IFE News

31 March 2021

IFE works with CROSS-UK to expand its remit to include fire safety

The IFE has been working with Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures UK (CROSS-UK) to expand its remit to include reporting on fire safety. Individuals are now able to share their concerns about, and experiences of, fire and structural safety through a confidential safety reporting system.

This expansion to include a fire safety remit marks one of the first implementations of a recommendation of the Hackitt Review, in which the final report recommended that CROSS-UK “should be extended and strengthened to cover all engineering safety concerns”.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Dame Judith Hackitt said: “This is a really important step in changing the culture around buildings and structures to one of openness and transparency. Other industry sectors like airlines have shown how valuable this type of no-blame reporting of concerns can be in identifying potential causes of failure before they happen and ensuring that they are shared with the whole sector.

IFE Acting CEO Steve Hamm adds: “As the professional body for fire, the IFE welcomes the expansion of this scheme and the opportunity to work with CROSS-UK to develop its remit to include fire safety. This development will only enhance the scheme further to foster learning and the sharing of knowledge about a safer built environment.”

Neil Gibbins, IFE Past President and CROSS-UK Fire Safety Lead, comments: “CROSS has developed a position of great value in the structural engineering profession - a knowledge hub, a radar for risk, a safe place to share concerns and an active force for a positive culture. Extending its remit to include fire safety is a significant development for the fire profession and I encourage all IFE members to submit, read and use reports in order to benefit greatly from this resource and enhance competency.”

CROSS-UK was founded in 2005 and was formally known as Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety. It is owned equally by the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Institution of Civil Engineers. Both are registered charities in the UK and financially support CROSS-UK, along with the Health and Safety Executive. The expansion of CROSS-UK’s functions was funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). The IFE now joins this collaborative project, with Neil Gibbins and IFE Technical Director Dr Peter Wilkinson as the “designated persons” responsible for reviewing reports, collating feedback from the CROSS-UK panel and developing a fire expert panel.

CROSS-UK has updated its name to better reflect the organisation’s values of the sharing of safety-related information for future learning and the development of safer structures. The website has also been updated to make reporting more straightforward. It offers an easily searchable library of past reports, and fire and structural safety information to help individuals and organisations learn more about the safety implications of their work.

The expansion of CROSS-UK’s remit to include fire safety through collaboration with the IFE, and other improvements to its reporting system, means built environment professionals will be empowered to help make structures safer.

You can visit the CROSS-UK website here.

Further information about this exciting partnership will be provided to members in the e-newsletter and International Fire Professional journal. Look out for the first update in April.

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