The API is proud to announce the release of the International Fires Safety Standards: Common Principles (IFSS-CP) document by the International Fires Safety Standards Coalition (IFSSC) on 5 October 2020.

The API would like to thank those API members and Australian fire safety experts who contributed to the development of the IFSS-CP.  The API would also like to extend a thank you to the members of the IFSSC Standards Setting Committee for all their work over the past two (2) years in the formulation of IFSS-CP document.  The API also acknowledge and thank Gary Strong (Chair of the IFSS Coalition), Timothy Neal (Chair of the SSC) and Alexander Aronsohn (Executive secretary of the SSC) for their tireless contribution and the countless hours, knowledge and leadership that they have given to this project.

Robert Hecek, LFAPI, Chair of APIV, and founding member of the International Fire Safety Standards Coalition (IFFSC) said “Just over two (2) years since the first meeting of the IFSS Coalition in Geneva in July 2018, we have produced the first edition of a global standard.”

IFSS Press Release

5 October 2020

A global coalition of over 80 fire safety leadership organisations has today (Monday 5 October) launched a new internationally consistent approach to the safety and management of buildings, with the aim of saving more lives by reducing risk and preventing devastating fires.

The launch of the International Fire Safety Standard – Common Principles (IFSS-CP) follows extensive work to bring public confidence around the regulation and control of fire safety measures.

The IFSS is an industry-led global response to address differing or, in some cases, non-existent requirements in countries across the world to fire safety. Contrasting approaches have resulted in significant variations in the design, approval, construction methods and operation of buildings, impacting fire risk.

Gary Strong, chair of the IFSS Coalition, said:

“Our coalition has worked hard to produce this globally applicable way to bring consistency in fire safety to buildings new and old and reduce the risk to lives.”

“The new standard is unprecedented, being the first agreement on fire safety principles on this international scale, with its development supported by the United Nations in line with its own sustainable development goals. It is the outcome of two years of work and worldwide expertise on fire safety from over 80 coalition organisations and will bring reassurance that the construction and management of buildings upholds appropriate fire safety standards.”

The standard delivers a clear performance-based framework and common principles that applies to all stages of a building’s life cycle (from design, construction, in use, to change and eventual demolition), which can be defined as follows;

  • Prevention – Safeguarding against the outbreak of fire and/or limiting its effects.
  • Detection and Communication – Investigating and discovering of fire followed by informing occupants and the fire service.
  • Occupant Protection – Facilitating occupant avoidance of and escape from the effects of fire.
  • Containment – Limiting of fire and all its consequences to as small an area as possible.
  • Extinguishment – Suppressing of fire and protecting of the surrounding environment.

Robert Hecek added

The relationships between fire and mankind transcend international borders and disciplinary boundaries.  The science of fire knows no geographical or political boundaries.  Growth in global population drives towards greater urbanisation and more people are living in high density, high rise developments.

“New building materials and systems are regularly introduced in the marketplace and are in need of assessment relative to their fire performance.  We now have combustible insulation products with higher thermal properties all over the globe.  We have seen numerous fires that have taken many lives and will continue to grow in number globally as there are thousands of buildings that do not comply and endanger thousands of lives every day.”

“The Grenfell Tower disaster in London was the catalyst for this movement and we are looking at changing the future with our efforts and IFSS-CP.”

“Much is known about the effects of fire as well as what needs to be done to protect people, buildings, and the environment from the destructive effects of fire.  However, all this knowledge is not shared effectively. A connected and consistent approach will show considerable benefits.”

“With a common understanding and a Globally accepted Standard we hope to build trust and confidence of the public and also the quality of life in the future.  As we have been overwhelmed by the Global effect of the COVID-19 pandemic we must not lose focus of this huge Global issue that requires eradication on a different scale.”

Robert is excited about the next phase of work of the coalition.  Following the launch he said “This document will be presented at the UNECE in Geneva to the entire membership on Wednesday, 7th October 2020, and it is expected and hoped the UN will adopt the IFSS-CP as an UN standard.”

A copy of the IFSS-CP document is available on the IFSSC website.  To download a copy, click here.

If there are any questions or comments regarding the IFSS-CP please do not hesitate to contact us at standards@api.org.au.