Presentation on theme: "FIRE RISK RESEARCH NEEDS An integrative forum bridging the communications gap between theory, practice and the legislative requirements. STEPHEN MACKENZIE*,"— Presentation transcript:
FIRE RISK RESEARCH NEEDS An integrative forum bridging the communications gap between theory, practice and the legislative requirements. STEPHEN MACKENZIE*, DAVID MOORE, MOHAMMED KISHK, and PAUL BEGG The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland AB10 7QB To develop an open, sustainable forum for the comprehensive debate of all aspects of fire risk assessment and management. MISSION GOALS OBJECTIVES STRATEGIES ACTIONS A barrier-free & transparent structure Independent short, medium and long term funding No prejudging of merit re any subject relevant to the forums area No ideological or financial barriers to membership Accountability of members interests and objectives No vested interests to predetermine outcomes Combined sources and duration of funding Equal merit accorded to all subjects Identifiable contribution to understanding of fire risk Subject boundaries set flexibly No membership fee Funding not dependent upon members Establish theme subgroups Seek external funding Encourage organic growth Identification of current interests Identification of future objectives Encourage maturity Growth related to support achieved Proactive identification of funding Link future objectives to securing support Use member support & expertise Identify gaps in current knowledge Seek new perspectives on current knowledge Identify subject expertise Democratic committee structure Consider any risk related subject Balance research undertaken Seek sapiential authority All stakeholders have access Stakeholder analysis Establish knowledge database Fig. 1 MOGSA Analysis INTRODUCTION As a result of current legislative and regulatory shifts towards a risk informed fire safety regime within the UK, those with a statutory duty under the proposals have expressed concern over the lack of suitable research, training, and guidance on fire risk assessment, mitigation and management. These concerns are compounded by the fragmented development of the fire risk area which has lead to the isolated development of a wide range of stakeholder groupings, professional registers, special interest groups, and consultancy services being offered in an attempt to fill the void. Fig. 1 presents a structured (MOGSA) analysis of the proposal in which an overall mission is identified and supported by 3 objectives. These are in turn supported by goals, strategies and actions, thereby providing a contingency-based definition of the operation of the forum. STRATEGIC CASE FOR SUPPORT The integrative nature of the proposed forum is a direct response to two factors. Firstly, the fragmented nature of the fire-risk community (Figures 2-4). This has resulted in independent islands of fire research activity, with each island championing specific areas, largely in isolation of the remainder [1-5], thus contributing to the second factor of the fire risk area becoming lost. There is an increasing awareness that the traditional approach to organisation within the fire research community is not fully satisfactory in the context of fire risk assessment and management. UK Government [1-5] and Funding bodies have, and continue to, recognise the need to support fire research. However, this has been defined in terms of the areas of activity championed by established players, resulting in a marginalising of areas lacking a champion; fire risk assessment & management is such an area. Thus, while fire engineering in general has secured considerable research funding, little has been directly focused on fire risk. Fire research is carried out at a number of institutions, however in the context of the principal EPSRC funding source for FIRE research, which has amounted to 104 funded projects, totalling £17.3m since 1991 (of which only three projects contained reference to risk assessment as secondary or tertiary research output which accounted for £0.3m). In parallel, EPSRC funding a RISK research generally totalled 354 projects and some £79.6m during the same period. Of the 28 UK institutions currently identified as specialising in fire engineering, only 3 have specific fire risk assessment and management expertise, of which the Fire Team at Glasgow Caledonian is teaching led and not research active. Analysis of the most prominent institutions activities indicates that the key collaborator in terms of the project proposed is the University of Ulster. The proliferation of recent legislative changes [6-22] have set in place a process of change, with a new emphasis on risk assessment and management emerging, and one that will increasingly place fire risk assessment in a central role. This presents an opportunity for any organisation that discerns the direction of change to be a key player in future fire risk developments. Because the existing academic research players have yet to fully recognise the opportunity presented by these legislative changes (combined with their continued championing of existing research), there exists an opportunity for RGU to both take a lead role in this emerging area and to significantly differentiate itself from other academic players in the fire research area. An example of the recognition by non-academic members of the fire engineering community is the fire engineering research network (FERN work completed April 05) Scottish Region fire risk seminar and workshop, organised by the Scott Sutherland School. 16 high profile speakers presented their perceptions of future fire risk research needs to a small audience of key stakeholders. They, as part of the fire engineering and stakeholder community (Figure 4), confirmed a significant need for the development of a national fire risk network, to allow the development of integrated, responsive and strategic research, training and guidance programmes within this developing area. This represents a rare opportunity for RGU to take a leading role in the future development of an emerging area with attendant prospects for funded research, training and consultancy initiatives. Potential competitors have not yet implemented actions, or lack capacity, to seize this opportunity within a complex environment. Funding is being sought by the Fire Risk Team from a range of funding sources to allow the implementation a three year programme of events & strategic meetings, building to a position of national prominence, while increasing levels of external funding support of the forums activity. REFERENCES 1. Fire Research Task Group (2003) Fire Research in the UK Pb. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 2. ODPM (2003) The Fire and Rescue National Framework – 2004/05 3. ODPM (2004) The Fire and Rescue National Framework – 2005/06 4. The Fire Research Academy https://www.fireresearchacademy.org.ukhttps://www.fireresearchacademy.org.uk 5. KPMG (2004) Fire and Rescue Research Strategy – Initial Document Pb. ODPM 6. European Union (1989) Framework Directive, European Council Directive 89/391/EEC, June. 7. European Union (1989) Workplace Directive, European Council Directive 89/395/EEC, November. 8. Home Office (1995) Construction (Design and Management) Regs 1994 (amendment Pending) 9. Home Office (1997) Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (S.I. No. 1840) 10. Home Office (1997) Fire Safety Legislation for the Future – A Consultation Document 11. Home Office (1999) Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I. No. 1899) 12. Home Office (1999) Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations ODPM (2002) A Consultation Document on the Reform of Fire Safety Legislation July 14. The Bain Report (2002) The Future of the Fire and Rescue Service: Reducing Risks, Saving Lives 15. ODPM (2003) Our fire and Rescue Services July. 16. ODPM (2004) Fire and Rescue Services Act Scottish Executive (2003) The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service: Proposal for Legislation. 18. Scottish Executive (2004) Building (Scotland) Act Scottish Executive (2004) Building (Scotland) Regulations ODPM (2005) The Economic Cost of Fire: Estimates for Scottish Executive (2005) The Fire (Scotland) Act ODPM (Pending 2005/06) The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. DISSEMINATION STRATEGY The projects dissemination strategy comprises publications, workshops and conferences. Publications will include the traditional forms of journal and conference papers, but will also include forms such as articles and press releases in the membership journals of the various organisations offering support to the proposal. The NFPA and IOSH alone, for example, have 54,000 members between them. In this context, it is seen as being appropriate to investigate innovative methods of dissemination that respond to the needs of individual supporting organisations. Further dissemination will be centred on the proposed dedicated website. This will have sponsor and member sections in addition to general access sections. All of the projects text-based outputs will, subject to any copyright restrictions on journal papers, etc., be downloadable from the site. This form of dissemination will also contribute to income generation as non-members will be required to pay for certain outputs, such as commercially valuable reports and technically valuable guides and technical notes. Additionally, members may have to pay reduced rates in some cases. Further dissemination will be achieved through two-way links with other relevant websites. These links will enable non-members to be directed to the project website which will enable the centralisation of communication, documentation and collaborative efforts, enabling the effective promotion of the project. Establishing the website as the primary resource for Fire Risk information, legislation and documentation will facilitate the collaboration with the wide section of corporate and non-corporate establishments involved in the initiative. Using the website as a marketing tool will enable the attraction and retention of involvement from bodies not currently associated with the project and potentially every UK commercial or voluntary organisation having a statutory duty under the legislative proposals [21-22] requiring them to conduct a fire risk assessment. Finally, the programme of workshops, tri-annual conference and dissemination strategy has been designed to allow integration of the Fire Risk Network as a bounded thematic fire risk research area and stakeholder grouping to support fire research regionally within Scotland and Nationally within the UK. With Potential for inclusion in the Office of the Deputy Prime Ministers proposed Fire Research Academy the BRE International Fire Research Innovation Network and parallel FERN Centres of Excellence and Managed Research Programmes (figure 5). Parallel discussions are currently being held with the ODPM, BRE and Scottish Executive about the mechanics and timing of each separate endeavour. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Fire Risk Research Team at Robert Gordon University is indebted to our proposal supporters and in particular to the Society for Risk Analysis for the awarded international travel grant which allowed both presentation of this poster & meeting attendance. INDUSTRIAL SUPPORT Key to the proposal is the emphasis on industrial support, both financial and in kind. In developing the proposal the team contacted several flagship (in terms of evidencing to others that the proposed forum is worthy of support as an emerging focus of activity) organisations. Consequently, promissory support from the following organisations has been secured for the network proposal and a parallel stakeholder survey: Aon Commercial Insurance, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors; Association of Building Engineers, Safe Consulting Ltd, Building Research Establishment; Scottish Building Standards Agency; Chief Fire Officers Association Scotland; Sentinel Engineering, Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service; Siemens Building Technologies, Fife Fire and Rescue Service.Society of Fire Protection Engineers; Her Majestys Fire Service Inspectorate for Scotland, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service; Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, The Fire Service College; National Fire Protection Association; Fire Risk Network Safety Research Risk Research Computational Research Fire Research Policy Research Social Research Decision Research Figure 3 Network Integration of Associated Research Groupings Fire Risk Network Human Behaviour Groups Fire Chemistry Groups Fire Computation Groups Fire Dynamics Groups Fire & Structures Groups Fire Protection Groups Fire Legislation Groups Fire Safety Design Groups Fire Prevention Groups Fire Risk Groups Figure 2 Network Integration of Fire Research Sub-groupings Policy Makers Theory & Policy Translators Theory, Policy & Practice Users Figure 3 Network Integration of Stakeholder Groupings National Fire Risk Network Fire Risk Research Strategy National Fire Risk Centre of Excellence ODPM Fire Academy BRE IFRIN (Scottish Fire Research?) Governmental Legislative & Fiscal Policy ODPM, DTi & EPSRC (Scottish Executive?) managed programmes Regional Centres Scotland England Northern Ireland Wales National Research Strategies Fire Risk Stakeholders Survey Figure 4 Integration of Network within UK Fire Research Framework STAKEHOLDER SURVEY The fire risk network proposal has been advanced by the fire risk research team at Robert Gordon University and with the positive levels of external support obtained to date it is now being developed further. Given the integrative nature of the network, the project team is now undertaking a major survey of stakeholders within the UK to allow fulfilment of the following aim and objectives. Aim - Stakeholders perceptions of future fire risk research, educational and guidance needs. Objectives 1.Identification of Key Stakeholders and Groupings 2.Stakeholders perceptions of fire risk infrastructure needs in terms of underpinning: i. Research Strategiesii. Educational Frameworksiii. Guidance Provisions 3.Extent of support for the proposed fire risk network and forum 4.Stakeholders aspirations and proposals for the fire risk network and forums development ABSTRACT The recent legislative developments within the United Kingdom (UK) has set in place a process of change, with a new emphasis on risk assessment, and management emerging, and one that will increasingly place fire risk assessment in a central role. However, those with a duty under the new regimes have expressed concern over the lack of suitable research on fire risk assessment and management. These concerns are compounded by the fragmented development of the fire risk area which has lead to the isolated development of a wide range of stakeholder groupings, professional registers, special interest groups, and consultancy services being offered in an attempt to fill the void. There is also increasing awareness that the traditional approach to organisation within the fire research community is not fully satisfactory in the context of fire risk assessment and management. UK Government and Funding bodies have, and continue to, recognise the need to support fire research. However, this has been defined in terms of the areas of activity championed by established players, resulting in a marginalising of areas lacking a champion; fire risk assessment & management is such an area. While fire in general has secured considerable research funding, little has been directly focused on fire risk. An example of the concerns raised by non-academic members of the stakeholder community is the output of the fire risk seminar and workshop, organised by the Robert Gordon University in October Sixteen high profile speakers presented their perceptions of future fire risk research needs to a small audience of key stakeholders. They, as part of the stakeholder community, confirmed a significant need for the development of a national fire risk forum, to allow the development of integrated, responsive and strategic research programmes within this developing area. This paper offers an overview of the drives behind the proposed development of an integrative fire risk forum within the UK.