Guide to Managing Safety-Critical Elements in Building Construction Published

THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS (RIBA) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) have published a free guide to managing Safety-Critical Elements (SCEs) in buildings.

The Guide to Managing Safety-Critical Elements in Building Construction helps to identify high-risk elements in and around buildings. It outlines systems that should be adopted to ensure that SCEs are properly incorporated. It aims to be an important tool to ensure good practice and deliver safe, high-quality buildings.

The new guide recognises the cross-industry need for a rigorous and structured approach to the design, construction and inspection of safety-critical building elements.

Safety-Critical Elements

The publication highlights elements that, if omitted or installed incorrectly, can pose significant risk to people, including:

Safe means of escape for occupants and access for firefighters
Combustibility of cladding and insulating materials
Effective fire compartmentation including smoke control, firestopping, cavity-barriers and fire doors
Structural integrity of masonry cladding panels and the proper incorporation of necessary brick accessories into them including fixings, bed-joint reinforcement, wind posts and ties
Structural integrity of balconies

Fire Safety Professor John Cole CBE said: “This guide is a spur to the industry. We have seen much evidence showing how poorly Safety-Critical Elements have been installed in too many buildings. We all have to stand up, be serious and take appropriate responsibility. We want to push the industry to ensure that, on every project, all SCEs that could potentially impact the safety of future building users are properly designed, installed and inspected, with supporting evidence of compliance.”

CLC Welcomes Guide

The Construction Leadership Council has welcomed the free guide. It says building safety is one of the CLC’s key priorities and recognises the requirement for whole industry collaboration, ownership and action in core building safety principles and tangible culture change.

Karl Whiteman, Divisional MD, Berkeley Group and CLC Industry Sponsor for Building Safety said: “The design and construction of buildings is rightly in the spotlight, making the publication of this guide very timely indeed. It will help the industry as it continues to evolve how it designs, constructs and independently verifies new buildings. Building safety has to be the industry’s number one priority and we appreciate the attention the government is currently giving to this issue.”


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