Yearly Assembly of the electronic fire and security Industry ponders regulatory challenges

Speeches and debates at the General Assembly of Euralarm, the European trade association for the electronic fire and security Industry, showed that it is more engaged with policymakers and regulators than ever. But also, found challenges ahead in delays in European legislative and standardisation processes.

Organised annually, Euralarm’s General Assembly offers a platform for the Industry to discuss main developments in the past year, as well as major projects and orientations for the one to come. The association itself boasts a strong track record in terms of influencing positively discussions in European bodies, and is based upon a lively network of companies and national associations. This year, the Assembly welcomed three new Members: EUSAS, a European research institute, Wagner and ESI, companies from Germany and France respectively. All three are highly innovative organisations, showing an evolution of Euralarm’s Membership to better represent the interests of this category of players on the market.

This Assembly was organised in London with the support of the UK Fire Industry Association (FIA) and the British Security Industry Association (BSIA). An occasion to reaffirm that Brexit, a commonly used term for the United Kingdom's planned withdrawal from the European Union, is not going to modify the country’s Industry reliance on European standards. European standardisation bodies, as well as Euralarm, operate de facto in a geographical area already including many non-EU countries

A panel discussion, on the topic: 'Are we progressing towards Market Driven Standardisation', was the occasion to demonstrate Euralarm’s key role as an interlocutor to the European Commission Directorate General for Internal Market and Industry, as well as CEN-CENELEC, the European platform for standardisation. The panel featured Euralarm representatives chairing key CEN-CENELEC and ISO technical bodies, and CEN-CENELEC’s Director for strategic partnerships Francisco Verdera Mari. Together, they discussed progress on the Joint Initiative on Standardisation (JIS), a policy forum launched by the EU Commission bringing together Standardisation bodies and the Industry. The initiative sets out a shared vision to speed up and modernise standard setting, consolidating Europe’s leadership in standardisation. Thanking Euralarm for its strong involvement in JIS, Mr Verdera Mari said: “we are in a situation where we have to take a great leap forward to modernise European standardisation processes and I hope that the European Commission will provide the platform for us to have a safe landing.”

Mr Massingberd-Mundy, from Xtralis, a Euralarm representative and Chairman of the CEN-CENELEC fire alarm standardisation body TC 72 said: “it is not a good time for European standardisation”, referring to difficulties in publishing standards under the rules set by the Construction Product Regulation (CPR). During a Q&A session with Euralarm Members, Dominique Taudin, UTC, Chairman of Euralarm’s Fire Section, noted that, because of the CPR, 3000 thousand working days had been invested by the Industry over 4 years for only one standard being published as a result. In the panel Robert Thilthorpe, Chairman of Euralarm Technical Committee Horizontal Compliance added: “we do not fit into the CPR and the CPR is never going to work for us.” The panel, led by Norbert Schaaf, Chairman TC 79,  also discussed the impact of the RED Directive developed by ETSI, a specialised European standardisation body, where a one year transition period to adapt alarm systems to the new standards, proposed by the European Commission, was judged far too short by the panellists, who noted that a demand for extension had been rejected.

Keith Shinn, Mr. Massingberd-Mundy’s counterpart at international level within a corresponding ISO Committee, looking at the current problems encountered by the Industry in Europe, asked a provocative question: “should European companies use ISO standards as their standards?”

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