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SSAIB achieves accreditation for BAFE SP207 Scheme

20 April 2021

THE SECURITY Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) has achieved accreditation for BAFE’s SP207 Scheme focused on Emergency Evacuation Systems. The latter are used by Fire and Rescue Services to prioritise evacuation from high-rise residential buildings and ensure that individuals at risk in endangered areas can be safely evacuated.

Supporting British Standard 8629 Evacuation Alert Systems for Use by Fire and Rescue Services in Buildings Containing Flats, the BAFE Scheme covers the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of emergency evacuations  systems that will help to provide quality evidence of competency to deliver these services.

SSAIB fire scheme manager Keith Strugnell strongly believes that SP207 Scheme has the potential to become an essential addition for organisations looking to provide evacuation systems.

Discussing this development in the upcoming edition of SSAIB’s annual magazine entitled ‘The Standard’, Strugnell stated: “Developed in response to a recommendation from the Grenfell Tower Phase 1 Inquiry report, it’s likely to become a requirement that those involved will need to be third party certified to work on emergency evacuation systems going forward.”

He continued: “Despite SP207 being a brand new scheme, existing SSAIB-registered SP203-1 firms will find it comparable with their own scheme as it uses a similar format, albeit that the SP207 Scheme document has been changed to make it more relevant to emergency evacuation systems. Therefore, in theory, practitioners will satisfy the requirements for SP207 by default if they already have SP203-1.”

Catalogue of fire schemes

BAFE announced the SP207 Scheme in the final quarter of 2020. The SSAIB acted promptly to ensure that the organisation could add SP207 to its existing catalogue of BAFE fire schemes.

Strugnell commented: “We completed training on BS 8629:2019 for our auditors and scheduled several pilot audits for those initial companies to achieve certification for this latest BAFE Scheme that we provide certification for to the fire industry. We collated all of the necessary criteria necessary for our information packs and then we were ready to go. All of this has allowed us to successfully add to our list of fire schemes and ensure that our firms are able to keep up-to-date with the latest industry developments.”

Chris Auger, BAFE’s director of schemes, added: “The demand shown following the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consultation has been unprecedented and represents a far greater awareness of systems and the competency required of installers following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.”

Further, Auger explained: “Following on from the work BAFE has performed in conjunction with the industry and the Fire and Rescue Service, we’re pleased to offer a route to achieving this important third party certification. Quality evidence of competency is going to have far greater scrutiny for everyone working in high-rise blocks in the very near future which can only be a good thing. This BAFE Scheme will fill a crucial gap in providing confidence to specifiers who’ll know they are fulfilling their due diligence and continuing the ‘golden thread’ of accountability for the life safety of residents within a given building.”

Expanding portfolio

In conclusion, Auger observed: “The expanding portfolio of BAFE Schemes represents the necessity of quality evidence of competency that’s required for niche, but extremely important, areas of the industry. Third party certification is going to be a key focus of attention for the built environment moving forward and BAFE needs to position itself to offer schemes that are both needed and reflect the current concerns of occupants, regulators, service providers and building owners/managers alike.”

*More information on BAFE SP207 – and all of the other fire schemes certified by the SSAIB – is available online at www.ssaib.org