Now that Europe is taking the first steps towards economic and social recovery after the COVID-19 crisis, it is also time to rethink the future. European politicians and institutions are now joining forces to present a recovery plan that builds on existing plans and ambitions to make the society healthier, more environmentally friendly, more energy efficient and safer.
Euralarm calls on policymakers to take measures to increase the security of renovated buildings and to strengthen the cohesion of the European Union. The EU Recovery Plan that is soon expected will push for investments and reform. It will strengthen the EU economy by focusing on common priorities, like the European Green Deal, digitalization and resilience. In recent months, European citizens experienced what it means to be confined to one's home all day.
Fire safety requirements
With around 250 million homes across the EU that need energy renovation, now more than ever, it is time for the EU to invest in renovating homes, offices, schools and other private and public buildings. The Renovation Wave as part of the Green Deal is therefore welcomed by Euralarm and many other stakeholders. Boosting the rate of deep renovation in all buildings not only improves energy efficiency but also economic growth.
Building renovation and retrofit add almost twice as much value as the construction of new buildings
Building renovation and retrofit add almost twice as much value as the construction of new buildings. While investing more in renovations, governments and authorities as well as building owners need to pay attention to the implications on the fire safety of buildings because renovations can introduce significant changes in fire safety requirements.
Energy efficiency measures
With the growing number of electronic and electrical devices in buildings, (e.g. energy storage as part of the energy efficiency measures, electric cars), the fire load in buildings will continue to increase and must be considered in the overall fire safety concept. Regular fire safety reviews - including risk assessment - by certified professionals are today even more crucial and should be prioritised by private and public building owners and operators.
As one of the Green Deal proposals the “Renovation Wave” is a unique opportunity to introduce a holistic approach towards fire safety and security when renovating buildings. Safe and secure buildings will contribute to the new European economy as well as the future European ecology. Euralarm therefore calls on EU decision makers to encourage all renovated buildings to be fitted with the latest technologies in terms of fire safety and security.
Fire safety systems
During the crisis, large parts of the European workforce had no other choice than to work from home, using teleconference and digital co-operation tools to continue their daily work. In just a few months, remote work has accelerated the digitalization of the European economy. With ambitious measures supporting a “Digital Recovery”, the digital transformation can be confirmed and amplified in the short term.
In the building industry, they have seen the effects of a slow adoption of digitalization and they welcome an acceleration of the digital transformation. During this crisis, connectivity has proven to be pivotal to remote work. It became clear that wherever the company’s members had remote access to security and fire safety systems, there has been no disruption of service provided. The company continued to ensure the safety of the people and infrastructure.
Pivotal to ensure business continuity, connectivity must be immune to cyber-threats
Pivotal to ensure business continuity, connectivity must be immune to cyber-threats. Euralarm recommends to reassess the European cybersecurity strategy. Some sectors of the industry – including services – have specificities that should be taken into consideration when rethinking the cybersecurity strategy.
The EU Recovery Plan is a unique opportunity to bring the Single Market back on track and to definitely address unjustified barriers that remain in place for products and for services. In this sector, and despite all the efforts to create European standards for products, systems and services, obstacles remain for cross-border trade, especially for SMEs. It is now time to put an end to these barriers and work together towards a society that shares and cares.
Again, it is the COVID-19 crisis that demonstrates the crucial need that barriers are definitely removed. Therefore, Euralarm calls on the European Commission to engage in a consultation with stakeholders most affected by these remaining barriers to find sector-specific measures to achieve the long-expected Single Market in Europe.