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Cladding replacement should be prioritised on a risk basis.

NFPA façade risk assessment research presented at Fire Australia 2018

Developed by the NFPA’s Fire Protection Research Foundation, the new Exterior Facade Fire Evaluation Comparison Tool (EFFECT) aims to help global building owners, facility managers and governments to proactively assess the risk to high rise buildings from combustible façade cladding.

The Executive Director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, Kathleen Almand, will give one of the first presentations on the new tool at the upcoming Fire Australia 2018 Conference and Trade Show, alongside a broadcast of Australian and international fire protection experts.

A reflection of the global nature of the combustible cladding problem, EFFECT is intended to be used by a global audience. Touching on the local application of the new tool, however, will be Sigurjon Ingolfsson, one of the tool’s authors and a West Australian-based fire safety engineer with Arup, which conducted the research underlying EFFECT on behalf of NFPA.

EFFECT allows a prioritisation of inspection and remediation work to address combustible cladding on high rise buildings. The tool looks at the building, the façade, and the impact of potential ignition sources both inside and outside the building. EFFECT uses a two-tiered risk assessment process, according to the NFPA:

Tier One entails a government or other authority, building owner, or facility manager answering a small number of questions with clearly pre-defined answers, to inform the ranking of buildings within their portfolio. Some questions pertain to the combustibility of the insulation and facade cladding; the presence of sprinklers; potential ignition sources; and the type of alarm system.

Tier Two has authorities complete a deeper fire risk assessment evaluation of those buildings deemed at risk in Tier One. Onsite inspection; as-built information; maintenance records; samplings; and laboratory testing of unknown facade materials are considered in this section.

The EFFECT tool comes at an important time, as governments across the world struggle to develop plans to remedy combustible cladding risk in the most safe and efficient manner.

Facade fires are an international problem.

Facade fires are an international problem.

“EFFECT is likely the most important international development in the combustible cladding space in the past year, and could have significant applications within Australia and the broader region,” said FPA Australia General Manager – Technical Services/Deputy CEO Matthew Wright.

“The presentation and workshop given by Kathleen Almand and Sigurjon Ingolfsson at Fire Australia 2018 is one of the first times the EFFECT tool has been brought to an industry audience outside the US, and will be highly beneficial for anyone working in this space.”

As well as a presentation on the topic, these two experts will also run an interactive workshop on the tool.

Fire Australia 2018 is once again shaping up to the be the largest and most influential fire protection event in the Southern Hemisphere. Run on 1-3 May at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC), Fire Australia 2018 is tailored for a wide variety of audiences working within the fire safety and protection industry, and will include case studies, group discussions and presentations.

The event provides fire protection professionals and associated industries with the chance to explore new ways of working, stimulate discussion, support professional development, and perhaps most importantly generate unparalleled networking opportunities.

Kathleen Almand and Sigurjon Ingolfsson are just two of the world class line up of speakers at Fire Australia 2018.

The event’s trade show attracted 1000 delegates in Sydney in 2017, and in Brisbane this year will cover more than 2000m² and provide attendees the opportunity to explore the latest technologies and innovations, and discover and source new products.

Fire Australia is run by FPA Australia, the peak industry body which supports and represents accredited and competent practitioners working across all disciplines of the fire protection, building and construction industry through training, educational guides, accreditation and events.

For more information, go to www.fireaustralia.com.au

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