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Successful Elaboration of ‘Fire Safety for All’ in China’s Bay Area !

2019-07-26:  This time last month, in June … I was visiting a hot and humid Hong Kong and Macau, only 1 hour apart on a sea ferry, in China’s Bay Area … to make a Keynote CPD Presentation on Fire Safety for All – Nobody Left Behind ! in the Hong Kong Institute of Architects … and following that up with a full morning Workshop and an afternoon Plenary Presentation at the large 2019 Rehabilitation International Asia-Pacific Region Conference, in Macau, later in the week.

2019 Rehabilitation International Asia-Pacific Conference (Macau) – 26 to 28 June

The Theme of this 3-Day Conference, in #Macau, was Together, Leaving No One Behind, In Disability-Inclusive & Rights-Based Progress.  Attended by 1,500 delegates from 30 different countries, the event also gathered together more than 250 international experts, practitioners, academics and researchers from all over the world.

Two Exhibitions, visited by 6,000 people, were organized alongside the Conference: 1) ‘Facilitation and Mobility Aids + Assistive Technologies’ … and 2) ‘Art’.

It is worthwhile noting  that #China ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (#CRPD) on 1 August 2008 … but has not yet signed, never mind ratified, the Convention’s Optional Protocol … a clear signal of current political intent which, hopefully, will change in the not-too-distant future.  Every year, Hong Kong and Macau submit reports to Beijing regarding CRPD compliance status and implementation.

Colour photograph showing CJ Walsh, as he addresses a Plenary Session on ‘Fire Safety for All – Nobody Left Behind !’ at the 2019 Rehabilitation International Asia-Pacific Region Conference, in Macau.  Click to enlarge.

Colour image showing the Matrix of ‘Fire Safety for All’ … a Priority Theme of Sustainable Fire Engineering … which is particularly concerned with the fire safety of #PwAL’s (People with Activity Limitations), but also with #PwD’s (People with Disabilities).  After the 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire, in London, it is important that these concerns stretch to include the #Poor, #Refugees and #Migrants.  Click to enlarge.

Without being able to use a #Lift/#Elevator for Fire Evacuation in a building … there is No Fire Safety for All !

In a developing fire incident, People with Activity Limitations must be provided with a safe, alternative evacuation route – just like all other building users – which is a Fundamental Principle of all Fire Engineering.  However … just one #User/#Occupant Fire Evacuation Lift/Elevator in a building is an empty, meaningless, Token Gesture !

Colour photograph showing the participants from 30 different countries who attended the 2019 Rehabilitation International Asia-Pacific Region Conference.  The venue was The Venetian Macau.  Click to enlarge.

‘Fire Safety for All’ must be considered at the start of the Design Process.  Colour image explaining how #Buildings must remain #Serviceable, not merely Structurally Stable, for a minimum Required Period of Time.  Click to enlarge.

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‘Fire Safety for All’ on Macau TV News … Friday night, 28 June 2019 … my friend and colleague, Ar Joseph Kwan (Architect & Accessibility Consultant based in Hong Kong), is the person being interviewed …

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Hong Kong Institute of Architects CPD Seminar – 24 June 2019

Continuing Professional Development (#CPD) is an important aspect of Ethical Architectural Practice.  Arriving drenched in a heavy rain downpour on the Monday evening … I was not surprised, therefore, to find that this Seminar was well attended by local architects.  Representatives of HK Authorities Having Jurisdiction (#AHJ’s), and Local Fire Services, as well as senior personnel involved in the development of the HK Code of Practice for Fire Safety in Buildings and the HK Barrier Free Design Manual were active participants in the panel discussion afterwards.

Colour image showing the Title Page of CJ Walsh’s Keynote CPD Presentation on ‘Fire Safety for All – Nobody Left Behind !’.  This Page also signals how ‘Fire Safety for All’ is integrated into the wider context of Sustainable Design.  Click to enlarge.

Colour photograph showing CJ Walsh, as he makes a Keynote CPD Presentation on ‘Fire Safety for All – Nobody Left Behind !’ in the offices of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects.  Click to enlarge.

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After Grenfell: Reliable Design, Supply & Construction Essential !

2017-10-10:  After the Grenfell Tower Fire Tragedy in London, on 14 June 2017, the integrity of the English Regulatory and Technical/Building Control Systems is now so compromised that a complete Systems Transformation is immediately required !   Closer to home, here in Ireland … what nobody is daring to say, even our tame media, is that Our Regulatory System is based very closely on the English System.  And Our Technical/Building Control System is purposefully under-resourced … so it is weak and ineffective.

Let there be no confusion … Priory Hall and Longboat Quay, both in Dublin, are just the tip of an enormous iceberg …

Colour photograph showing the Grenfell Tower Fire, in London … early in the morning, after dawn, on Wednesday, 14 June 2017.  Harsh, tragic Reality !  Click to enlarge.

So where do we start again ?

Reality – Reliability – Redundancy – Resilience !

With regard to Reliable Fire Engineering Related Design, Supply and Construction … this is how we must proceed …

  1. Design of the works is exercised by an independent, appropriately qualified and experienced architect/engineer/fire engineer, with design competence relating to the fire protection of buildings ;
  1. Supply of fire safety related construction products/systems to the works is undertaken by reputable organizations with construction competence, particularly in relation to the fire protection of buildings ;
  1. Installation/fitting of fire safety related construction products/systems is exercised by appropriately qualified and experienced personnel, with construction competence relating to the fire protection of buildings ;
  1. Supervision of the works is exercised by appropriately qualified and experienced personnel from the principal construction organization ;
  1. Regular inspections, by appropriately qualified and experienced personnel familiar with the design, and independent of both the design and construction organizations, are carried out to verify that the works are being executed in accordance with the design.

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PEEPS – Fundamentally Flawed & Discriminatory ?

2009-05-13:  The other day, I thought it might be interesting to google ‘PEEPS’.  The surprising results … page after page about the marshmallow candies (in English: sweets) which are sold in Canada and the USA.  I have learned something new !

 

What I was trying to find, however, was information relating to Personal Emergency Egress PlanS (PEEPS) for building users with disabilities.  PEEPS is widely referenced in British literature … and because certain people (who should know better) believe that the sun, moon and stars rise over London … it has also seeped into the Irish literature by some process of ‘preverted’ osmosis.  Most regrettable !

 

 

Yesterday, I discussed the inadequacy of developing Fire Safety Management Procedures … or, in fact, designing buildings … with the sole concern being people with disabilities.

 

Taking account of all the relevant, and different, types of European and National Legislation … the Rule of Thumb should always be People with Activity Limitations and Accessibility for All.

 

 

While fully understanding the need for a catchy acronym … ‘PEEPS’ does not respond well to internet searches on Google.

 

The next unfortunate feature of Personal Emergency Egress PlanS is the misguided use of Fire Engineering Terminology in English …

 

 

Evacuation from a Fire Building

To withdraw, or cause to withdraw, all users from a fire building in planned and orderly phased movements to a Place of Safety remote from the building.

 

Egress

Independent emergence of user(s) from a building, under normal ambient conditions, and removal from its immediate vicinity.

 

Escape

Avoidance of injury or harm which is threatened by imminent danger.

 

 

Instrumental Aggression

Aggression which is a means to another end, e.g. pushing someone aside to escape from danger.

 

 

Whenever, therefore, the terms ‘evacuation’, ‘egress’ and ‘escape’ are used interchangeably … on the same occasion … and without apparent rhyme or reason … it is time to call a halt to proceedings … and to scream “bullshit – moráns at work” !   Furthermore … the word ‘escape’ should never be used in connection with fire evacuation from a building.  BSI, CEN and ISO … please take careful note !!!

 

 

A Personal Emergency Egress Plan (PEEP) is fundamentally flawed and discriminatory because it is …

 

         person-specific ;  and

         location-specific.

 

 

Would any able-bodied building user tolerate being told that a document would have to be prepared before he/she could enter and use a building … and that this document would discuss only his/her use of the building … and that use only in specified parts of the building ???   No way !   Are you serious !!   What a joke !!!

 

The relevant, and different, types of European and Irish National Legislation require that buildings be accessible … covering approach to, entry, use, egress (under normal conditions), evacuation (in the event of a fire emergency) and removal from their immediate vicinity.

 

Within this legal environment … PEEPS is fundamentally flawed.  And … because building use is limited for specified individuals to specified areas only … PEEPS is also discriminatory.

 

 

If there is to be recourse to PEEPS, it should be in very exceptional circumstances only !   And, I can certainly think of one possible situation … existing buildings of historical, architectural and cultural importance … where anything more than moderate interference with the building fabric is both ill-advised and restricted … and everyone’s use of the building must be curtailed to some extent.

 

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