Multi‑storey residential buildings - fire risk posed by external wall systems: consultation analysis

An independent analysis of consultation responses to the Draft Scottish Advice Note (SAN): Determining the fire risk posed by external wall systems in existing multi-storey residential buildings.

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Annex C: List of Webinar Questions

Table C1: Webinar 1 Questions

Q&A Session

  • With the following that the advice to ensure what is tested is what is constructed on site would that include all of the components that are constructed inside including the backing wall and membranes
  • With the following that the advice to ensure what is tested is what is constructed on site would that include all of the components that are constructed inside including the backing wall and membranes
  • Could you summarise the significant differences, if any, between the draft SAN and the CAN issued in January by MHCLG? Thanks
  • Very informative presentation btw!
  • Are the three planned presentations different or the same?
  • With the UK leaving the European Union, will here be a move away from European Standards back to British Standards?
  • Are there any concerns about UK parliament suggesting the English Building Regulations might replace the Scottish Technical Standards, which could mean a dilution of Fire Safety Standards?
  • For Domestic Buildings in Scotland under 18m where the cladding is specifically a Fibre reinforced concrete plank (Hardie Planking) with a BBA certificate which states Class 0, non-combustible, 1) why is there no automatic OK for these materials; 2) Why is there not a standard fee for Surveyors to complete the EWS1 form?; 3) Why is the current guidance to a certificate per flat, and not per Building as in England ?
  • Thanks, as a flat owner in a four storey domestic block built 2016, recent sales this week have been stalled due to lack of EWS1 form.
  • Are Chartered Fire Engineers and/or Chartered Surveyors qualified to conduct EWS1 assessments? And if so, would they require any additional qualifications to conduct a fire risk assessment and/or EWS1 inspection?
  • The EWS1 approval criteria is being mainly directed by lenders based outwith Scotland. The competence levels in the SAN are different from MHCLG and those on the RICS website, which are both used by those in the housing/lending sector. Will there be any link up with the UK government on competence? because if not most lenders may ignore the SAN
  • If PI insurance is so important, should duty holders not only ensure that the fire risk assessors which they appoint are not only competent, but they also have a "Certificate of Insurance" for PI. A verification of cover letter stating that the assessor is covered to conduct EWS1 work, should not on its own be accepted without an insurance certificate. Is there any intention to mention PI insurance?
  • BRE is an agency companies who wish to test their wall systems are permitted to set up their wall systems. Other than the 55 systems which are on the BRE list for passing BR135, those systems which have not passed are not available in the public domain.
  • Will this presentation be available after? Very informative.
  • Sam at the beginning you mentioned compulsory fire safety regulations coming into force next year. I missed what you said in detail if you could please refresh.
  • What's your thoughts on the adequacy of using 15min and 600°C at second level of thermal couples as the performance criteria in the 8414 test
  • Is it correct to say that external wall systems have to be physically tested now, and cannot simply undergo a computer simulation, given this could be done in the past? Is that correct?

Table C2: Webinar 2 Questions

Q&A Session

  • Question on competency; the emphasis is on the building owner to satisfy themselves that fire risk assessors are competent to conduct an FRA. With the wide variety and range of premises how can an assessor demonstrate this? Should the industry look to develop competency cards like CSCS, LEEA, IPAF etc etc…. the cards would highlight exactly what an assessor can and can't do. I don't think that being a member of the IFE is enough to show competence in such a complex industry.
  • Private domestic buildings in Scotland do not have 'building managers', they have 'property factors' or are self factored. Identifying 'managers' as being responsible is incorrect. The party responsible is the building owner, which could be 300 separate entities. Why do SG continue to state that managers are responsible, when this is incorrect?
  • How can a group of building owners undertake a Fire Risk Assessment, where there cannot get all owners to agree and there is no legislative requirement for an FRA being carried out, the 2005 and 2006 legislations specifically omitting domestic buildings from this requirement?
  • Does the inventory for high rise buildings not detail the construction of said buildings and details of the EWS from the building warrant drawings?
  • Most appraisal requests come from mortgage lenders as a mater of course.
  • Has there been a corresponding reduction in building over 6 storeys (social housing)?
  • Are there plans to train SFRS Fire Safety Officers to recognise technical capabilities of external cladding, and how to determine if the assessment of this by the FRA is adequate.
  • When will existing domestic non-relevant buildings be assessed as there is currently no requirement for them to have a FRA undertaken in Scotland?
  • Why is it not a requirement for external cladding to be installed by qualified installers and being certified at the completion of the works? Like smoke and heat alarms?
  • Why is it difficult to coordinate all countries with same guidance.
  • When will Scot Gov legislate for mandatory Risk Assessment in residential blocks of flats - until they do Factors hands are tied and they have no basis in law for insisting that a client pays for Construction Identification Surveys and Risk Assessments.
  • in the draft for consultation, Bullet point in list item 2 (Page 4) refers to "evidence of systemic problems with a particular product/manufacturer/installer". How is this 'evidence' to be gathered and promulgated? If there is no mechanism for doing this, then there is little likelihood that any of these issues will be taken into account.
  • Does the use of the term "Residential Buildings" in line 1 of the Scope Statement lends itself to misinterpretation where the principal use of the premises is not the provision of accommodation e.g. a purpose built pub with a duty manager/staff flat on the first floor, a golf club with flats for the greenkeepers on the second floor.
  • On the basis of Colin's comments regards Building Warrants is there any thought to amend guidance to make the installation or replacement of cladding require a warrant. Currently as Colin said like for like replacement does not attract a requirement for warrant
  • SFRS can enforce non-domestic premises as we know, but who would enforce domestic building owners to have a fire risk assessment carried out on their wall cladding systems?
  • Will Scotland establish similar changes to the upcoming Fire Safety Bill in England?
  • Will Sto render type facade systems including expanded polystyrene insulation be considered/included in the guidance?
  • Also will structural insulated panels (SIPs) be considered - as used to construct the Moorfield Hotel in Shetland that was recently destroyed by fire.
  • Dear All, Excellent talk. Is there any chance that all the presentations will be sent to us?
  • Dear All, The cladding systems are very specialised areas which will not be an expertise by most fire risk assessors (will usually be fire engineers). What requirements will be put in place in terms of competence. My question is based on experience in other areas where competence has been set far too high and as a consequence there is not enough numbers of competent persons available
  • Dear All, How will building control be implementing the combustibility of cladding. Will they require information on cladding or will this be part of a requirement for a CDM client and the FRA at the completion phase
  • How am I supposed to assess the competency of a fire risk assessor?
  • With regards FRA's for domestic blocks of flats - this is only a recommendation and not a requirement. Is there any proposal to make this a compulsory requirement? We anticipate difficulties in achieving support from some multi-owner groups.

Table C3: Webinar 3 Questions

Q&A Session

  • For assessing existing buildings, have all existing buildings to be assessed and who is responsible for making sure the risk assessment is carried out?
  • I would like to understand the intermediate period. I am trapped and unable to sell due to lenders not giving mortgages on buildings that have failed the test. What is being done about this? I am potentially going to lose my new house over this. Also, why has this legislation been taken before you decide what to do with the 1bn pot of funding? And why has this been brought in when only 2 surveyors in Scotland qualify to provide these reports?
  • I know there is a group but this is not answering the question. When will we get movement on this? I have been stuck here for months.
  • I've heard it is likely that an IEng can sign off these forms in Scotland. Why the lesser qualification being allowed?
  • How does the Building Standards Division propose to deal with buildings of less than 18m height? Also, how to deal with premises that are of a predominantly timber frame construction (timber is combustible) and that a 38mm timber batten has been considered to be a satisfactory cavity barrier to prevent the spread of flame to an otherwise unprotected opening of (e.g.) aluminium or uPVC? Thanks
  • How does the panel compare the capability of a fire safety risk assessor to that of an Engineer as defined by the UK Spec? What is 'suitably qualified'?
  • The Scottish Advice Note seems to place the responsibility on the shoulders of the Fire Safety Risk Assessors and not the Fire Engineers? Why is that and if they are not one and the same person, how can these two persons cooperate? Who has primacy? Whose professional opinion counts the most?
  • What does the panel feel is the contribution from a vertical fire barrier that prevents lateral fire spread and a horizontal fire barrier that prevents vertical fire spread - BS 8414 does not appear to be influenced by vertical cavity barriers. Thank you.
  • Why is it that the premises has to be built in the way that the test has been done and not that the test has to be done in the way that the exterior wall has been built? That has been the way that testing has been developed in transport e.g. Marine and Rail.
  • What is view on desktop evaluations by specialist labs (e.g. Exova) where elements have been substituted as part of the overall test assembly? Grenfell inquiry raised this issue.
  • Did I understand correctly, that residential buildings built from 2005 onwards require sprinkler systems? I am living in development of over 18 m
  • It was mentioned that the SAN came about in small parts due to the reaction of mortgage lenders/insurers. Does the SAN alleviate the issue with the requirement of EWS1 form which is more relevant to England? This would clearly affect existing housing stocks and future development of low to high-rise flatted blocks.
  • Colin, can you clarify if only non-combustible cladding should have been used in buildings over 18 metres even prior to 1/5/2005?
  • With the FIA announcing that the EWS1 register will be ready to go public in November, will Scotland be included?
  • Could you talk about the comment of the "over provision" of cavity barriers - what are you considering?
  • Could Colin please explain why the criteria is 600 deg C - is it glass failure temperature or something else?



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