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Changes to IFE Fire Risk Assessor Register set to “further establish competency”

02 November 2021

NEXT YEAR will see changes to the registration process for the Institution of Fire Engineers’ (IFE) Fire Risk Assessors Register in order to introduce the mandatory requirement for individuals named on the list to be dual registered with The Engineering Council and the IFE. This affects all existing registrants as well as those looking to become an IFE registered assessor.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, and the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety conducted by Dame Judith Hackitt, a Steering Group focused on ‘Competences for Building a Safer Future’ (ie the Competence Steering Group) was created. Working Group 4 (WG4) considered the competence of fire risk assessors, led by the Fire Sector Federation with input from various bodies across the sector including the IFE.

The findings and recommendations were fed into the Competence Steering Group’s ‘Raising the Bar’ report, and subsequently into ‘Setting the Bar’, itself published in October last year.

WG4 recommended the accredited third party certification of fire risk assessors and that organisations should be introduced with registers of persons assessed by organisations accredited by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) and others validated by being part of a professional engineering institution licensed by The Engineering Council.

Registration process

In response to the ‘Setting the Bar’ report, the IFE will be implementing changes to the fire risk assessor registration process in 2022. This will mean that all fire risk assessors registered with the organisation will also need to be registered with The Engineering Council via the IFE. In the majority of cases, registration as an Engineering Technician (ie EngTech) will be appropriate.  

From 1 April 2022, all existing fire risk assessors registered with the IFE will need to apply for Engineering Council registration with the IFE prior to their next periodic review date.

From 1 January 2022, anyone applying to become registered as a fire risk assessor with the IFE will also need to become registered with The Engineering Council via the IFE in parallel with making their assessor application.

Nick Coombe, chair of the IFE’s Fire Risk Assessor Panel, explained: “This change to our process demonstrates our support of the ‘Setting the Bar’ report and fire risk assessors should be encouraged by its introduction. The additional requirement to be professionally registered with The Engineering Council demonstrates the quality and standards expected from our assessors. For individuals, it demonstrates that you’re appropriately qualified and experienced and adhere to standards set by not only the IFE, but also The Engineering Council, which is an important factor in fire risk assessments.”

Positive step forward

Steve Hamm, the IFE’s CEO, added: “This move further cements the IFE as the ‘go to’ professional body for the fire sector. The change to our registration process is a positive step forward and one which will undoubtedly benefit everyone involved. ‘Responsible Persons’ who engage the services of an IFE-registered fire risk assessor will benefit from the assurance provided by The Engineering Council’s standards of competence and professional conduct. Not only will registered individuals demonstrate an established level of competency, but also third party oversight from The Engineering Council provides Government and the public with the confidence and reassurances they need when searching for competent and registered fire risk assessors.”

Hamm added: “The IFE is licensed by The Engineering Council to register individuals. This move will ensure that we have third party scrutiny of our fire risk assessors’ service as well. Being licensed by The Engineering Council means that, as an organisation, we’re subject to a licence review every five years as well as an annual risk assessment. Observers from The Engineering Council are also present at IFE meetings on a regular basis.”