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Innovative and sustainable buildings require fire safety engineering

The transition to more sustainable buildings that utilise innovative construction concepts and solutions – such as increased use of wood in façades in tall buildings, combustible insulation materials, green façades and roofs, solar panels, and new types of passive housing – challenge traditional fire protection solutions. There is an increased need for advanced fire safety engineering methods and higher levels of quality assurance for fire protection in these buildings.

Performance-based fire protection is a central part in the fire safety in all Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). It is also a necessity to allow sustainable and flexible construction methods and solutions, i.e. non-traditional approaches. The Nordic countries have previously collaborated on building regulations, and the foundations have been laid for driving this development forward together. However, and regardless of the similarities in the Nordic countries, there are differences regarding the restrictions set down in regulations and a lack of uniform guidelines for the verification, control, and inspection of fire protection, for example.

In 2014, a three-year development project – ‘Fire Safety Engineering for Innovative and Sustainable Building Solutions’ – was commenced under the direction of RISE. The project, which was funded by Nordic Innovation, the Development Fund of the Swedish Construction Industry (SBUF), the Directorate of Building Quality (DIBK), and the participating organisations themselves, was created in answer to Nordic Innovation’s call for projects in which new standards are developed or implemented as a driving force for in-novation in specific sectors. The project consortium has a total of 15 members from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden who represent academia, regulation-writing authorities, construction companies, consultants, research institutes, and standardisation bodies.

The project has resulted in two draft technical specification, that are available for comments during the enquiry phase in the Nordic countries during Spring 2018:

• INSTA 951 Fire Safety Engineering – Probabilistic Methods for Verifying Fire Safety Design in Buildings
• INSTA 952 Fire Safety Engineering – Review and Control in the Building Process

Standards Norway holds the secretariat in which the final work will be done within the framework of the Nordic collaboration on standardisation, INSTA. The enquiry phase provides an opportunity for anyone to give comments on the draft specification. In each Nordic country it is the national fire safety committees that organise the enquiry phase. In Sweden, SIS/TK 181 is the body that has referred the proposal for consideration to the members of TK 181. If you are not a member, it is the possibility to leave comments at