WSP PB: GCC must focus on preventative fire safety

Consultancy welcomes the notion of a GCC-wide fire safety code, and calls for a move away from the “disaster-led component of the industry”

WSP | PB’s Garald Todd (pictured above) emphasised that the GCC’s approach to fire safety must be preventative rather than reactionary.
WSP | PB’s Garald Todd (pictured above) emphasised that the GCC’s approach to fire safety must be preventative rather than reactionary.

The GCC must adopt a preventative approach to fire safety, according to WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Commenting during a live ‘ask-the-expert’ session on Twitter, Garald Todd, head of fire and life safety at the consultancy, argued that Gulf states should move away from reactionary fire safety.

“There is constant improvement in the industry and region,” he told Construction Week. “Unfortunately, there [have] been many high-profile fires that have raised awareness.

“The focus should be preventative and not reactive; we need to change the disaster-led component of the industry,” Todd explained.

WSP | PB also welcomed the idea of a GCC-wide fire safety code, pointing out that it would result in several advantages.

Todd said: “[There would be] various benefits to adopting a single code, GCC wide: construction costs, awareness, product and material availability, etc. However, it is important to not lose the valuable lessons learned internationally by developing a code from scratch.”

When asked about the main lessons that the GCC can learn from the international stage, the consultant replied: “The main one is not to reinvent the wheel while considering a GCC-wide set of standards… The lessons are different from project to project – building to building.”

However, WSP | PB also emphasised that responsibility for fire safety is not limited to public bodies in the GCC, pointing out that the private sector has an important role to play.

Commenting on the advancement of fire safety in the Gulf, the consultancy tweeted: “We are well progressed, given the recent explosive growth in the region, utilising many lessons learned internationally. Frequency varies [depending] on the countries; however, it’s the owners’ and managements’ responsibility to ensure fire safety.

“[WSP | PB drives] coordination for fire safety across all stakeholders and members of a project team, ensuring compliance and awareness,” the firm added.

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