On February 4, the Warren Centre will host a fire safety engineering seminar at the University of Sydney to help identify the issues and present solutions with future steps to avoid the risk of urban fire disaster.

Urban Australia is not spared from the risk of fire, and we should not assume that distance from the bush offers absolute protection from the catastrophic impact of fire.  As the Grenfell disaster in the UK showed, the potential for urban fire fatalities could in fact be higher than those experienced by the recent raging bush fires.

The devastation that fire brings to the Australian landscape is all too well known from the events over the 2019-20 summer and only reinforce the need for proper regulation and planning for fire safety in apartment towers, commercial high rises and other high-risk buildings. 

The impetus for action should not be contained to bush fire management notes the Warren Centre spokesperson.

The Warren Centre report on the future roles of fire safety engineers to meet the recommendations of the Shergold-Weir inquiry was released at the end of 2019 as an interim report for industry consideration. Work is on-going to define the new competencies required to ensure all fire safety engineers can be nationally registered in the future.

Proper registration of engineers has been shown to improve safety, health and public welfare, as well as reinforce a system that gives employers, clients and the public confidence in the skills of engineers, are just some of the ideas the Centre has proposed.

Fire safety engineers can be undervalued in the design process of buildings, only being required to look at narrowly selected parts of the overall building and fire safety design.  It is little wonder then that building fire safety can be compromised or that owners and tenants are unclear about their responsibilities for fire safety management and maintenance, says the Centre.

Image: Lacrosse building fire in Melbourne / The Conversation.

Details for the seminar and the Warren centre research can be found out by clicking here.