The Fire Industry Association this week released information on a new study from Birmingham City University look at the construction industry’s view on fire safety following the tragic Grenfell Tower incident in June 2017. The study found that ‘a third of construction professionals believe the industry still has ‘inadequate’ knowledge and training around fire safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster. What’s more, the study found that a majority of construction professionals believed that more needs to be done by higher education institutions. Specifically, more needs to be done to educate current and future generations of construction workers on the life-saving importance of fire safety before they enter the sector.

It found that most professionals think “knowledge surrounding fire safety in the construction industry is inadequate, while the majority also believe higher education institutions need to do more to educate construction students on fire safety before they enter the sector. The research suggests that the Grenfell disaster (and media storm that has surrounded this event) has raised the general level of fire safety knowledge and competency amongst construction professionals. However, qualitative feedback from the special advisory panel member suggests specific fire prevention knowledge remains elusive within both industries and taught programs at Higher Education Institutes. As a consequence, changes in the taught curriculum are proposed together with an extension of the role of facilities managers in practice to cover fire safety in greater depth.


But what else did the study find? 

In addition, the report found that:

  1. There has been an increased awareness of fire safety concerns in the profession since the Grenfell fire

  2. 37 percent of those surveyed believe industry knowledge on fire safety is ‘inadequate’

  3. Many believe the current fire safety regulations are ‘not fit for purpose’

  4. 50 percent thought communication between residents and constructors around fire safety should be formalized

  5. New roles should be created to prioritise fire safety or this responsibility should be a requirement of existing jobs such as facilities managers

The study recommends that new regulations are needed around building materials and practices to prevent future disasters, like Grenfell Tower, happening again. The study also recommends that specialist training needs to be made available to workers across the sector. Visiting lecturers and specialist practitioners, such as fire safety engineers, should form part of higher education construction courses and that funding should be made available to ensure professionals are equipped with the knowledge they need.

You can read more on the report here