• English

Press Releases

For media enquiries, please contact unece_info@un.org

UNECE joins global coalition to improve fire safety in buildings through industry standards

Published: 12 July 2018

The Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017 has brought under the spotlight the need for a coherent global approach to fire safety. That fire -  the worst in the UK for almost a century that claimed 72 lives - not only focused attention on building and fire safety in the United Kingdom but also exposed global inadequacies in how fire safety standards are set. 

As the property market has become increasingly international with investments flowing across national borders, the sector still lacks a consistent set of high level global principles for the design, construction, and management of buildings to address the risks associated with fire safety. Differences in materials testing and certification, national building regulations or codes, and standards on how to manage buildings in use, particularly higher risk buildings, means there is confusion, uncertainty and risk to the public. 

The UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management has been working on building standards since its establishment in 1947. The Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing endorsed in 2014, underlines the importance of improving the resilience of buildings to natural and human-generated hazards through safety planning, design and construction. To respond to the need to address safety of buildings, UNECE has joined the International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) Coalition

The Coalition was launched with the support of UNECE in Geneva at the Palais des Nations on 9 July 2018; it brought together key organizations from around the world dealing with fire safety of buildings with the purpose of discussing the development of landmark industry standards to address fire safety in buildings.

The coalition consists of national and international professional bodies and standard-setting organisations committed to developing and supporting a shared set of standards for fire safety aimed at delivering greater consistency of minimum levels of fire safety and professionalism in buildings across the world.

“The Grenfell Tower fire focused the world’s attention on how many buildings are threatened with the prospect of failing fire safety standards. All over the world we see the need for more high-rise structures which pose risks in the absence of a coherent and harmonized approach to setting global standards in fire safety. The effort by the IFSS Coalition aims to address this concern and bring together the design, construction and management aspects of ensuring fire safety of building assets.”   says Gary Strong, RICS Global Building Standards Director and Chair of the IFSS Coalition. 

Once the high-level standards are developed, the IFSS Coalition will work with professionals around the world to deliver the standards locally. The standards will be owned by the IFSS Coalition and not by any one organisation. As its first order of business the IFSS Coalition will set up a Standards Setting Committee that will draw on a group of international technical fire experts to develop and write the high-level standards to ensure they are fit for purpose across global markets.

For more information, please contact:


Domenica Carriero

Associate Economic Affairs

OfficerEmail: domenica.carriero@un.org



At RICS - Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors:

Gary Strong 

Global Building Standards Director

Email: gstrong@rics.org  


Worldwide media enquiries: pressoffice@rics.org 

Note to Editors:

Members of the Coalition so far:

ACAI – Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors http://www.approvedinspectors.org.uk/ 

AEEBC – The Association of European Experts in Building and Construction http://aeebc.org/

API – Australian Property Institute https://www.api.org.au/ 

APS – Association for Project Safety https://www.aps.org.uk 

BCA – Building Control Alliance http://buildingcontrolalliance.org/   

BIFM – British Institute of Facilities Management https://www.bifm.org.uk/bifm/home 

CABE – Chartered Association of Building Engineers https://www.cbuilde.com/the-cabe/ 

CASLE – Commonwealth Association of Surveying & Land Economy http://www.casle.org/ 

CEBC - Consortium of European Building Control bodies http://www.cebc.eu/ 

CIAT – Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists http://www.ciat.org/ 

CIBSE – Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers https://www.cibse.org/ 

CIOB – Chartered Institute of Building https://www.ciob.org/ 

CTBUH – Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat http://www.ctbuh.org/ 

Engineers Australia – https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/ 

FIG – Federation International de Geometre, an international umbrella body of surveying professional bodies globally http://www.fig.net/ 

ICC – International Code Council https://www.iccsafe.org/ 

IFE – Institution of Fire Engineers https://www.ife.org 

LABC – Local Authority Building Control https://www.labc.co.uk/ 

NHBC – National House Building Council http://www.nhbc.co.uk/ 

RIBA – Royal Institute of British Architects https://www.architecture.com/ 

RICS - Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors https://www.rics.org/uk/ 

SFPE – Society of Fire Protection Engineers http://www.sfpe.org/ 

SGSA – Sports Ground Safety Authority http://www.safetyatsportsgrounds.org.uk/ 

SIBL – Singapore Institute of Building Ltd http://www.sibl.com.sg/ 

The World Bank - http://www.worldbank.org/ 

UNECE - https://www.unece.org/info/ece-homepage.html 

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44

Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05