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Fire Sector Federation publishes Approved Code of Practice for Fire Risk Assessor Competency

10 December 2020

THE FIRE Sector Federation has published an approved Code of Practice that places third party accreditation and professional body membership at the very heart of a national framework focused on fire risk assessor competency.

Developed by the industry, the Code of Practice builds upon earlier work and then extends the expectations for fire risk assessors, including those who are undertaking work in those buildings deemed to be at higher risk of fire outbreak. The knowledge, skills, experience and behaviours necessary to satisfy these requirements are detailed such that individuals perform at a given standard to ensure buildings that are fire safe.

The Code of Practice acknowledges that improving the competence of fire risk assessors can be better assured if there’s oversight of the organisation offering – through a company or scheme - individual fire risk assessor certification or assessment. Providing accreditation or validation in the UK would be either through UKAS, the national accreditation body, or a professional engineering institution licensed by the Engineering Council.

In all cases, the Code of Practice stipulates that fire risk assessors should be registered within a company scheme or professional body which will share responsibility with the individuals concerned for maintaining accredited third party compliance.

Working Group

The Fire Sector Federation helped to form and bring together a Working Group of fire risk assessors to address the implications of competence duly identified in the ‘Building a Safer Future’ report on the Grenfell Tower fire.

That Working Group was chaired by the Federation as one of several established by the Competency Steering Group, whose ‘Setting the Bar’ report was published last month. The approved Code of Practice plays a major part in the implementation of the Working Group’s findings.

Dennis Davis, executive officer at the Fire Sector Federation and chair of the Competency Steering Group’s Fire Risk Assessors Working Group, observed: “The approved Code of Practice is the result of a significant volume of work undertaken by Fire Sector Federation members and, indeed, the wider fire sector. It advances further the national competency framework for fire risk assessors and, in so doing, I hope reassures members of the public that the fire sector is dedicated to ensuring fire safety is maintained in fit for purpose new buildings and renovations.”

Davis continued: “The framework gives transparency to the whole process and offers a clear blueprint of how individuals can meet their obligations and achieve the necessary levels of competence in fire risk assessment. It sets out the learning points that trainers must incorporate into their learning programmes to ensure that individual assessors are competent and effective and, what’s more, understand their responsibilities. They must also be part of a professional body or organisation that meets its obligation to ensure continued professional standards at all times.”

Building on original guidance

For its part, the Fire Sector Federation seeks to give voice to and exert influence in shaping future policy and strategy related to the UK’s fire sector. The Federation is a not-for-profit, non-Government organisation established to act as a forum for the benefit of its membership and designed to evolve as a central source of information on all aspects relating to fire.

The Code of Practice consolidates recommendations from across the fire industry on Best Practice in terms of how to assess the competency of individuals conducting fire risk assessments. It builds on the original guidance criteria formulated to introduce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which requires the ‘Responsible Person’ to ‘make suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying general fire precautions’.

*Approved Code of Practice for Fire Risk Assessor Competency is available to download at https://bit.ly/39e8Cyd