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Retrofit Meets: Fire Safety

Thu 28 Sep 2023, 6-7:30pm

Retrofit Meets is an in-person series of panel events that connects people through themes and topics relevant to the deep retrofit of homes at scale. Produced as part of Retrofit 23 and taking place on Wednesday evenings at the Building Centre, this series showcases research and ideas on the residential retrofit challenge. The panels feature guest speakers presenting a project or provocation, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Join us for these thought-provoking sessions and meet and share with others involved in the retrofit puzzle. 

Retrofitting presents a wealth of possibilities for enhancing buildings, with a focus on improving insulation performance, mitigating overheating, and embracing innovative energy generation methods. These aspects represent the forefront of retrofitting's transformative power.

However, retrofitting also opens the door to a comprehensive evaluation of a building's overall health. Older structures often exhibit deficiencies in critical areas, such as fire safety, structural integrity, mould and damp prevention, and accessibility. These shortcomings may result from historical changes within the building or evolving regulations, standards, and societal expectations over time.

This event's panel discuss how we can effectively pinpoint weaknesses and opportunities for improvement; and what strategies and methodologies can be employed to seamlessly integrate fire safety with other key drivers to ensure a holistic and sustainable approach. 

Speakers explore the potential of the upcoming Building Safety Act. This legislation mandates a rigorous evaluation of fire and structural safety risks in both new and existing higher-rise residential buildings (defined as 7+ storeys or 18m+ with a minimum of two residential units). The panel also investigate how this legal framework might catalyse more comprehensive retrofit initiatives, aligning safety and sustainability goals.

Host for the evening is Mike Edwards from Arup. The panel is chaired by Judith Schulz, a Director of the Fire Safety team at Arup.

The speakers for the event include:

  • Dan Hollas, Building Safety Director, Clarion
  • Eoin O’Loughlin, Associate | Fire Safety, Arup
  • Richard Clarke, Senior Fire Engineer | Protection, National Fire Chiefs Council
  • Richard Bettis, Fire Safety Team Leader, HSE