Dear reader,

The construction sector is changing significantly. More and more risks concerning the built environment are being discussed, legislations amended, and requirements tightened.

In the Netherlands a new law has passed through parliament focusing on the quality of construction work. Commissioning parties will get a greater assurance of receiving the contractually agreed quality. A new distribution of responsibilities and liabilities needed to be defined. It is evident that contractors face new obligations under changing types of contracts. The question is whether all parties are up to meeting their newly defined responsibilities.

The recently published Phase 1 report of the Grenfell Tower fire has reopened many discussions, addressing also the topic of responsibilities. Shortly after the dramatic fire, a national Dutch approach to investigating the fire safety of facades was launched. Forms and checklists were provided to determine fire safety risks. I have no objection to quick response to identified risks but the biggest risk – which is easily overlooked – is the way we react and how effective it is. Will procedural theoretical checklists and desk studies really make our built environment safer? Real life is not easily put into a model providing sufficient basis for a thorough risk assessment. And certainly not when such models are to be used by people who are generally less experienced.

Real fire safety engineering is much more than just that. It requires knowledge and experience of the behaviour of materials, constructions and buildings in the event of fire.

Efectis is able to support industry and authorities at a high professional level, both practical and theoretical, where doubt has arisen or there is a lack of proof. I’m proud to be part of it.

Contact: Harm Verster  –  harm.verster@efectis.com