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Department for Education launches review of guidance on fire safety design in schools

Today (Friday, 8 March) the Department for Education is launching a call for evidence inviting views on how guidance around fire safety design in schools should be updated

Views will be welcomed from those who have a stake in the guidance, including architects, fire safety experts and building firms in order to make sure that the guidance we produce is fit for the future

The call for evidence will be open from 8 March to 31 May 2019. After that we will use the responses to produce draft guidance that will go out for consultation later in the year

Schools Minister Lord Agnew said:

“Schools are fundamentally safe places and it is imperative that parents and teachers have confidence that they are. It is vitally important that buildings continue to be built to the highest standards of fire safety.

“We want to work with experts from across the fire sector and construction industry to ensure our guidance takes into account the latest views and positions on fire safety in schools, which is why we are launching this call for evidence.”

Background information

All new buildings must be designed and constructed in line with building regulations set out by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) – these regulations are outlined in statutory guidance

To support the design and construction of schools the Department for Education produces non-statutory guidance based on the regulations. This guidance is known as Building Bulletin 100 (BB100)

In light of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 the Hackitt Review recommended that the building regulations, set out in the statutory guidance known as Fire Safety: Approved Document B (AD B) be reviewed, which MHCLG is doing

Because AD B is being reviewed, it is the right time to review and update BB100 to ensure it is in line with any proposed statutory guidance

Chubb to showcase lockdown procedures at Schools and Academies Show

Chubb Fire & Security Limited showcases its sophisticated ‘lockdown’ technology and fire safety solutions at the Schools and Academies Show 2019 to demonstrate its expertise in helping to safeguard students, staff and property in educational establishments. The exhibition will take place on 3-4 April 2019 at the London Excel. Chubb is a part of Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative HVAC, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies.

Lockdown, according to the National Counter Terror Security Office (NaCTSO), is a procedure designed to quickly restrict access and egress to all or part of a site or building through physical measures in response to threat, either external or internal.

Larger sites and higher student numbers mean these procedures have become increasingly important over recent years, with some councils across the UK insisting their schools have lockdown procedures in place. A key challenge for schools is the time it takes to communicate an emergency while also managing a situation and ensuring student safety.

Chubb’s solution uses sister company, EMS’ leading wireless technology to provide a simple, yet effective system which can be deployed quickly to provide a lockdown facility. Small, discreet wireless handsets are provided to teachers and staff, which can be connected to alarms, access control systems and gate mechanisms according to each individual site’s layout and requirements. When a hand-set is triggered, a pre-determined ‘cause and effect’ plan is activated resulting in a series of visual and audio alarms that support school staff in their emergency lockdown procedures.

Mark Pettit, director of strategy and business development, Chubb Fire & Security, said the show will be a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate Chubb’s understanding of the challenges facing educational establishments:

“There is a balance to be struck between providing the utmost in safety and providing a warm and welcoming environment,” he said. “Also, security, or a lack of it can impact Ofsted ratings, and there are no hard and fast rules about what security is required, rather a solution is tailored to the specific environment.

“Fire is also a critical consideration for any school, as fires disrupt the education of thousands of children annually. A well-maintained, effective fire solution is key, and particularly popular is wireless technology that causes minimal disruption during installation.” 

In addition to lockdown procedures, Chubb will showcase its capabilities in fire risk assessments, the installation and maintenance of fire, intruder, access control and CCTV systems, as well as the 24/7 monitoring of fire and security systems.

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