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“Vital for companies to meet new standards for higher risk buildings” urges Fire Sector Federation

13 October 2020

THE FIRE Sector Federation has welcomed publication of the ‘Setting the Bar’ report by the Competence Steering Group, itself established to tackle competence shortcomings identified in the ‘Building a Safer Future’ report published in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

In setting out a blueprint to improve competence for those working on higher risk buildings, ‘Setting the Bar’ also paves the way for improvements in fire safety in all new buildings.

Members of the Fire Sector Federation made a significant contribution to the report across several Working Groups, playing leading roles in those Working Groups directly responsible for developing enhanced competence for fire engineers, installers and fire risk assessors.

Across all of the Working Groups, no less than 17 Fire Sector Federation member organisations contributed their expertise and knowledge.

Commenting on the report itself, Dennis Davis (executive officer at the Fire Sector Federation and chair of the Fire Risk Assessors Working Group) said: “The ‘Setting the Bar’ report marks a significant milestone in addressing the building safety failings in competency identified by Dame Judith Hackitt. A huge amount of work has been undertaken to come this far. Everyone involved has recognised how vital it is to know that people working on higher risk buildings achieve these higher standards of competence that have been outlined.”

Davis continued: “The work continues to implement the report’s findings. The Fire Sector Federation is currently developing a Code of Practice on fire risk assessments to consolidate detailed criteria, and is also working with the British Standards Institution to create a benchmark framework standard. In addition, we’re helping to create fire safety-focused educational material for those seeking to operate in properties with complex fire risks and supplementing the existing guidance on choosing fire risk assessors.”

He concluded: “Our commitment is to continue to develop and implement the recommendations to give the necessary reassurance to members of the public, regulators and firefighters alike that only competent persons will work on higher risk buildings.”