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1st February 2021

Partner Insight: Fire Safety – The importance of building skills and knowledge from the ground up

The importance of fire safety has never been closer to the forefront of our minds after the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017. Building skills and knowledge from the ground up to sets a precedent for the standards within fire safety and what we’re doing to create skilled organisations, individuals and installers who are industry ready as well as meeting the businesses plans and strategies for an appropriate skills approach.

With reported systematic failings across the industry regarding building regulations, materials and fire safety, the construction industry needs to change for the better, to build safer buildings which meet regulations. In ‘Building A Safer Future’ Dame Judith Hackitt advocates for taking a ‘system approach’ to buildings, talking about how components and building elements work together to achieve complete performance. It’s not just this that plays a part in enforcing fire safety, it’s the professionals in all areas of the industry who are putting the pieces together.

The published report ‘Setting the Bar – A New Competence Regime for Building a Safer Future’ has outlined one of the recommendations that ‘all installers have a core knowledge of fire safety in buildings – training to be standardised and made mandatory’ as well as many industry-led recommendations to improve the competence of those procuring, designing, constructing, inspecting, assessing, managing and maintaining higher risk residential buildings. Through recognised industry bodies and approved training organisations, a wide scope of training as well as customised bespoke packages for businesses can be delivered.

With the mentality that ‘all installers have a core knowledge of fire safety’ it’s imperative these skills are taught, nurtured, developed and maintained. Fire safety training needs to be of the highest standard and continually meet regulations, therefore, it’s vital to have organisations, individuals and installers skilled to a high level and to acquire the vital competencies when it comes to fire safety.

As the only British Woodworking Federation (BWF) accredited provider in Wales, this brings a confidence that NPTC Group of Colleges are offering the highest standard of training to all organisations, individuals and installers. BWF continue to commit to improving education, raising awareness and uphold standards when it comes to fire door safety and the College are incredibly proud to share this ethos and provide this training. The Fire Academy is currently being developed to offer a one-stop conduit for fire training, through a collaborative partnership of recognised expertise and skills.

Jayne Jones, Business Development Manager at NPTC Group of Colleges, said: “The College has been able to look to developing exciting partnerships, to develop training to be at the forefront of the delivery of these skills in Wales and beyond.  We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with the City and County of Swansea in the delivery and assessment of Installation of Fire Doors training. This training is imperative in making sure fire doors are installed and meet industry set regulations, therefore being as safe as possible as well as helping to achieve the Government’s aim of improving fire safety within buildings and works which goes alongside the Welsh Government’s proposals to reform the fire safety of multi-occupied residential buildings.”

The College have provided courses to Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s), one of these being Tai Tarian based in Neath Port Talbot. Tai Tarian wanted to train their carpenters to meet the current industry set regulations and decided to upskill their team, therefore having competently trained staff and also having the confidence in knowing their housing accommodations are safe and fire doors installed to the highest standard of work.

Jaime Greig, Tai Tarian’s Senior Operations Officer, said: “Fire safety is something Tai Tarian takes seriously and has invested heavily over the last few years on upgrading its communal areas within our blocks of flats as well as full refurbishments of its Haven Housing (Independent Living Accommodation for over 55’s) – this has included fitting upgraded fire doors to the flats themselves as well as cross corridor fire doors.

This left us with a skills gap as our in house carpenters were not trained to the current regulations set by industry to undertake maintenance work on the doors that had been installed, and we did not want be sub-contract this work to retain better control of standard and response time.

By working with NPTC Group of Colleges we were able to provide training for a team of carpenters to upskill and undertake the maintenance work on our doors that also allows the organisation to make savings, as our planners can co-ordinate other work to be undertaken whilst at the premises to improve productivity and reduce our carbon footprint.”

For further information on the Fire Academy and fire safety training, please contact NPTC Group of Colleges’ Business Development Unit on business@nptcgroup.ac.uk.

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