Is the UK insurance industry finally throwing more of its weight behind fire safety standards and thereby reducing losses from fires? After a decade during which the industry seemed to exert less direct influence on specifiers and businesses, it has come up with its own guide to fire safety in buildings - an enhanced Approved Document B. It succeeds the Design Guide previously published by the Fire Protection Association, but for the first time it integrates the provisions of Approved Document B with enhanced measures for increased building protection and business continuity. Copies are available from RIBA Bookshops.
I was beginning to wonder whether insurers had given up being a major player in fire safety. Just a few months ago, there was controversy over the relative merits and claims of mineral wool and PIR insulated panel suppliers and the approval scheme, LPS 118. A campaign drew in MPs and fire chiefs and subsequently resulted in a change to the wording in the Guide to the Fire Performance of Sandwich Panels, published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). But try as I might, could I get someone from the ABI to explain the rationale of the amended wording and perhaps bring an end to the very public criticisms being thrown around? I would have had better luck getting free car and home insurance for life!
Update on 12 December 08: More signs of insurers becoming more closely involved. Norwich Union urges companies to carry out fire risk assessments, but says these needn’t be over complicated. The company also provides businesses with guidance on all aspects of managing their risks on a dedicated website. And US-based FM Global has carried out research suggesting that companies that manage their risks properly are more likely to get higher ratings from investment analysts. Read more here.
Does anyone have more examples?