Home>Fire>Evacuation>NSI awarded UKAS accreditation for BAFE SP207 Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme

NSI awarded UKAS accreditation for BAFE SP207 Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme

12 October 2020

THE NATIONAL Security Inspectorate (NSI) has become the first certification body to be awarded accreditation by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for the Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme incorporating the requirements of BAFE’s all-new SP207 Scheme.

The UK’s independent register of quality fire safety service providers, BAFE has developed the new scheme in response to a recommendation from the Grenfell Tower Phase 1 Inquiry report whereby new or existing blocks of flats, with one or more storeys over 18 metres above ground level, should be provided with evacuation alert systems.

Evacuation alert systems activated solely by the Fire and Rescue Services initiate evacuation alert signals in the event of a fire or other emergency, save time in alerting occupants to evacuate and enable the most critical areas for evacuation to be prioritised. 

BAFE Scheme SP207 calls upon BS 8629, the Code of Practice for the Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance of Evacuation Alert Systems for Use by Fire and Rescue Services in Buildings Containing Flats, published on 30 November last year. As SP207 is modular in nature, companies can gain certification from the NSI for one or more services they provide (ie design, installation, commissioning and/or maintenance).

Professional fire safety providers wishing to gain certification through the NSI have two approval options, namely Gold and Silver, with Gold available to those companies operating a Quality Management System in accordance with BS EN ISO 9001.

Similar to an MOT, NSI-approved companies will issue an NSI/BAFE Certificate of Compliance for newly installed systems and on completion of scheduled maintenance visits (every six months) as evidence to enforcing authorities and insurers alike that systems are adequately installed and maintained.

Recognition by UKAS

NSI CEO Richard Jenkins (pictured, right) commented: “We’re proud to be the first certification body to gain accreditation from UKAS for the new Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme, having been involved throughout the scheme’s inception and development. This accreditation demonstrates that the NSI’s capability has been independently recognised by UKAS.”

Jenkins continued: “The NSI’s auditing team is fully prepared to verify the competency of fire safety companies responsible for the design, installation, commissioning and/or maintenance of these systems which are designed to help save lives and property. Third party certification by a UKAS-accredited body such as the NSI provides assurance for building landlords and residents of the skills, competency and integrity of fire safety providers responsible for these systems.”

BAFE’s CEO Stephen Adams responded: “In the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government document published in May regarding fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats, it was revealed that 92% of respondents believe Approved Document B should include a requirement for an evacuation alert system. With this demand, BAFE is confident that it has developed a quality scheme in SP207 to display evidence of competency for providing evacuation alert system works. SP207 has been developed in conjunction with the fire safety industry and Fire and Rescue Services within the SP207 Development Group. This will now evolve into a dedicated Monitoring Group to ensure SP207 remains the highest echelon of competency evidence attainable for this service.”

Adams concluded: “The ongoing message BAFE continue to stress is that fire safety is all about life safety. Put simply, the sooner people are made aware of an emergency and alerted to evacuate, using quality and well-maintained systems to do so, then so much the better.”

*Companies interested in gaining third party certification for the BAFE Evacuation Alert Systems (SP207) Scheme should contact John Davidson at the NSI by e-mail: john.davidson@nsi.org.uk