Last reviewed 16 October 2020

A global coalition of more than 80 fire safety leadership organisations has launched a new internationally consistent approach to the safety and management of buildings, with the aim of saving lives by reducing risk and preventing devastating fires.

The launch of the International Fire Safety Standard: Common Principles (IFSS-CP) follows extensive work to bring public confidence around the regulation and control of fire safety measures.

The IFSS is an industry-led global response to address differing ― or in some cases, non-existent ― standards to fire safety in countries across the world.

Contrasting approaches have resulted in significant variations in the design, approval, construction methods and operation of buildings, impacting fire risk.

The standard is based on a performance-based framework with common principles that apply to all stages of a building’s life cycle (from design, construction, in use, to change and eventual demolition), as follows.

  1. Prevention: safeguarding against the outbreak of fire and/or limiting its effects.

  2. Detection and communication: investigating and discovering of fire followed by informing occupants and the Fire Service.

  3. Occupant protection: facilitating occupant avoidance of, and escape from, the effects of fire.

  4. Containment: limiting of fire and all its consequences to as small an area as possible.

  5. Extinguishment: suppressing of fire and protecting of the surrounding environment.

Commenting on the standard, Gary Strong, who is Chair of the IFSS Coalition and also Global Building Standards Director at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said, “Our coalition has worked hard to produce this globally applicable way to bring consistency in fire safety to buildings new and old, and reduce the risk to lives.

“The new standard is unprecedented, being the first agreement on fire safety principles on this international scale, with its development supported by the United Nations… It… will bring reassurance that the construction and management of buildings upholds appropriate fire safety standards.”

The standard, and the list of the organisations involved in its creation, is available at