultants, FCS has created a Scope of Works (SoW) to ensure compliance and progression through the proposed Building Regulations Gateways for new build construction projects.Read more
Changes In Legislation
MHCLG has published its own consultation, which closed at the end of July 2019. This sets out principles for new regulations. FCS has identified several new principles which have been proposed in the Building Safety Bill. This bill is at the consultation phase within government and is aligned with the proposed new framework with regards to a Fire Scrutineering role and the three proposed Gateways....
From the perspective of the Independent Construction Assessor (ICA) initiative, the most important principle is that at the end of the construction phase and in order to pass through “Gateway 3” as described in the Hackitt report – i.e., occupation - both the Principal Designer (PD) and the Principal Contractor will have to sign a declaration that the construction meets the requirements of the Building Regulations.
A further principle is that before construction, the Design will have to be approved as compliant with the building regulations. So, if the approved Design is constructed properly, then it will comply with the building regulations.Read more
What Does An Independent Fire Scrutineer Provide?
A fire scrutineer offers you, the contractor, investor, or client the reassurance that your building is compliant with all the current and relevant standards related to fire. This means that the occupants in your building are safe in the environment you have provided. This would also protect against future latent defect claims as you would be able to provide a ‘Golden Thread’ of evidence that the building at the time of construction met all the legal requirements.
It has been a recommendation from the Dame Judy Hackitt's report and the various working groups that there need to be better inspections and records for buildings during and after construction.
How Does FCS Provide Compliance?
The following schedule of works (SoW) is proposed in order to standardise the requirements for each construction project which requires an independent fire scrutineer. The schedule detailed below has been created by FCS as a recommended minimum requirement, in order to provide due diligence and compliance when applied to construction projects.
- Review overall fire strategy for compliance with current regulations and ERs. The Fire Strategy document is to be reviewed throughout the project at the different RIBA stages and provide detailed observations/recommendations as required.
- Ensure fire stopping is fully detailed and identify areas where design may be deficient.
- Undertake material compatibility checks for specified materials and identify areas of concern or requiring further interrogation.
- Review façade details and material selection, and provide a report on areas of risk.
- Review MEP design to ensure that it is in line with the building's fire strategy/compartmentation.
- Produce a simple briefing note for the project team to explain the fire strategy in layman’s terms.
- Support the construction team in the development and sign off of robust ITP’s.
- Complete a minimum of five on-site audits throughout the installation period and provide written statements/action plans of compliance for all elements under review. The five on-site visits will be programmed in the scrutiny plan to align with the following stages of the construction pipeline (Delivery programme):
- Structural Protection - To include inspection and measurement of structural fire protection.
- Building Envelope - To include inspection of cavity barriers.
- Compartmentation/Internal Partitions 1st Fix - To include assessment of wall types and construction.
- Internal Partitions 2nd Fix - To include assessment of drylining, finishing, sealing of builder’s work openings, also M+E first fix at compartmentation lines, and fire stopping to service penetrations.
- Fire Rated Door sets and Glazing - To include installation of door sets, glazed partitions, and sealing to substrates.
- Review fire protection to structural elements.
- Review installation of fire barriers/fire stopping within external façade system including around openings and general external wall build-up in accordance with the relevant standards, regulations, and fire strategy.
- Review and audit the installation of the fire barriers to ensure compliance with the design philosophy and appropriate standards.
- Review and audit the installation of the fire dampers to ensure compliance with the design philosophy and appropriate standards.
- Drylining and Ceilings;
- Provide a construction review and minimum of five on-site audits (including written reports) of the following elements of the drylining and ceilings systems forming the protected cores/compartmentation/risers;
- Deflection head detail
- Bottom track detail
- Fire door structural opening including timber inserts
- Glazed screen structural opening where applicable
- Services penetration full letterbox
- Services back box details
- Services putty pad details
- Fire barrier/fire fly interface details with soffit, ceiling, services
- Wall finish (skim or T&J) including mist coat
- Mastic detailing
- Audit and sign off on the installation of the internal fire doors – to BM TRADA standards
- Re-check previously commented and observed defects and finally re-inspect the completed installation. A separate brief Practical Completion Report will be produced. FCS will subsequently return to the site for the re-inspection and passing of final defects.
- Audit the quality of the as-built drawings.
- Review O&M information for completeness.
- Provide written closeout report.
- Provide all evidential compliance documentation – “Golden Thread”.
- Provide due diligence sign off.
- Complete the Pre-Occupation FRA to BAFE SP 205-1 3rd Party Certification standard.
FCS is unique in its approach and have developed designated Fire Engineering Teams so that all aspects of this Scope of Works can be provided to a consistently high standard. Teams are made up of construction, fire safety and fire stopping experts which underpin the requirement to fulfil all elements of the Scrutineer role.
Competence levels are regularly and periodically assessed to ensure compliance which is conducted internally at FCS. Competency registers are regularly maintained and are used to ensure that the correct level of scrutiny is applied depending on the required discipline.
FCS demonstrates quality and competency through UKAS accreditation; it is an organisation certified under a TPC scheme by a UKAS accredited certification body.
Meet The Team
The Technical Director at FCS has over 18 years experience working in the construction industry where he has been involved with testing, designing, and installing of all systems that are integral to the compartmentation of a building. Joe‘s specific expertise is proven in Drylining and internal partitioning, Fire stopping, Door inspections and surveys, Fire/smoke dampers, External cladding and cavity barriers.
In the last 18 months Joe has been the technical manager of the scrutineering teams on over 20 new build projects. In a previous role, Joe was responsible for the training and measuring of competence amongst installers within the industry and due to his experience and knowledge, he was selected to be part of the first pilot scheme by Considerate Construction.