‘Radical rethink’ needed on house construction

Poor construction standards and a lack of enforcement of building regulations are contributing factors to fatal house fires, according to the organiser of a forthcoming conference on sustainable building practices.

‘Radical rethink’ needed on house construction

Furthermore, CJ Walsh argues that the drive to build green homes can lead to designs that are at odds with best practice for fire-safe houses.

Mr Walsh of FireOx International cited the cases of Longboat Quay and Priory Hall as examples of where the quality of construction was so inadequate it gave rise to serious fire risk.

“There needs to be an urgent and radical rethink of how we build houses and apartments, in particular, because of the potential serious risk to life.”

Mr Walsh, a registered architect, fire engineer, and technical controller, said related issues such as greater insulation and airtightness in homes, solar panels, and the increase in passive house building can contribute to a higher level of fire risk.

He expects more than 300 delegates from around the world to attend the 2016 Sustainable Fire Engineering Conference in Dublin’s Gresham Hotel next September. The conference will be co-hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University and FireOx International. It will discuss how to marry the demands of sustainable building design, construction, and operation with good fire engineering.

“Unfortunately, a fundamental conflict exists between sustainable building design strategies and the fire-safety approaches adopted in conventional fire engineering”, Mr Walsh said.

“A wide chasm separates the language and understanding of these two very different design disciplines. As a result, the performance of sustainable buildings can be seriously compromised,” he said.

More in this section