Fire Safety Orders - What they mean and what to do next

Fire Safety Orders - What they mean and what to do next

It’s no secret that the Building Compliance industry is full of jargon, formality and acronyms that make it seem like we’re speaking a completely different language. It can be easy to take our understanding of these industry concepts for granted. So, I’ve compiled some answers to a list of commonly asked questions we get about Fire Safety Orders.

Safety + Shortcuts

Now and again we take an occasional shortcut in our lives. Which may just be crossing the road that is not at a pedestrian crossing. It is an action an individual takes assuming it will save time and/or effort at the risk of more severe consequences.

The safety and wellbeing of people is far more important than the short-term benefits of meeting deliverables before deadlines, or choosing to achieve objectives in a cost-effective manner because of a ‘time is money’ attitude. We take shortcuts because of short-term thinking, rather than the long-term consequences involved.

Is it just human nature to take the path of least resistance? Is this why individuals continue to take shortcuts?

The recent fires in Lacrosse Docklands, Victoria and the Grenfell Tower in London have highlighted the risks and consequences when safety measures have not been met or properly maintained throughout the building’s life after the initial development.

The Lacrosse Docklands’ fire demonstrates the risks of an external fire spreading up the external façade of the building, involving the external composite cladding panels. In the London Grenfell Tower, which is still under investigation, the severity of the fire is suspected to also involve the use of an external composite material and its installation.

Throughout the team at PBC we have performed fire safety engineering on a wide variety of buildings. If you have any concerns about your building or simply want to know more please contact us.

Our sincere thoughts go out to all those affected.

Diversity - What it is to us.

Diversity in the work place has more to do than just the variety of differences in ethnicity. A Diverse workplace is an ensemble of employees with differentiating characteristics including but not limited to gender, education, cultural background, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation and lifestyle.

Here at PBC, we are committed to promoting equality and diversity as a part our company’s culture. We are creating a company culture inclusive of members of various attributes. We have set up our company culture on a foundation that encourages individuals to retain their identity instead of requiring them conform to another character and being someone else when they are at work.

We need as many perspectives as possible so we can interpret challenging problems and objectives from different angles in identifying a solution.

Sustainability or convenience?

Our active lifestyles are permitted by convenience – which often comes at the cost of energy and resources. We can enjoy all the conveniences available to us but also need to be conscious of our decision making and the greater scheme of the impact it has on the environment.

For instance, what used to be a task of preparing food has been replaced by a virtual button on a smart device to have food delivered on demand protected by disposable packaging. It takes a significant amount of energy and resources to manufacture these single use items, which will be immediately discarded.

Recently at PBC we have provided our employees with reusable water bottles to encourage them to drink water instead of sugary drinks, stay hydrated throughout the day and to eliminate the need for single use water bottles. It’s a small step towards being more sustainable, and most importantly it’s a step towards being an environmentally conscious company.

Sustainability in Engineering - Progress and integration into the field.

ABC recently presented a program titled ‘War on Waste’. Craig Reucassel (of Chaser’s War on Everything – an influential program on my childhood) teaches us about the life of bananas – how they are picked and sorted and ultimately delivered to the supermarket display. Craig reveals that up to 40 percent of bananas are thrown away by farmers because they don’t meet supermarket standards. They are too bent, too straight, too long, too short, too fat or too thin – superficially inappropriate, and therefore unprofitable.

This was met with outrage by many of my friends! How could a company justify throwing out perfectly edible food when there are so many people starving in the world?

But I wasn’t concerned, or even phased. Four years of a mechanical engineering degree has taught me enough to be familiar with manufacturing design – this level of discard is standard practice. Anything mass produced incorporates copious amount of waste and unused product. Efficiency is only considered if it produces profit, or is required by regulation.

This mentality is foreign outside of engineering. People are used to making life decisions and considering a whole range of factors – ethics, convenience, effectiveness. They aren’t familiar with the engineering mindset of designing specifically and directly to achieve a set of project requirements. This is what we are paid to do. The engineer will only incorporate sustainable principles if they are contractually obliged to.

Sustainability is captured by those who set the requirements; the financiers, the managers, the corporations. Why should they incorporate sustainability? It will cost them more to produce the same quantity, reducing shareholder value and sacrificing profit. Losing jobs. The level of responsibility implemented by the people in power is governed by whether it is profitable to do so.

Sustainability will be implemented when the values of the culture and society require it – when the consumer will pay a premium for a product manufactured with ethical principles. The agent of change in society, in engineering, in the world, is the end user – and when they decide they want sustainable products, industry will follow.

How sustainable are fuel efficient cars?

Let’s start with the obvious. Improving the fuel efficiency of a car is the right direction to go. There are three ways I can think of why fuel efficiency is important:

  1. Saves the customer money

  2. Less carbon emissions into the environment

  3. Might indicate the quality of the engineering

The first and second points are straight-forward: less fuel use saves you money and less exhaust saves the environment. I don’t think anyone can make a sound argument against either of these two points. However, the third point is curious and will be explored further. Below is a table which outlines some popular cars, hybrids and sports cars in terms of their fuel efficiency, power and torque figures.

Car

Fuel Efficiency (L/100km) Power (HP) Torque (Nm)

Toyota Prius (maximum performance)

(3 L/100km) (130 HP) (120 Nm)

Kia Rio (maximum performance)

(3 L/100km) (110 HP) (135 Nm)

Porsche 918 Spyder

(3.5 L/100km) (762 HP) (528 Nm)

Subaru Outback (2.0 L, petrol)

(5.7 L/100km) (150 HP) (350 Nm)

Toyota Landcruiser (4.5L diesel)

(11 L/100km) (300 HP) (439 Nm)

In January this year, I was driving a 2016 Kia Rio along the NSW south coast. Several times throughout my journey I was going up a hill, with the foot to the floor and the engine above 4000 RPM, and I was still losing speed. If a car doesn’t have the power to get up a hill, or make a highway overtake even while dropping to second gear and mashing the throttle, it somewhat defeats the purpose of dropping the engine size.

The point I am making is being obsessed with fuel efficiency can lead to underpowered, unsafe cars. Fuel efficiency needs to be carefully considered in conjunction with the performance of the engine. In my opinion, a car which does 5.7 L/100km with 150 HP and 350 Nm of torque is much more sustainable as an all-round form of transport than something with 3 L/100km making 110 HP and 135 Nm of torque. Cars are built for more than just the multi-storey carpark and should be treated as such.