This will not be a polite gathering intended for a local audience … but an opportunity for hard word and direct talk. This is a Global Event – a catalyst for Social Transformation everywhere !
Within the professional discipline of fire engineering … either a building is Fire Safe or it is not; the design philosophy of the fire engineer is irrelevant. Similarly, now, we must begin to think and act in the simple terms of a building either being Accessible for All, or not. And if the building is accessible for all, does it tick all of the right accessibility boxes well, i.e. effectively ?
While building fire safety codes and standards exist in almost every country … guidelines relating to the Fire Safety of People with Activity Limitations – if those guidelines exist at all – are technically inadequate, entirely tokenistic and/or blatantly discriminatory. This is a very significant obstacle to Effective Building Accessibility.
Building Accessibility encompasses the complete cycle of independent use, in a dignified manner and on an equal basis with others … and includes the approach, entry and use of a building and its facilities, egress during normal conditions and removal from its vicinity … and, most importantly, safe evacuation during a fire incident to a place of safety which is remote from the building and reached by way of an accessible route.
Cogently mandated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) … the CRPD’s principal aim is to ensure that the human environment (social, built, economic, virtual and institutional) is sufficiently accessible to permit a vulnerable and major population group in all of our societies to safely exercise and enjoy those rights, protections and freedoms set down in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent international rights instruments.
Refer to Preamble Paragraph (g) in the UN Convention …
‘Emphasizing the importance of mainstreaming disability issues as
an integral part of relevant strategies of sustainable development,’
and to … Article 3 (General Principles), Article 9 (Accessibility), Article 11 (Situations of Risk & Humanitarian Emergencies), Article 19 (Living Independently & Being Included in the Community), Article 20 (Personal Mobility), Article 24 (Education), Article 27 (Work & Employment), Article 31 (Statistics & Data Collection), Article 32 (International Co-Operation), and Article 33 (National Implementation & Monitoring).
The focus of this event, therefore, is Real Accessibility. In other words, Effective Accessibility for People with Activity Limitations (which includes people with disabilities, and children under the age of 5 years, frail older people, women in the later stages of pregnancy, and people with health conditions, etc.) … an accessibility which actually works well for all potential building users. And it is appropriate also, now, to introduce the concept of Monitoring and Targeting this ‘real’ accessibility … independently !
It is time to Reboot this ridiculous, professionally negligent and obsolete old system … Reload with innovative and practical building design, construction, management and personal self-protection solutions … and Implement !
A Working Commission of CIB (International Council for Research & Innovation in Building & Construction) … CIB W14 is an international, multi-stakeholder, transdisciplinary, pre-normalization forum for discussion, and action, on research and innovation in Fire Science and Engineering for the spatial planning, design, engineering, construction and operation of a Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Built Environment for All.
To meet CIB W14’s Aims and Objectives its work may be placed in the public domain, in hardcopy and/or electronic formats … as, for example, a Reflection Document.
At this event … a Reflection Document will be issued by CIB W14 Research Working Group V, chaired by CJ Walsh. Its purpose will be to re-examine Fire Safety and Protection in Buildings for People with Activity Limitations, and to propose a critical update to conventional fire engineering design and practice.
Afterwards, and following a process of wide international consultation which will commence at this Global Event … the Reflection Document will feed into and inform preparations for the 2016 International Sustainable Fire Engineering Conference, in Dublin … CIB’s 2016 World Building Congress, in Finland … and the 2017 World Sustainable Built Environment Conference, in Hong Kong SAR (PRC).
10 Structured Hours CPD – IFE Approved
10 Structured Hours CPD – RIAI Approved