human and social rights

Sustainable Buildings – An Immediate & Unprecedented Challenge Demanding Genuine Collaboration !

2023-09-26:  At the time of writing, the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly is taking place in New York City.  Midway through the U.N. Sustainable Development Framework Agenda 2015-2030News about its failing progress is very discouraging

>  Amid growing geo-political crises and war, Multi-Lateralism has little chance to operate successfully and there is a growing stalemate within the Security Council ;

>  Extreme Weather Events (e.g. heatwaves, droughts, severe storms and rainfall, flooding) are becoming a regular occurrence across the Globe, and their impacts are already devastating ;

>  Only 15% of the Sustainable Development Goals are barely on track, while development gains in other SDG’s have reversed ;

>  Not only are Climate Disruption Targets not being met, but global greenhouse gas emissions are actually increasing.


[ U.N. 2023 Sustainable Goals Report – Special Edition ]

[ An Outside View: How much Progress is being Made on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals ? ]


Earlier this month (September 2023), the #UN published a Report: United in Science 2023 – Sustainable Development Edition

Compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (#WMO) under the direction of the U.N. Secretary-General, it brings together the latest updates from key U.N. Partner Organizations with a focus on weather-, climate-, and water-related sciences, research and services in support of realizing Sustainable Human & Social Development:

Climate Disruption …

  1. Total Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions from fossil fuels and land use change remained high in 2022 and the first half of 2023.  Fossil fuel CO2 emissions increased 1% globally in 2022 compared to 2021, and global average concentrations continued rising through 2022 and the first half of 2023.
  2. The years from 2015 to 2022 were the eight warmest on record, and the chance of at least one year exceeding the warmest year on record in the next five years is 98%.
  3. It is estimated that current mitigation policies will lead to global warming of around 2.8 °C over the course of this century compared to pre-industrial levels.  Immediate and unprecedented reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions are needed to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, i.e. 1.5 °C.


Graphic Image, Figure 6 in colour, from the InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change (#IPCC) 6th Assessment Report’s 2023 Summary for Policy-Makers.  It shows that there is a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to realize climate resilient development, and how multiple interacting choices and actions can shift development pathways towards Sustainability.  Click to enlarge.


Sustainable Cities & Communities …

  1. Cities are responsible for a high proportion of global GHG Emissions and are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate disruption and extreme weather events, which threaten the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 11.
  2. Integrated urban weather, climate, water and environmental services, grounded in best-available science and research, are helping Cities to achieve SDG 11.
  3. Observations, high-resolution forecasting models and multi-hazard early warning systems are the fundamental basis for integrated urban services.

Good Human Health & Social Wellbeing …

  1. Trans-Disciplinary Research is fundamental to analysing, monitoring and addressing climate-sensitive health risks and climate impacts on the health sector.
  2. Climate disruption and extreme events are projected to significantly increase ill-health and premature deaths, as well as population exposure to heatwaves and heat-related morbidity and mortality.
  3. Scaling up investments in climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems, and progress towards universal health coverage (#UHC) are critical for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3.


Graphic Image, Figure 1 in colour, from the recently published UN WMO Report: ‘United in Science 2023 – Sustainable Development Edition’.  It shows how genuinely collaborative weather-, climate-, and water-related sciences, research and services – together – support the achievement of the United Nations (#UN) Sustainable Development Goals (#SDG).  Click to enlarge.

[ The 2030 UN Sustainable Development Framework Agenda is Unequivocally Anchored in Human RightsLeave No One Behind ]


Deep & Genuine Construction Sector Collaboration …

[ Institutional Transformation ]

It is inevitable, therefore, that enormous pressures – social, economic, political, legal, and institutional – are being brought to bear on Building Design Professions, Engineers (all disciplines) and Construction Organizations to rapidly, reliably and creatively transform our existing Built Environment ; new buildings, which constitute just a small part of that workload, will be required to carry the heaviest burden.  To properly realize a Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Built Environment for ALL, however, Genuine Collaboration must be fostered … between each actor in the construction sector … between practitioners and scientists/researchers … and between different industrial sectors … silos broken apart and traditional barriers transcended.


Sustainable Buildings – Reality vs. Superficial Impressions …

The minimum Life Cycle for a Sustainable Building is 100 years.

To be capable of later #Adaptation, a Sustainable Building must possess a sufficient/appropriate, level of #Redundancy.  Lean construction ignores this issue.

Far too many people appear to be still ‘wrestling’ with an obsolete understanding of #Sustainability.  It has many more than just 3 Aspects (social, environmental, economic).  Time for everyone to cop on and catch up !

[ Legal Aspects of Sustainable Human & Social Development: If the World is Serious about Sustainability, it must Embark on a New Era of Global Law ]


The International Fire Engineering Community, in particular, has a fixation with low-hanging fruit … ‘PV Panels’, ‘Timber Buildings’ … and ‘Performance-Based Fire Codes’, which are a hybrid of prescription (rather than Functional Fire Codes, which offer a more free, more open, and flexible option for designers).

So … before moving on in my next Post to look at the potential for Green Walls being a fire hazard, and comparing a top-down Sustainable Fire Engineering Design Approach with a bottom-up Conventional Fire Safety Approach … here is an interesting graphic image, developed by an architectural colleague in Berlin, Ar.Stefanie Blank, showing the difference between all-too-common superficial impressions and the reality of Sustainable Buildings …


Graphic Image, in colour, which compares ‘What people think Sustainable Building is’ with ‘What Sustainable Building actually is’.  There is a world of difference between ‘reality’ and ‘superficial impressions’.  The immediate and unprecedented challenge is the poor performance of existing buildings.  Click to enlarge.


Sustainable Fire Engineering Road Map …

An earlier Post … … presents the complete Road Map for reading and/or download.

As I have written many times before, the concept of Sustainable Human & Social Development is intricate, open, and dynamic … and it is also continuously evolving.  So too, the #SFE #RoadMap must continuously evolve.

Fully reflecting the content and views expressed above, it is necessary to further expand the Sustainable Fire Engineering Design Objectives on Page 10 of the Road Map … in order to clearly and directly integrate the issue of Climate Disruption


Graphic Image, in colour, which lists SFE’s revised Project-Specific Fire Engineering Design Objectives … which cover the safety of building users and firefighters, protection of property and the environment, mitigation/adaptation to climate disruption, and finally, sustainability.  This revision is dated May 2023.  Click to enlarge.



#Twitter (#X) … @sfe2016dublin …

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Properly Understanding China’s Uncompromising Assertiveness … Before It’s Too Late !

2023-06-28:  Sustainability is not an abstract concept, divorced from current geo-political realities.  Lasting Peace and Robust International Law are fundamental prerequisites for Sustainable Human and Social Development … a truth forgotten, and/or conveniently set aside, by all parties to the savage and immensely destructive #USA #NATO #EU / #Ukraine / #Russia #War.


USA, 60 Years Ago …

In the tense atmosphere of the Cold War with Russia, and just after the Cuban Missile Crisis a few months earlier … a short extract – inspiring words – from President John F. Kennedy’s Commencement Address at the American University, Washington D.C., on 10 June 1963 …

[ Read and/or listen to #JFK’s Full Speech here: ]

” …  I have, therefore, chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived – yet it is the most important topic on earth: World Peace.

What kind of peace do I mean ?  What kind of peace do we seek ?  Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.  Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave.  I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

I speak of peace because of the new face of war.  Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces.  It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War.  It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace.  But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles – which can only destroy and never create – is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men.  I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war – and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears.  But we have no more urgent task.  …”


Fast Forward 60 Years To The Present …

The #GroupFeeling towards #China (#PRC) in the same Washington D.C. is an irrational and disturbing mixture of paranoia, panic, fear, jealousy, and war fever.  All too easily, other countries have been sucked into the Hegemonic Agenda of President Joe Biden – an old fashioned, mid-20th Century Cold War Warrior.  Pax Americana, USA #Exceptionalism, weaponisation of the #Dollar, widespread #Sanctioning (at this stage, who isn’t being sanctioned ?), illegal #Trade restrictions, and blatant #HumanRights hypocrisy (see the recent UN Report on the USA #Guantánamo Detention Facility in #Cuba) are all being quietly rejected by the Global ‘South’ and ‘East’.

But who today, in the ‘West’, understands China’s assertiveness … and why it must be uncompromising ?  The #USA’s ideologically-driven ignorance has led, in the past, to enormous blunders … Viet Nam, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, etc., etc.

On 25 November 2020, I was very pleased to give a Virtual Presentation to a private discussion group …

Colour Image showing the Title Page for CJ Walsh’s Presentation: ‘Resilient China After Century Of Humiliation’.  In the centre, an aerial view over the city of Wuhan.  Below, the Title Block for the presentation. At the top, a list of the countries responsible for China’s humiliation.  Click to enlarge this image.  Use the link below to download the Full Presentation of 10 Pages.

CJ Walsh Presentation (2020-11-25): ‘Resilient China After Century Of Humiliation’

Click to download Presentation, 10 Pages, PDF File 5.55 MB


Using #Taiwan to bait China and ramp up military tensions can only end badly for the ‘West’.  China’s ‘Century of Humiliation’ is over … President Xi Jinping, and the Communist Party of China (#CPC) Central Committee, will certainly not allow that sad history to repeat itself.

The proposal by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) to open an office – any type of office – in #Japan is not only ridiculous … it is preposterous.

China is not an enemy of the European Union (#EU) … Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission) and Josep Borrell (High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) would do well to remember that !


[ Footnote 1: Use of Cluster Munitions in Armed Conflicts …

The Convention on Cluster Munitions ( – adopted in Dublin on 30 May 2008, and became binding #InternationalLaw when it entered into force on 1 August 2010 – was born out of a collective determination to address the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm to civilians caused by cluster munitions.  States Parties to the Convention are committed to the full universalization of the #CCM and to promote its norms, as well as to fully implement it.  Its implementation contributes to advancing the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (#SDG’s) and the promotion of International #Peace and #Security, #HumanRights and International Humanitarian #Law.

Convention on Cluster Munitions  Article 1 – General Obligations & Scope of Application

1. Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to:

(a) Use cluster munitions ;

(b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions ;

(c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.

Question: If the vast majority of NATO Member Countries have ratified this Convention … why has the USA been permitted to supply these munitions to Ukraine ?? ]


[ Footnote 2: Xi Jinping’s Visit to Ireland in February 2012 …




#Twitter … @walshcj69 …

#China #UncompromisingAssertiveness #Sustainability #LastingPeace #RobustInternationalLaw #ColdWarI #CubanMissileCrisis #JohnFKennedy #WorldPeace #PaxAmericana #VirtualPresentation #ResilientChina #CenturyOfHumiliation #ClusterMunitions #Ireland #XiJinping

Sustainable Fire Engineering – Road Map To A Safe, Resilient & Sustainable Built Environment For ALL

2022-12-19:  Following on, directly, from the 2016 Dublin Code of Ethics

[ A personal Code of Ethics – is / must be – the basis for Effective Sustainability Implementation ]


Multi-Disciplinary Input  > Trans-Disciplinary Output

Sustainable Fire Engineering (SFE) is a Facilitator – no more than Architecture, Structural Engineering, or Spatial Planning – in the task of realizing a Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Built Environment for All.  However, SFE has an essential role to fill throughout the difficult journey towards that target.  In close collaboration with other design disciplines, many iterations … twists and turns along the road … will be necessary.

Beware Greenwashing !

Sustainability is NOT a graft-on, or an optional extra, to Conventional Fire Engineering.  This intricate, open, dynamic and continuously evolving Concept must cut right to the core of everyday design practice, and must positively impact all areas of that practice.

Ethical Transformation

In this third decade of the 21st Century … the Safety Objectives in current Fire Codes / Regulations are limited, inadequate, and lagging far behind today’s creative moulding and re-shaping of the Built Environment ;  they are almost, but not entirely, irrelevant in the context of the urgently required transformation of conventional fire engineering.  For anybody who cannot see the broad, beautiful landscape beyond codes and regulations … this SFE Road Map is definitely not for you.  For those who can see, your constant companion … your compass … will be a Personal Code of Ethics.


Essential Considerations Before Starting Out On The Road …

1.  World Trade Centre Attacks in New York City, on 11 September 2001.  Two sets of important Recommendations were issued by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2005 and 2008.  Not only is the implementation of these still incomplete, but the solid progress which has been made e.g. on Firefighter Safety, is continuously under threat from vested interests.  Other jurisdictions have tended to ignore the Recommendations.  SFE takes full account of this Extreme Man-Made Event.

2.  Grenfell Tower Fire in London, on 14 June 2017.  Evidence at the Official Inquiry continues to shock and horrify ;  the entire fire safety regulatory edifice in England is dysfunctional, and it poses a real and serious danger to Public Health and Safety.  Inquiry Phase 1 Recommendations were issued in 2019.  Already, the Recommendation concerning Evacuation for Vulnerable Building Users & PEEP’s (#33.22 e and f) has been discarded by AHJ’s … and it has also been stated (#34.14) that as everything about the single narrow staircase in the Tower appeared to be OK, it will not be investigated in Inquiry Phase 2 … a sure sign of dysfunctional dysfunction !  SFE sees beyond these major flaws.

3.  Sustainable Buildings   Il Bosco Verticale Towers in Milano … this exciting Project, designed by Stefano Boeri and completed in October 2014, has become the International Icon for innovative / environment-friendly construction.  These new approaches to building design are posing enormous fire safety challenges.   [ Remember back … was it 15 years before fire codes were able to ‘solve’ the Atrium in buildings ? ]   SFE, however, must cope with this extraordinary level of architectural creativity ;  and Fire Engineering Practitioners must be capable of active participation, collaboratively, within Project Design/Construction Teams.

Looking past the Milan Project … it is important for the reader to experience a more rounded flavour of where the exciting synergy between Creative Design and the Inclusive Language of Sustainability is at present, and where it is tending to go …

UN HABITAT ~ World Cities Report 2022 ~ ‘Envisaging the Future of Cities’ …

Ar. Vincent Callebaut, France …

Ar. Stefano Boeri, Italy …

Ar. Olando DeUrrutia, Spain …

4.  Building Energy Performance Rating Schemes   Under enormous environmental and political pressures, the headlong rush to conserve energy in buildings, and to make them more energy efficient … especially after the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine … is proceeding in blissful ignorance of fire safety and necessary independent technical controls.  Measurement of real building performance, after energy refurbishment has been completed, is generally avoided.


The Road Ahead … From Gro Harlem Brundtland To Reliable Fire Statistics …


Sustainable Fire Engineering Road Map

Realizing a Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Built Environment for All

(Download PDF File, 36 Overheads, 2.94 Mb)

This SFE Road Map takes account of feedback received after it was first presented on the LinkedIn Group … Sustainable Fire Engineering (#SFE) Network ~ #EthicalDesign #BeyondCodes #DefenceInDepth #SIA … from July to October 2022.  Further updated and revised in May 2023.




#Twitter (#X) … @sfe2016dublin …

#SFE #RoadMap #SustainableFireEngineering #Reality #Reliability #FireInducedProgressiveDamage #WTC911 #SustainableDevelopment #SustainableBuildings #GrenfellTowerFire #ClimateDisruption #ClimateSynergies #UNFCCC #ClimateAdaptation #IPCC #Cities #FireCodes #Architecture #FireEngineering #SpatialPlanning #DesignTools #BIM #BeyondCodes #Ethics #CodeOfEthics #EthicalDesign #CJWalsh #DefenceInDepth #FireSafety4ALL #VulnerablePeople #Firefighters #FFsafety #Creativity #Wildfires #Bushfires #IncendiBoschivi #IncendiosForestales #OrmanYangınları #IncêndiosFlorestais #FeuxDeForêt #Resilience #Sustainability #SustainabilityImplementation #SustainableDesignInternational #Redundancy #SIA #ClimateTippingPoints #SustainabilityImpactAssessment #SocialTransformation #SocialWellbeing4ALL

2016 Dublin Code of Ethics – Design, Engineering, Construction & Operation of a Safe, Resilient & Sustainable Built Environment for ALL

2020-09-22:  Adopted at the International Fire Conference: SFE 2016 DUBLIN ( …

Many years have passed since the 1972 UN Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment and the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.  In 2016, Sustainable Development remains an intricate, open, dynamic and continually evolving concept.  The guide and driver for frontline practitioners, policy and decision makers must be a personal Code of Ethics … an integrated and inter-related whole which cannot be reduced to fixed rules inviting game playing and ‘trade-offs’.  After working with this Code, it may be necessary to expand on and discuss its principles and/or some of the issues raised … not to narrow its focus, but to broaden interpretation.


2016 Dublin Code of Ethics – Design, Engineering, Construction & Operation of a Safe, Resilient & Sustainable Built Environment for All   (Download PDF File, 91 Kb)



The realization of a Safe, Inclusive, Resilient & Sustainable Built Environment demands a concerted, collaborative, very creative and widely trans-disciplinary effort at national, local, regional and international levels across the whole planet – Our Common Home.  The informed operation of appropriate legislation, administrative procedures, performance monitoring and targeting, and incentives/disincentives, at all of these levels, will facilitate initial progress towards this objective … but not the quantity, quality or speed of progress necessary.  Our time is running out !

This Code of Ethics applies … for those who subscribe to its values … to policy and decision makers, and the many different individuals and organizations directly and indirectly involved in the design, engineering, construction, and operation (management and maintenance) of a Safe, Resilient & Sustainable Built Environment for ALL.

The Purpose of this Code of Ethics is to guide the work of competent individuals and organizations in a context where incomplete or inadequate legislation, administrative procedures and incentives/disincentives exist … but, more importantly, where they do not exist at all … and, amid much confusion and obfuscation of the terms, to ensure that implementation is authentically ‘sustainable’, and reliably ‘safe’ and ‘resilient’ for every person in the receiving community, society or culture … before it is too late !




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#Sustainability #HumanRights #ResponsibleNeeds #Ethics #ValueSystem #SustainableDesign #Creativity #BuiltEnvironment #ClimateDisruption #CascadeEffect #CulturalHeritage #SocialSolidarity #FireEngineering #Construction #CJWalsh #DublinCodeOfEthics #SustainableDevelopment #PersonCentred #LocalContext #BeyondCodes #VulnerablePeople #PwAL #FireSafety4ALL #Accessibility4ALL #SocialWellbeing4ALL

Real-Time Data Portal for U.N. Sustainable Development Goals ~ Key To Effective Implementation !

2020-07-23:  Time is fast running out.  You have to ask yourself: “Do I feel lucky ?  Am I a GreenWasher – do I enjoy playing with numbers, relaxing with estimates having tenuous links to reality, cheating the ‘system’ (just like Germany’s Dieselgate), or convincing myself (and everybody else) that progress is being made when the evidence clearly shows that things are getting worse … “or an Implementor ??” – establishing meaningful Benchmarks, setting (and iteratively re-setting) ambitious Performance Targets using reliable, up-to-date data and statistics, then closely monitoring Positive Progress, and reporting Real Verifiable Results …


Are you a GreenWasher … or an Implementor ????


In 2015 … 193 World Leaders, representing all of the United Nations’ Member States, adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) … placing our world, i.e. its people, environment and limited resources, on a path towards a more sustainable future … more specifically, aiming to ‘free humanity from poverty, secure a healthy planet for future generations, and build peaceful, inclusive societies as a foundation for ensuring lives of dignity for all’.

To properly track the implementation of these consensus goals … reliable, quality, and timely data is vital.  Yet, five years later too much of the data is still out-of-date or unavailable, and too many people are being left behind in the numbers.  Half of the data used to measure the SDG Target Performance Indicators are missing.  Two-thirds of poverty data from Sub-Saharan Africa and global deforestation figures are five years out-of-date.  Only 100 countries in the world have nationally-representative data on violence against women, and more than 25 million refugees around the world go uncounted in national statistics.


Colour image showing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (#SDG’s) unanimously adopted in U.N. Resolution A/RES/70/1: Transforming Our World – 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015.  Click image to enlarge.


With only 10 years left to achieve the SDG Targets, there is a critical need NOW for a Data Platform which makes quality and timely data for the SDG’s Accessible to All, improves knowledge of geospatial tools and Geographic Information Systems (#GIS), and builds capacity to use these tools to support global policy and decision making …

SDG’s Today: Global Portal for Real-Time Data

In partnership with the Environmental Systems Research Institute (#ESRI) and National Geographic … SDG’s Today: Global Portal for Real-Time Data … is a platform developed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (#SDSN).  This one-of-a-kind open access data platform has the potential to revolutionize how we understand and communicate the urgency of the SDG’s and how solutions are developed, by providing a much-needed virtual space where key stakeholders from around the world can access and engage with timely data (updated annually or in more frequent intervals) on the SDG’s, and learn how to use the data effectively to push Agenda 2030 forward.  The platform also houses GIS training and education resources and supports countries and other institutions to produce, share, and engage with the data to help ensure that, together, we meet the global goals by 2030.


Using Data To Effectively Implement The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development …

2020 Research Paper: Towards Nexus-Based Governance – Defining Interactions Between Economic Activities and Sustainable Development Goals   (Download PDF File, 2.56 MB)


Using Data To Check The Status of Claimed Progress Within The European Union …

European Court of Auditors – Special Report 11 – April 2020

EU Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Greater Focus on Cost-Effectiveness Still Needed   (Download PDF File, 4.52 MB)

The Court of Auditors assessed whether EU co-funded energy efficiency investments in buildings had cost-effectively helped the EU towards meeting its 2020 energy saving target.  The Auditors concluded that operational programmes and project selection were not driven by a cost-effectiveness rationale.  While Member States required buildings to be renovated to save a minimum of energy and improve their energy rating, this sometimes happened at a high cost.  Because of a lack of comparative assessment of project merits and of minimum/maximum thresholds for cost-effectiveness, projects delivering higher energy savings or other benefits at lower cost were not prioritised.  In overly-polite language, they recommend improving the planning, selection and monitoring of investments to improve the cost-effectiveness of spending.

With all of the Hot Air and Ridiculous Hoopla about improving Energy Conservation and Efficiency in New Buildings (Green, BREEAM, PassivHaus, LEED, nZEB, etc., etc.) … by far the biggest Energy Problem is with Europe’s Existing Building Stock.  This Auditor’s Report shows that Progress in Meeting Agreed EU Targets is dismal, and there is still a cynical approach in Member States to the use of EU Funding …

Coloured Image / Graph showing distance by the EU-27 to Agreed 2020 and 2030 Targets for primary energy consumption.  Click image to enlarge.


Coloured Image / Pie Chart showing final energy consumption by EU Sector for 2017.  Click image to enlarge.


Coloured Image / Graph showing how EU Funds were used merely to substitute national funding in Ireland’s Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme.  Consequently, there was no scale-up in Energy Efficiency Projects.  Click image to enlarge.


Coloured Image / Graph showing 2018 Actual Achievements and 2023 Targets for the number of EU Households with an improved energy consumption classification.  Progress is worse than dismal !  Click image to enlarge.


Coloured Image / Graph showing 2018 Actual Achievements and 2023 Targets for the number of EU Public Buildings with decreased primary energy consumption.  Progress is abysmal !  Click image to enlarge.




#Twitter … @walshcj69 …

#Sustainability #SustainableDevelopmentGoals #SDG’s #SDGimplementation #SDGtargets #SDGperformanceIndicators #HumanRights #ResponsibleNeeds #RealTimeData #EffectiveImplementation #Governance #GreenWashing #Implementor #EU #EnergyEfficiency #EUcourtOfAuditors

SDI’s 2020 Unified Terminology – Concepts, Terms & Definitions

Update 2020-09-01:  Although the term ‘Vulnerable People’ remains unaltered, I considered it wise, and very necessary bearing in mind the obvious myopia in the mainstream health, safety and design worlds … clearly demonstrated by the 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire in England, and this current CoronaVirus / CoVID-19 Global Pandemic … to include references to specific social groups …

Vulnerable People:  Those people – in a community, society or culture – who are most at risk of being physically, psychologically or sociologically wounded, hurt, damaged, injured, or killed … and include, for example, people with disabilities, young children, people with health conditions, frail older people, women in late pregnancy, refugees, migrants, prisoners, the poor, and homeless.


2020-07-20:  So many diverse design disciplines and interested groups are involved in the realization, operation and maintenance of a Safe, Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable Human Environment (built, social, economic, virtual, and institutional) … that the use of simple, easily assimilated language and precise, harmonized technical terminology must be widely exercised.  For the effective application of Building Information Modelling (BIM), this is particularly important.

And concerning Fire Engineering, it is not clear when the practice began, but defining a concept simply in terms of performance in a ‘standard test fire’ is entirely inadequate, and fails to explain the actual meaning of the concept.


SDI’s 2020 Unified Terminology – Concepts, Terms & Definitions   (Download PDF File, 156 Kb)


This Terminology … a body of particular terms, each explaining and defining a single concept, covering inter-related building requirements, e.g. human health, accessibility and fire safety for all, firefighting, social rights, design, performance monitoring, and facility management … takes account of:

  1. Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA)
  2. WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)
  3. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
  4. U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  5. Environmental Impact.

Fire Engineering Terms … take account of the ‘realistic’ end condition, i.e. a real fire in a real building which is occupied or used by real people with varying behaviour and abilities in relation to self-protection, independent evacuation to an external place of safety remote from a fire building, and active participation in a building’s Fire Emergency Management Plan.

General Terms … are also included in order to facilitate a better understanding of:

  • the complexity of human behaviour and perception (visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile and proprioceptive) ;
  • the wide range of health conditions ;   and, more specifically
  • mental, cognitive and psychological impairments.




#Twitter … @walshcj69 …

#Sustainability #Terminology #FireEngineering #FireSafety4ALL #PwAL #PeopleWithActivityLimitations #HumanRights #Concepts #UDHR #unCRPD #Terms #Design #Buildings #Construction #Accessibility4ALL #ParticipationBarrier #Definitions #Firefighters #2017GrenfellTowerFire #Resilience #LifeCycle #whoICF #SIA #2001WTCattacks #HumanPerception #Panic #FireCompartmentation #PlaceOfSafety #Environmental Impact

2015 Dublin Declaration on ‘Fire Safety for All’ in Buildings – A Call to Action and Successful Implementation !

2020-07-15 …


2015 Dublin Declaration on ‘Fire Safety for All’ in BuildingsA Call to Action and Successful Implementation !   (Download PDF File, 106 Kb)


Within the professional discipline of Fire Engineering … either a building is Fire Safe, or it is not ;  the design philosophy of the Fire Engineer is irrelevant.  Similarly, building designers must now begin to think and act in the simple terms of a building being either Accessible, or not.  Too many pointless discussions, and too much petty squabbling, about constrained and constraining accessibility philosophies have wasted valuable time, energy and resources.


Colour photograph showing a typical, everyday scene in countries all over the world … a young person in a manual wheelchair, independently attempting to mount an external flight of steps in front of a building entrance.
Reality Check: A Universal, Dismally Inaccessible Built Environment !
Click image to enlarge.


Building Accessibility encompasses the complete cycle of Independent Use, in a dignified manner and on an equal basis with others … and includes the approach, entry and use of a building, its facilities and information systems … Egress during normal / ambient conditions and removal from the vicinity of the building … and most importantly, safe Evacuation during a fire emergency to a Place of Safety which is remote from the building and reached by way of an accessible route.


Colour image illustrating the difference between Equality and Equity.  Everybody is equal, and must be treated equally … but the measures necessary to achieve this in real life must, in many cases, be equitable.
Human Ability and Behaviour is a continuum … a gentle gradient on which every person functions and acts at different levels due to Environmental and Personal Factors.
Click image to enlarge.


To be Accessible, a building must meet a long and complex list of inter-related Accessibility & Usability Design Criteria sufficiently well, i.e. the building must work properly for building occupants and users.  The design target is Effective Accessibility … not half-baked accessibility, partial accessibility, the minimal accessibility required by building codes, or token accessibility.

On the other hand, and taking additional account of the current CoronaVirus / CoVID-19 Pandemic … the construction and operation target must be Successful Implementation, i.e. the finished building design, as constructed and operated, must provide a consistently high degree of safety, convenience and comfort for potential occupants and users during the lifetime of the building.


Colour photograph showing the post-fire scene of a devastated Lift Lobby with an abandoned Manual Wheelchair.  25 people died and 123 were injured in a Jazan Hospital Fire, Saudi Arabia, which occurred on 24 December 2015.  The fire broke out in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and Maternity Ward.  Click photograph to enlarge.


People with Activity Limitations … those people, of all ages, who are unable to perform, independently and without assistance, basic human activities or tasks – because of a health condition or physical / mental / cognitive / psychological impairment of a permanent or temporary nature … are a significant vulnerable group in every community, in every society, and include people with disabilities, children under the age of 5 years, frail older people, women in the later stages of pregnancy, and people with health conditions, etc.

Fire Safety Codes and Standards for healthy, able-bodied, agile adults using buildings exist in almost every country ;  these people can take for granted that buildings are fire safe for them !

However, guidelines concerning Fire Safety for People with Activity Limitations / Fire Safety for ALL (if those guidelines exist at all) are usually technically inadequate, entirely tokenistic and/or blatantly discriminatory ;  these people must assume that there is a serious risk to their safety every time they enter a building.  For them, this is a very significant barrier to their personal development, participation and social inclusion ;  it is a clear and present violation of their human rights !

Forcefully mandated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted on 13 December 2006 … the UN CRPD’s Principal Aim is to ensure that the Human Environment (social, built, economic, virtual, and institutional) is sufficiently accessible to facilitate the safe exercise and enjoyment of those rights, protections and freedoms set down in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and subsequent International Rights Instruments, by a vulnerable and major section of the population in all of our communities.


Colour photograph showing the scene of a raging fire in London, on 14 June 2017.  72 people died and many more were injured in this 24 Storey, 120 Apartment Residential Building.  Vulnerable People, including people with activity limitations, refugees, and immigrants with a poor grasp of the English language lived at various heights throughout the Tower.
A serious design flaw in this building (among many, many others), i.e. a lack of Effective Accessibility … only one narrow, atrociously detailed staircase serving the entire building, lifts/elevators which were useless in a fire emergency, and no areas of rescue assistance adjoining the staircase … had a profoundly negative impact on Firefighter Operations and Safety on the night of 14 June and the following day.
Click photograph to enlarge.


It is time to Entirely Eradicate current obsolete, professionally negligent, incompetent and ridiculous approaches to Building Design which result in …

Fire Safety for SOME but not for ALL

Accessibility for SOME but not for ALL

Intricately inter-related … ‘Fire Safety for All’ is a vital component of ‘Accessibility for All’.


Colour image / Presentation overhead showing how building designers face a critical choice in everyday practice … Legal or Ethical … Beyond Codes ?!?!?
Legal Compliance is Never Enough.
Click image to enlarge.


Fire Safety for All – Nobody Left Behind !



#Twitter … @firesafety4all …

#Sustainability #SocialInclusion #FireEngineering #FireSafety4ALL #PwAL #PeopleWithActivityLimitations #HumanRights #UN #UDHR #unCRPD #Ethics #Design #Buildings #Construction #Accessibility4ALL #ParticipationBarrier #FireSafety #Firefighters #FFsafety #GrenfellTowerFire #JazanHospitalFire #Resilience #LifeCycle #whoICF #CoronaVirus #CoVID19 #NobodyLeftBehind #2015DublinDeclaration

2004 Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing

2020-04-28:  A look back at a Benchmark Document, and an Introduction written nearly 16 years ago.  So many years, so much valuable time has been wasted …


2004 Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing  (Download PDF File, 306 Kb)

The words ‘green’, ‘environmental’, ‘ecological’ and ‘sustainable’ are becoming part of everyday language in the Developed World, but are frequently interchanged without understanding.  To date, however, the concept of Sustainable Development has been hijacked by Environmentalists.  For example, no connection at all may be seen between a ‘sustainable’ building and ensuring that it can be safely and conveniently entered and used by ordinary people.

In other parts of the World, the ambiguous WCED / Brundtland Definition of Sustainable Development is being systematically rejected ;  the concept is viewed as an unaffordable luxury and/or as a means of continued domination and control by the ‘North’.  Yet, sustainability must be a global compact.

In this intolerant and more fundamentalist 21st Century, the United Nations System, International Law, and Social Justice continue to come under sustained attack.  And the Beslan School Tragedy* demonstrates that it is far more hazardous for disadvantaged, vulnerable and indigenous peoples in every society.

[ * The 2004 Beslan School Massacre … … and its commemoration 10 years later … ]

Some specific objectives for the 2004 Rio Declaration were as follows …

  • To present a 2nd Generation Definition of Sustainable Development which is more acceptable to the Developing World ;
  • To restore primacy to the Social Aspects of Sustainable Development … and particularly the ethical values of Social Justice, Solidarity and Inclusion-for-All ;
  • To embed the concept of the ‘Person’ in Sustainable Development … rather than the fleeting reference to ‘People’ which too often results in Disadvantaged, Vulnerable and Indigenous Groups being left behind ;
  • To signal one of the main challenges of Sustainable Development ahead – which will be to establish a framework of horizontal co-ordination at the many institutional levels … and between the many actors and end users … in the human environment.

Adopted in December 2004, at the Brazil Designing for the 21st Century III Conference, the Rio Declaration consists of a Preamble, 10 Principles and 5 Appendices ;  its central concern involves People with Activity Limitations (2001 WHO ICF).

This Declaration extols implementation, and the targeting and monitoring of ‘real’ performance – as opposed to ‘imagined’ or ‘paper’ performance.




#Sustainability #SocialDevelopment #WCED #Brundtland #UN #SocialInclusion #InternationalLaw #SocialJustice #BeslanSchoolTragedy #VulnerablePeople #Disability #FrailOlderPeople #PwAL #2001whoICF #2004rioDeclaration #Brazil #RioDeJaneiro #SIA #GlobalPartnership #Design #SpatialPlanning #Engineering #IndustrialDesign #Accessibility4ALL

Grenfell Inquiry Recommendations (3) – Fire Alarms !!

Previous Posts In This New Series …

2019-10-31:  Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry’s Phase 1 Report – Information

2019-11-11:  Grenfell Inquiry Recommendations (1) – Vulnerable People ?

2019-12-21:  Grenfell Inquiry Recommendations (2) – Fire Emergency Plans !


2020-03-23:  The Grenfell Fire Inquiry’s Phase 1 Recommendations (Part V in Volume 4 of the Phase 1 Report), were published on 30 October 2019.  The initial issues covered in those Recommendations are fragmentary, lack depth and coherence … and in the case of Fire Alarms, with just one indirect reference to them in Paragraph #33.22 … they are in serious error …


Colour image showing the Volume 4 Cover Page of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 Report.  The Phase 1 Recommendations are contained in Chapter #33, on Pages 771-780.  Click to enlarge.

[ Paragraph #33.22 ]  There were no plans in place for evacuating Grenfell Tower should the need arise.  I therefore recommend:

d. that all high-rise residential buildings (both those already in existence and those built in the future) be equipped with facilities for use by the fire and rescue services enabling them to send an evacuation signal to the whole or a selected part of the building by means of sounders or similar devices ;



1.  A Fire Alarm (more precisely from here on, a Fire Detection & Warning System) is a critical safety feature in all buildings … ALL BUILDINGS … from the smallest and most simple, to the biggest and most complex … no exceptions !!

In order to survive in a fire emergency, Vulnerable Building Users need more time to react, and evacuate, than other occupants/users.  The valuable time provided by early, accurate and precise detection is the only way to effectively facilitate this.  The ‘Required Time’ to prepare for evacuation depends on many factors, e.g. building complexity, familiarity of users with evacuation routes, range and severity of user activity limitations, etc.

It follows, therefore, that if building occupants/users have to wait 15, or 20, or 30 minutes before firefighters arrive at the fire scene (Full Response Time*) and ‘an evacuation signal to the whole or a selected part of the building’ is only then sent by those firefighters … all of that valuable evacuation time for vulnerable building users has been lost.  This is ridiculous, and makes no sense whatsoever.  This Recommendation must be rejected out of hand, and ignored !

[ *Full Response Time: The time interval from the receipt of an emergency communication at the primary public safety answering point (#PSAP) to when emergency response units are initiating action or intervening to control a fire incident. ]


Colour photograph showing the Single, Narrow Staircase (1.040 metres in width between a handrail on one side of the staircase and a bare wall on the other side) in London’s Grenfell Residential Tower.  This staircase, which was inadequately protected from fire, heat and smoke, was not wide enough to facilitate the ‘contraflow’ circulation of firefighters entering, while occupants evacuated at the same time.  Without a Fire Alarm in the building, occupants could not have known that a serious Fire Emergency was in progress … especially Vulnerable Building Users accommodated high up in the Tower … and they remained in place (‘stayed put’).  Once firefighters arrived at the scene, occupant evacuation using this staircase became impossible or extremely difficult.  Click photograph to enlarge.

Important Note:  In Chapter #34: ‘Looking Ahead to Phase 2’ of Moore-Bick’s Phase 1 Report, Volume 4 … Paragraph #34.14 states …

A question was raised about the width of the stairs, given that they provided the sole means of access to the upper floors of the tower for firefighters as well as the sole means of escape for the occupants.  However, the stairs appear to have complied with requirements of the legislation in force at the time of their construction and the expert evidence supports the conclusion that they had sufficient capacity to enable all the occupants of the building to escape within a reasonable time.  This aspect of the building will not, therefore, be the subject of further investigation in Phase 2.’

Astounding !  Absurd !!  FUBAR !!!


All Fire Emergency Warning Systems must be designed to accommodate People with Hearing Impairments.  Audible and visual warning devices must be provided together, as a single combined unit.  This is particularly important in noisy and isolated building spaces, e.g. bathrooms, small meeting rooms.  Vibrating devices, such as pagers or mobile phones, can be integrated into a building’s fire emergency warning system in order to provide any individual with a tactile emergency alert.

Colour photograph showing a single combined visual-audible Fire Emergency Warning Device.  Click to enlarge.

Important Note:  Audible sounders, on their own, are never a sufficient Fire Emergency Warning !


2.  The Purpose of a Fire Emergency Warning System is to provoke calm, efficient and adaptable evacuation movement by ALL building users/occupants at the earliest possible stage in a fire incident, without causing user confusion, disorientation or panic. In all building types, therefore, a reliable, informative and accessible fire emergency warning system must be installed, and such a system must always have a fire protected electrical supply.

Colour image showing the movement of building occupants and users.  The purpose of a Fire Emergency Warning System is to provoke calm, efficient and adaptable evacuation movement by ALL building occupants at the earliest possible stage in a fire incident, without causing user confusion, disorientation or panic.  During a Fire Emergency, STANDARD MOVEMENT TIMES DO NOT EXIST.  Click image to enlarge.


3.  To provoke a Calm Response from Building Users … the output from Fire Emergency Warning Devices, e.g. light, sound and messages, must be adapted to the local context of people and building surroundings.

Fire Emergency Audible Warnings … A sufficient number of low-output audible sounders, i.e. between 60-80 dB, must be specified for effectiveness.  Small numbers of sounders with high output (in order to reduce costs) should never be specified, as this can lead to confusion, disorientation and panic attacks among some building users/occupants.  The output of sounders must be adapted to suit interior surroundings, e.g. in small spaces with hard surfaces a lower sound output will be adequate.

Colour image.  The output from Fire Emergency Audible Sounders must be between 60-80 dB.  Click image to enlarge.

Important Note:  When they are asleep, hearing-able children (around ten years of age and under) … and hearing-able older people (around 65 years of age and over) are more difficult to wake and rouse sufficiently for evacuation when alerted by an audible signal alone.

Fire Emergency Visual Warnings … Light strobes/beacons must be clearly visible.  To reinforce #1 above … light strobes/beacons must be placed in wash rooms and in other locations within buildings where people may be alone ; they must also be placed in noisy environments.

A sufficient number of low-output strobes/beacons must be specified for effectiveness.  Small numbers of strobes/beacons with high output (in order to reduce costs) should never be specified, as these produce a glare which may cause confusion, disorientation and panic attacks among some building users/occupants.  The light output of strobes/beacons must be adapted to suit interior surroundings, e.g. in dark rooms.

For light strobes/beacons, a slow rate of flash is important, i.e. no faster than once every two or three seconds, in order to encourage a calm response from building users/occupants and to avoid photosensitivity seizures.  Most importantly, the flash of one strobe/beacon must be synchronized with the flashes of all other light strobes/beacons in view.


Colour video clip (.gif).  The output from Fire Emergency Visual Strobes / Beacons must be no faster than one flash every two or three seconds.  The flash rate shown above is too fast !   Click to run video clip.

Fire Emergency Voice Message Warnings … Are essential to improve Warning Credibility.  In other words, building users are far less likely to sit around wondering, waiting to see whether this is a ‘real’ fire emergency, a false alarm, a practice evacuation, or an electrical error.  Verbal or voice messages must be short and contain appropriate warning information which is easily assimilated.  The speaker should be distinct and easy to understand.  Live messaging during a fire emergency is preferred over pre-recorded, standard messages.  In today’s multi-cultural social environment, messages must be transmitted in at least two to three different languages, as appropriate.

Fire Emergency Directional Warnings … Combination sounder, visible strobe/beacon, and voice messaging Fire Emergency Warning Devices are now a mainstream technology, are readily available, and are being specified in new and existing buildings.


Colour image showing a combination Fire Emergency Directional Audible Sounder, with Voice Messaging capability.  Click image to enlarge.

Audible directional signalling must be installed when dealing with difficult building configurations, e.g. in large open office layouts/spaces with minimal signage … where building users/occupants are unfamiliar with their surroundings in modern shopping centres/malls and other complex building types … or visibility of high-level signage may be reduced because of smoke logging.

Directional sounders, which guide building users during a Fire Evacuation towards Exits, Areas of Rescue Assistance and Lift/Elevator Lobbies, must be positioned at carefully chosen, suitable locations.  Once reached, a directional sounder must also have a voice messaging capability in order to inform people about the next phase of evacuation.

4.  Fire Emergency Warning Systems must be Accessible (for People with Activity Limitations), i.e. capable of transmitting a warning in many formats in order to ensure that all users/occupants perceive and act upon the warning in a calm manner and, thereafter, that effective evacuation movement commences without delay. Warning Credibility improves in direct relation to the type and number of different warning formats.


As well as indirectly referring to Fire Detection and Warning Systems, Paragraph #33.22 in Moore-Bick’s Phase 1 Recommendations has some other things to say about Evacuation.  So this is an opportune moment to discuss some practical and human issues concerning Fire Emergency Evacuation … and, straight away, to deal with an unexpected consequence arising from the current CoronaVirus/CoVID-19 Emergency …


There have been widely reported instances, in many countries, of panic buying in shops because of the 2020 CoronaVirus/CoVID-19 Emergency … but the photograph below illustrates an example of a panic reaction by building management.  This appears to be a crime scene … the yellow and black tape is so dramatic.  In a real Fire Emergency, many building users/occupants will be reluctant to use this final fire exit ; they will not have the time to read the small print on a notice ; they will attempt to re-trace their path of evacuation and find another exit.

Colour photographs showing how, as a panic reaction to the 2020 CoronaVirus/CoVID-19 Emergency, a Final Fire Exit has been blocked off from normal, everyday use.  Click to enlarge.

This panic reaction by building management IS a serious impediment to Fire Evacuation !

Whatever the Motives of Building Management …

  • in countries which have Fire Codes / Regulations, this action is illegal ;   and
  • in these days, when a wide range of ‘smart’ technologies is readily available … this action is inexcusable.



A Skill is the ability of a person, resulting from competent training and regular practice, to carry out complex, well-organized patterns of behaviour efficiently and adaptively, in order to achieve some end or goal.  All building occupants/users must be skilled for evacuation to an external ‘place of safety’, which is at a safe and remote distance from the fire building.  Practice fire evacuations must be carried out sufficiently often to equip building users, particularly vulnerable users, with this skill, i.e. at least once every six months ; in complex building types, practices should be carried out more often.  Prior notification to occupants/users, and regular scheduling of practice evacuations should be avoided.

Familiarity with Fire Evacuation Routes will be fostered and greatly improved by means of normal, everyday use by occupants/users.  This is an important task for pro-active Building Management in existing buildings … and an important aspect of new building design for Architects and Fire Engineers.

While the transmission of fire emergency warnings in many formats will increase Warning Credibility, close observation of past tragic ‘real’ fire events, e.g. the WTC 9-11 Attacks in New York City, shows that initiation of evacuation and the actual process of evacuation itself can be problematic.  An interesting, easily assimilated and user-targeted skills programme of training should incorporate practical solutions to deal with the following typical problems:

  1. Fire Emergency Preparedness: Irregular attendance of building occupants/users at fire prevention and safety training sessions, and participation in practice fire evacuations. Users not being familiar with a building’s fire emergency management plan and not knowing who is in charge … not using a building’s fire evacuation route(s), particularly staircases, during practices … or having no information about where to assemble after evacuating … or, once at a place of safety, not having any head count or identification process ;
  2. Delaying Activities Inside The Fire Building: Once building occupants/users decide to evacuate, but before moving to evacuate, they gather personal effects … seek out friends/co-workers … search for others … make phone calls/send tweets … finish tasks/turn off computers … wait around for instructions … change shoes … and try to obtain permission to leave ;
  3. Delaying Activities Outside The Fire Building: Once outside the building’s final fire exit, but before moving directly to a place of safety, building occupants/users stop to see what is happening … look for friends/co-workers … look for a phone … do not know where to go … or, within the ‘danger zone’ of the fire building, stop to receive medical attention.

It may seem obvious that Fire Evacuation Routes must also be Accessible (for People with Activity Limitations), which also makes routes much safer for every other building user … and sufficiently wide to accommodate Contraflow (emergency access by firefighters or rescue teams into a building and towards a real fire, while building users are still moving away from the fire and evacuating the building) … a harsh lesson learned from the 2001 WTC 9-11 Attacks and the 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire. Since they are new, strange and unusual for many building designers, and most fire engineers … these aspects of building performance are overlooked in nearly every building.

Practice Evacuations should include exercise of the buddy system ; fire safety fittings, e.g. portable fire extinguishers ; and fire evacuation devices intended for use by people with activity limitations which will require more intensive training.


Colour image showing a range of personal Facilitation / Mobility Aids.  People with Activity Limitations must be allowed, and positively encouraged, to keep these Aids during practice and real fire evacuations.  Prior meaningful consultation (see below) is essential.  Click to enlarge.

Important Note:  During fire emergencies, People with Activity Limitations must be permitted to keep possession of their own personal Facilitation / Mobility Aids.



The actual people who use and occupy buildings are individuals.  They are different from each other, and they each have a different range of abilities (in relation to self-protection, independent evacuation to an external place of safety remote from a fire building, and active participation in a building’s fire emergency management plan), behaviour and manner of perceiving their surroundings.  Two apparently similar people will also show variations in how they react to and behave in any specific situation, particularly a fire emergency.

Ability / Disability is a Continuum – a gentle gradient on which every person functions and acts at different levels due to personal and environmental, i.e. external, factors.

In situations of severe stress, e.g. during a fire emergency in a building, where there is a lack of preparedness for such an event, a lack of familiarity with evacuation routes, lack of reliable evacuation information, lack of competent leadership and clear direction, and the presence of smoke, user/occupant confusion, disorientation and panic will occur.  Standard evacuation movement times will also be non-existent.  In addition, people with activity limitations must then deal with many physical barriers which routinely impede their evacuation from buildings, e.g. fire resisting doorsets which are difficult to open, steps along evacuation routes and at final fire exits.

In the case of people with a mental or cognitive impairment, there is a particular need to encourage, foster and regularly practice the adaptive thinking which will be necessary during evacuation a real fire incident.

People with respiratory health conditions will not be able to enter or pass through smoke.  People with visual impairments will require continuous, linked tactile and/or voice information during the whole process of fire evacuation.  People with psychological impairments, i.e. vertigo and agoraphobia, will be unable to use fire evacuation staircases with glass walls in high-rise buildings.  Because of the stigma still associated with disability in many countries, some users/occupants who will need assistance during a fire emergency will be reluctant to self-identify beforehand.  Other people may not even be able to recognize that they have an activity limitation or a health condition.

Meaningful Consultation with a person known to occupy or use a building, for the purposes of receiving his/her active co-operation and informed consent (involving a personal representative, if necessary), is an essential component of adequate pre-planning and preparation for a fire emergency.

Building Designers, Fire Engineers and Firefighters should be aware of the following human conditions:

Agoraphobia: A fear of open spaces.

Commentary: Agoraphobia is one of the most commonly cited phobic disorders of people seeking psychiatric or psychological treatment. It has a variety of manifestations, e.g. a deep fear of leaving a building, or of being caught alone in some public place. When placed in threatening situations, agoraphobics may experience a panic attack.

Anosognosia: A neurological disorder marked by the inability of a person to recognize that he/she has an activity limitation or a health condition.

Dementia: Any degenerative loss of intellectual capacity, to the extent that normal and occupational activities can no longer be carried out.

Panic: A sudden overwhelming feeling of anxiety, which may be of momentary or prolonged duration.

Panic Attack: A momentary period of intense fear or discomfort, accompanied by various symptoms which may include shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations, trembling, sweating, nausea, and often a fear by a person that he/she is going mad.




#SFE #GrenfellTowerFire #FireSafety4ALL #NobodyLeftBehind #VulnerableBuildingUsers #PwAL #PwD #NeverStayPut #VulnerablePeople #Firefighters #FFsafety #FFhealth #2019GrenfellRecommendations #SFE #GrenfellTowerFireInquiry #London #FireResistingDoorsets #FireCompartmentation #FireProtection #FireEvacuation #MooreBick #FireEngineering #FireEngineers #IFE #England #RIBA #Design #Management #Construction #HighRiseResidentialBuildings #UDHR #HumanRights #unCRPD #Discrimination #AusterityKills #Justice4Grenfell #Contraflow #LocalFireServices #Skill4Evacuation #Resilience #CoronaVirus #CoVID19 #Panic #SIA