Building Safety Month 2020 – Safer Buildings, Safer Communities, Safer World
Building Safety Month is an international campaign in May to raise awareness of building safety. It is run by the International Code Council (ICC) in the USA, which is one of our partners in the building regulations network the IRCC https://www.ircc.info/.
The purpose of the Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee (IRCC) is to promote effective international collaboration concerning “best current practice” building regulatory system, in particular those that are objective performance-based.
The ICC develops model codes and standards used worldwide to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. It is a diverse partnership of professionals from the building construction, design and safety communities. ICC’s building safety month is described as an international campaign that takes place in May to raise awareness about building safety. The campaign reinforces the need for the adoption of modern, regularly-updated building codes (regulations or standards), and helps individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures. Further information is on the ICC website – https://www.iccsafe.org/advocacy/building-safety-month/2020-about/.
Building standards are essential to maintaining the safety of buildings and the built environment. The Scottish Government creates the building standards regulations and technical guidance, to ensure buildings are safe, efficient and sustainable.
Safety has been defined by the International Standards Organisation as ‘a state of freedom from unacceptable risks of personal harm’. This recognises that no activity is absolutely safe or free from risk. No building can be absolutely safe and some risk of harm to users may exist in every building. Building standards seek to limit risk to an acceptable level by identifying hazards in and around buildings that can be addressed through the Building Regulations. Designers need to consider all aspects of design carefully to minimise risks inherent in any building.
Safety is present throughout the building standards and associated guidance in the technical handbooks. The elements of safety include the following:
• Malfunction of fittings.
Building Standards legislation also includes requirements for dangerous and defective buildings, where local authorities have enforcement powers to make buildings safe.
Safety in the built environment is an essential component of maintaining public health, such as through ventilation provision and good indoor air quality, making Building Safety more relevant now than ever.
The contribution of local authority building standards in Scotland to safety in communities and the built environment has been recognised in an award from Scottish Government. In 2019 it was won by Aberdeen City Council for work on ensuring the safety of doors in high rise developments. The award will also be made this year, although it has of necessity been delayed.