Engineers Australia hosted an event this week in conjunction with the NSW Chapter of the Society of Fire Safety (SFS) where the background research and methodology developed for The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) newest initiative, EFFECTTM – an External Façade Fire Evaluation and Comparison Tool – was outlined. The online based assessment methodology allows proactive evaluation of combustible façade fire risks in high-rise buildings. Fairview are committed to providing safe façade products and as such believe that initiatives such as EFFECTTM are imperative in increasing awareness and addressing problematic use of combustible materials.
Ashley How, Fairview’s Technical Manager who was present at the event commented: “This is a great initiative between two industry leaders and should make the review of buildings easier and then dedicate the resources to dealing with the high priority buildings.”
Fire hazard incidents of this nature have occurred around the world, and EFFECTTM will provide building owners, managers, architects and builders with a readily available means of assessing concern in order to take steps to remediate and prevent death, injury, property and economic loss. EFFECTTM can be used in any geographic area and currently applies to residential or business developments that are over 18 metres high.
The tool, which is free to access and includes a user guide, consists of a two-tiered risk assessment process:
- Tier 1 – answer a small number of questions with clearly pre-defined answers, to inform the ranking of buildings within their portfolio. Questions may relate to the combustibility of insulation and façade cladding; the presence of sprinklers; potential ignition sources; and type of alarm system.
- Tier 2 – a deeper fire risk assessment evaluation of those buildings deemed at risk in Tier 1. Onsite inspection; as-built information; maintenance records; samplings; and laboratory testing of unknown façade materials are considered in this section.
The useful, and very relevant, creation of EFFECTTM highlights the support required for the building and construction industry who face the ongoing concern of combustible materials.
Fairview trust that this is a positive step toward eliminating the risk of fire hazard and further support NFPA’s view “that only by working together can those of us whose work affects the safety of others build a network of intelligence to keep our increasingly complex world safe.”