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23/12/2015 / Graham Lowe

WHAT DOES 2016 HAVE IN STORE?

With the New Year now upon us, it’s time to reflect on some of the key developments affecting the life safety industry over the last year, as well as look forward to what we can expect from 2016.

 

A busy calendar

Perhaps the biggest event in the industry calendar in 2015 was FIREX International. One of Europe’s largest tradeshows for the fire safety and emergency lighting sector, FIREX brought together manufacturers and specifiers to discuss the latest industry topics and issues.

 

Hochiki Europe was on hand at the event to meet customers and explore ways to further improve best practice in the industry. Our team members explained to visitors the impetus behind our campaign to champion transparency in the life safety supply chain. We also showcased some of our latest product innovations, which were added to the National BIM Library.

 

Training and installation

The publication of studies by Hochiki Europe saw the industry spotlight fall on the two key issues of installer training and system installation.

 

The first report, in July, found that almost half of European fire safety equipment installers are not familiar with the latest fire and emergency lighting legislation. With more than two thirds of respondents saying they look to manufacturers specifically to help them understand regulations, the study provided a stark reminder to life safety manufacturers that they need to support installers to comply with legislation through specialist training.

 

In October, Hochiki Europe’s second study revealed that more than half of European businesses are risking the welfare of building occupants by failing to adjust their life safety technology when refurbishing space to accommodate changes in use. In response to the findings, we created a handy five-step guide to support businesses to make sure their fire safety and emergency lighting equipment is fit for the current needs of their premises.

Looking ahead

But what does 2016 hold? Even at this early stage, it looks as if the New Year will be as fast-moving as 2015 has been.

 

With the construction industry still growing, albeit more slowly than the start of 2015, building specifiers will require innovative fire safety and emergency lighting technology capable of meeting the particular needs of their new developments. Enhanced functionality will be a key feature of any new equipment, to make it even easier for the people in charge of maintaining a building’s life safety systems to look after them and keep them in optimum working condition.

 

The use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) will also continue to increase, as the deadline for the Government’s 2016 Level 2 targets approaches. Hochiki Europe already provides BIM components for our fire and emergency lighting products – the first life safety system manufacturer to do so. Education and training for specifiers will be key to ensure the industry enjoys the full benefits of BIM.

 

Finally, the subject of emergency lighting remains high on the agenda, with the possibility that regulations will be updated in the New Year. Whatever changes take place though, life safety system manufacturers will be monitoring closely for any news on new legislation to ensure both their technology and their training support continue to help installers and building owners meet regulatory requirements.

 

What key trends do you think will affect the life safety sector in 2016?

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