Fire safety is now receiving close review and scrutiny more so than ever after the horrific event at Grenfell Tower last year. It is imperative that if you do choose to complete your own fire risk assessment you must be competent to do so. If you acknowledge you are not confident in your ability to fulfil this requirement and other fire safety obligations you should be employing competent providers to help you meet these to the highest standards. For example, legislation states for fire-fighting and fire detection:
“The Responsible Person must, where necessary - nominate competent persons to implement those measures and ensure that the number of such persons, their training and the equipment available to them are adequate, taking into account the size of, and the specific hazards involved in, the premises concerned.” - The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (Part 2, Article 13.3.b)
Stephen Adams (BAFE Chief Executive) has previously stated in Housing Association Magazine that “Housing Associations, Groups and Trusts must ensure they are adhering to the relevant parts that apply to them in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 [and equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland]. It is imperative in this instance that quality providers are used to ensure a safe building where untrained and potentially vulnerable people reside."
Be confident quality providers are being used
There are many companies up and down the country that offer fire safety services, so who can you trust to be a competent provider who will deliver the right works for your building? One very strong option is to use a company that has gained third party certification to fulfil your specific requirements. Third party certification is a completely independent method of a company gaining evidence of their competency to provide a particular service.
Don’t neglect to maintain your fire systems and provisions
It is a good feeling once you have established a quality fire risk assessment, to ensure that you have the correct fire extinguishers and installed an appropriate fire detection system and emergency lighting, to know your building is safe. However, ongoing maintenance of these is just as important to ensure they continue to provide a safe environment to be in. This is part of your fire safety legal obligations and should also be performed by a competent provider.
Why is third party certification important?
Without third party certification, there is little in the industry that can offer independent, unbiased approval that a company can competently deliver what they claim. This is of vital importance with fire safety, as this is always discussing life safety.
Government fire safety guidance documents state “Third-party certification schemes for fire protection products and related services are an effective means of providing the fullest possible assurances, offering a level of quality, reliability and safety that non-certificated products may lack.”
Where can I find a third party certificated company to help fulfil my fire safety obligations?
BAFE is the independent registration body for third party certificated fire protection companies across the UK. A national independent register of quality fire safety service providers that is available to use for free to find competent companies near you.
It is important to use competent providers, certificated in the specific service that you require. You wouldn’t use a dentist to perform heart surgery, so why would you use a company certificated to provide sprinklers to fulfil your fire risk assessment? On the BAFE website you can search for providers certificated in specific areas to ensure you are using a competent provider for these required works.
BAFE third party certification schemes are developed to support best working practice and appropriate British and European Standards - and are regularly monitored to make sure they offer the best assurances of competency for the fire protection industry.