April 14, 2021
UL recently became a Registered Signatory of the Building a Safer Future (BSF) Charter, a U.K.-based effort to improve leadership commitment and culture in relation to building safety. The BSF Charter promotes a required new shift in culture in the built environment to help ensure that buildings are safe for those living and working in them, and to protect life by putting safety first ahead of other building priorities.
Trust underpins every element of fire safety in the built environment. When lives and livelihoods are on the line, that public trust depends on competence. After the tragic cladding fire at Grenfell Tower in London in 2017, the public lost confidence in the construction companies and code authorities responsible for unsafe conditions. While the scale of the Grenfell tragedy was huge, smaller events happen frequently, leading to a similar erosion of trust among the public.
Building on Dame Judith Hackett’s review of the Grenfell tragedy, the BSF Charter provides an approach to help companies in the U.K. begin the process of rebuilding trust by focusing on a collaborative approach to leadership and culture in relation to building safety. The Charter has five commitments that the signatories pledge to follow to help drive a culture shift in the in their own organizations and in doing so, also across the built environment industry. The charter’s commitments mirror our focus on putting safety first, built into our mission of working for a safer world since its earliest days. These include commitments to act transparently in the interest of safety, put safety at the center of decision making and listening to voices across the entire life cycle of the built environment from design through construction and occupancy.
We have decades of experience in the built environment, with services focused on the building envelope, products and systems. As a global safety science leader, we work with professionals across the built environment industry to reduce risks, strengthen protections, and understand building and fire science. Our testing and certification services, training offerings and expertise help us fulfill our mission.
Among other recent initiatives in the U.K., we have focused on helping building owners and operators identify and address safety risks proactively. This requires strong governance of safety programs and activities across a property portfolio, including information about building systems, assemblies and responsible persons. Owners need to quickly identify and understand which features of the building have risk exposures – from external building envelope systems to internal critical life safety systems.
As the first testing and certification body to become a Registered Signatory to the BSF Charter, UL recognized this important first step toward achieving the culture and behavioral change required to meet the charter’s objectives around building safety. We also reaffirm our commitment to embedding the principles of the charter within our own organization. We look forward to working with the BSF Charter to help improve safety, transparency and responsibility in the built environment industry.
Meeting the Challenges of the Future Built Environment
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