The annual conference earns its reputation from addressing the topics that really matter to the Industry. This year’s event was no exception, with qualifications for the fire safety and electronic security Industry, digitisation and cybersecurity, and the Construction Product Regulation (CPR) as the three main threads of the Symposium. It was the occasion to take stock of what has been achieved in terms of preparing the Industry for the technological challenges ahead and political battles to be fought, notably through the efforts of its European trade body, Euralarm. There was also a strong focus on the role of standardisation to open markets and facilitate business.
This was made possible thanks to a line-up of speakers including representatives from companies such as DEF, Hekatron, Siemens, Schrack Seconet, SC ONEST, United Technologies and Xtralis, and influent national associations such as Romanian National Association for Information Systems Security (ANSSI), France’s GESI, the UK Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Germany’s ZVEI. Romania’s ASRO represented standardisation bodies.
A first panel concentrated on the topic of qualifications in the Industry. The discussion started with a reminder that, when the EU Commission issued a Directive on Services in 2006, Euralarm agreed with the legislation at the condition of a minimum qualification level to be the entry barrier for its Industry. The resulting EN 16763 European Services Standard, championed by Euralarm, was one of the first to focus on the service sector. The association’s Members now focus their efforts on establishing qualification schemes – an area where countries such as France, Romania or the United Kingdom are on the leading edge. While the panellists warned of the difficulty of the task they also carried a positive message: "The more people are qualified, the more people will want to be qualified," said Robert Yates from the FIA. "Apart from private security services, every service related to fire safety and security is affected by the Service Directive. This is why it will take time to fully implement," said Peter Krapp from ZVEI. "But other sectors in construction envy what we have achieved in our Industry with EN16763 standard on services,” he added.
The second session was more informative and offered an overview of the digital transformation impacting the security and fire safety sector, including the EU GDPR, the upcoming EU Cybersecurity Act and the ever-evolving cybersecurity risks. "We have the Internet of Things but also the Internet of bad Things, which are not working properly when it comes to cybersecurity," said Toma Cimpeanu from Romanian National Association for Information Systems Security ANSSI. “The threats are changing every month so you have to adapt, this is the point,” explained Viorel Petcu, from SC ONEST SOLUTIONS. Observing that the push for cybersecurity is another occasion to make the market less fragmented through standardisation, Euralarm’s Technical Manager Marc Chenevoy offered standardisation in the aircraft Industry as an example of a systematised process keeping technology and standards in line at a quick pace. Hekatron’s Michael Scharnowsky presented an overview of the current work in cybersecurity standardisation.
The last panel discussed the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), an EU regulation laying down harmonised rules for the marketing of construction products in the EU. Its implementation and legalist reading from the EU Commission has however recently hindered the citing of harmonised European standards from the CEN Technical Committees 72 and 191 in the EU Open Journal (EUOJ), resulting in a convoluted and precarious blockade. The EU Commission is currently evaluating a public consultation on the CPR, in which Euralarm participated. The results are expected to be released during the summer. In agreement with the Industry’s position, Iulia Chilea Director of the Romanian national standardisation body ASRO stated: “Surely the CPR is difficult to implement, but leaving it is not the answer. Improving it is the solution.”
In that respect, it is clear that Euralarm once again is at the forefront of a movement advocating for an ever-more integrated European market. The speakers called for a CPR that goes beyond the current regulation: "Across the board in construction, there is a recognition that the CE mark does not provide a guarantee that the product will do what it says on the tin," said Robert Thilthorpe, an FIA Technical Manager and Chairman of CEN Technical Committee 191 for fixed firefighting systems. “The challenge is that there is not a huge appetite to change, to an extent, the Construction Products Regulation. We have to make sure that those solutions we are exploring are not cut out of the final text of the regulation," warned Peter Mundy from Xtralis and Chairman of CEN Technical Committee 72 for fire detection and fire alarm systems.
The Euralarm Symposium 2019 will take place in Brussels and is expected to have an even stronger focus on European legislation and regulation.
Euralarm thanks the panellists and moderators. A special Thank You to the sponsors having made this year’s event possible: Astal, Certalarm, EFSG, Optex, Schrack and Telesystem, as well as its Member and co-organised of the event, the Romanian Security Association ARTS.