A Message from the ECCG President and European Chapter Updates
My name is Piotr Tofilo and I am the 2016 European Chapters Coordination Group (ECCG) President. I would like to give you a few updates regarding ECCG and its activities.
First let me report briefly on the recent 11th Performance Based Codes and Design Methods conference which was organized by SFPE with a significant support from the ECCG. For those unfamiliar with fire safety conferences, this is an important international event on the fire safety calendar which is organized by SFPE and which takes place every two years in either Europe, Asia, Australia or New Zealand. After previously being held in Lund, Hong Kong and Brisbane, the 2016 event took place in Warsaw, Poland on the 23rd to 25th of May. There were many participants and overall it was a very interesting and successful event. The presenters came from more than 30 countries representing various areas including practicing engineers, researchers and regulator organizations and we had more than 60 papers. The second and quite important part of the conference involved presentations of case study reports by international teams of engineers delivering solutions for underground car parks, industrial buildings and shopping centers. These reports were a fantastic source of insight and various design approaches and views on fire protection and fire safety.
The ECCG is currently working together to develop the next SFPE Europe conference which most likely will take place in late 2017 or early 2018 and will be co-organized by SFPE and the Benelux chapter. The Benelux chapter has a history of well-organized local events and I am sure this will be another great SFPE Europe conference.
I believe the ECCG should find more ways to communicate our work, achievements and vision to all interested professionals involved in fire protection engineering, approvals, manufacturing and development of regulations. Therefore, we have currently started an initiative to see how we can improve the ECCG participating chapter’s websites in such a way that they will serve as great tools to provide information about fire safety and help increase communication across the profession.
Finally, I would like to thank everybody involved in the various SFPE Europe initiatives and invite all professionals working in the area of fire protection to consider contributing to SFPE Europe magazine.
Information about the SFPE Benelux Chapter can be found at http://www.sfpe-benelux.org/.
The French chapter had its general assembly for 2015 in June 2016, which included review of events and actions as well as financial review.
Currently the French chapter is working on the organization of a seminar on sprinklers. The morning will be dedicated to presentations : residential sprinklers, new approach of protection of high storage, sprinklers in high rise buildings, certification of sprinkler systems and installations, a new guide for emergency services to operate in conjunction with sprinklers. The afternoon will be dedicated to visiting the sprinkler installation at exhibition venue of Paris Porte de Versailles. This seminar will take place on 12 January 2017.
The Italian chapter has had a very eventful year so far. In April we had our 16th annual national meeting, “Methods of Fire Engineering in light of the 2015 Italian Fire Safety Protection code.” The meeting was quite successful with approximately 100 participants from the fire safety sector.
In July we updated our website to look more like the SFPE website. We have also provided a direct link to the SFPE store and SFPE technical committees. Among various resources, the web site includes the papers of all yearly national meetings.
We recently published an interesting leaflet written by one of our members, titled “The problem of reliability of fire protection equipment and of design executions not complying with applicable standards.” It is available on our website. We also published an article concerning ethics in Fire Engineering, which is an important subject and is now part of a compulsory training program for Engineers in Italy.
On September 21 and 22, 2016, the yearly Forum on Fire Prevention and Safety will take place in Bergamo, and on that occasion we will promote SFPE/AIIA.
The Polish chapter was very active during the recent SFPE Performance Based Codes and Design Methods conference. This included preparation of case studies, selection of papers, editing and publishing of the proceedings book and other organizational tasks. We are currently busy planning our next national seminar and developing our new website. Our membership is growing and we are actively participating in our national code development process.
The main activity for the Spanish chapter during the last months has been to transform the chapter into a legal non-profit organization. The process has taken longer than foreseen but should be finalized in October. We are also preparing our events calendar for 2017 and will be presenting it in November.
The Spanish chapter is co-sponsoring the FEMTC 2016 conference
, which will be held in south of Spain 16-18 November. It is a very important fire safety event in Spain and we as a chapter will of course be present. We will give a presentation about the Spanish SFPE chapter and several chapter members will also be presenting.
Finally, we would like to mention that we were awarded the SFPE Chapter Silver Medal, something that are very proud of. It is a great recognition of the work we are doing both at the national and international level, as several of our members are actively involved in a number of international SFPE initiatives.
SFPE Sweden has experienced (as always) a hectic but fun period of activities during the first half of 2016. The activities can be summarized as follows:
- We organized a national conference in April. The theme for the conference was the diversity of the profession and how fire protecting engineers can work together. Approximately 130 people attended.
- The internal strategic document for the chapter has been implemented successfully. An evaluation of the Swedish chapter’s association with SFPE has been carried out to assure the positive effects of the affinity.
- Our local groups have each had one meeting each. In Gothenburg, the topic of the meeting was SAK3 (a new certification for fire protection engineers) and, in the South the meeting was about rescue operations in high rise buildings and in Östergötland the topic was EKS 10 (new construction standards).
- A new chapter technical guideline has been published. The topic is rescue operations in high-rise buildings.
- We have provided input to the National Board of Housing regarding references to standards in national regulations. The last meeting was about new regulations for refugee shelters.
- Apart from being represented in the fire safety reference group of the National Board of Housing (a regulation group for sprinklers), we are now also represented in a reference group for a research project regarding ignition sources and outcomes of fire. This group is connected to the faculty of engineering at Lund Institute of Technology.
- We have responded to several letters of referrals from the Swedish Fire Protection Association, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and National Board of Housing. Therefore a referral-committee has been formed within the chapter.
- SFPE Sweden has continued to increase its communication via the chapter website, Facebook and Twitter and a quarterly.
More information about the SFPE Swedish Chapter can be found at http://www.sfpebiv.se/.
The UK Chapter has managed to host seven continual professional development (CPD) seminars since January 2016, including our first-ever event in Scotland. These have been well attended and we hope to grow them more as it becomes mandatory for all Chartered Engineers in the UK to have their CPD record available for audit beginning in January 2017. While this does not affect chapter members directly, as it doesn’t apply to SFPE, most chapter members and supporters are already members of various professional engineering institutions and will benefit from Fire Engineering orientated CPD. The role of the chapter as a bridge connecting fire engineers working in different parts of the construction industry has never been more important. To aid in that connection we are pleased to be holding our first set of elections for a new committee, which will likely hold some old and new faces, as well as hosting our first Octoberfest party in Manchester. We hope this will bring continued growth in the future.