Fire safety skills gap in construction leading to risks – how can Specwall help solve this problem?

Fire safety is one of the most important considerations for any architect, developer or contractor. If you’re not designing for fire safety, you’re designing for a potential disaster.

However, a skills gap has opened up that is leading to competent fire safety professionals being overloaded. This is causing delays which lead to fire safety risks on developments.

What’s more, the gaps in education and upskilling are likely to take a ‘good few years’ to fix according to Nick Pickles, systems and assurance leader for passive fire protection at Laing O’Rourke, who spoke at a London Build event.

He said: “There’s a huge amount of work that needs to be done. And it will either be done by people who are not deemed competent, or you will overload the people who are [and these] people become burnt out.

“And that’s when people make mistakes, they take their eye off the ball. If you do that once... we’re not talking about a leaky pipe, we’re talking about life safety.”

Clearly this is not something that can be allowed to go on – and it is clear that professionals across all disciplines need urgent training in the specification and selection of fire-safe construction products.

That might be easier said than done according to Mace technical compliance director Paul McSoley, who spoke at the same event. He noted that shared platforms are vital for sharing information on fire-critical products as expecting an individual to have competencies relating to every product in a wall, for example, would slow down the training process and expand the skills gap.

He continued, saying: “I think the expectation was that architects will be able to do all of this but they can’t do it unless other actors are passing that information across a common platform that you can actually see.”

This is a valid point, but in the area of walls there is a simple solution. Specwall panels are a quick-to-install advanced wall system which provides A1 and A2-rated systems that remove the complexity from any design are fire rated for a minimum of two hours.

Our system is straightforward and does not require the same level of complex knowledge due to the fact it is a single panel as opposed to a multilayered build-up with many different products involved.

Even better, it also helps eliminate the skills gap at the construction phase thanks to the simple, single-visit install process which can cut installation time by more than half.

As far as fire safety goes in buildings, choosing the right materials is paramount – but not all construction products are created equal.

Specwall is a great example of a transformative product which can enhance the fire safety of any build while also closing the skills gap at multiple points. Due to this, Specwall can also help you save time on your construction programme and get a range of other benefits on top, including making your development more sustainable.

As the skills gap in fire safe construction becomes more and more problematic in the coming years, choosing Specwall can help architects, developers and contractors to sidestep the worst effects and get on with creating fire safe buildings.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about Specwall today.

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