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BAFE responds to Scottish fire safety guidance consultation

09 February 2018

BAFE HAS responded positively to the Scottish Government’s consultation regarding guidance for existing premises with sleeping accommodation but feels further changes are needed.

Three fire safety guides are being combined to assist with reference and future updating. The guidance document states in chapter 1 paragraph 25 that: “Both the Scottish Government and the SFRS recommend that duty holders who wish to contract the services of an external fire safety risk assessor, select an assessor from a list of competent fire risk assessors maintained by a professional body or a UKAS accredited third party certification body. 

“Alternatively, they could use the services of companies, including sole traders, that are third party certificated under appropriate schemes operated by certification bodies that have, themselves, been UKAS accredited as competent to certificate against such schemes. (The benefit of company certification is that the certification body monitors the quality of the certificated company’s work and confirms that there is a system for management of quality within the certificated company).”

BAFE says it’s extremely pleased to see the continued support for third party certification regarding the competency of fire risk assessors but believes changes should be made to the revised guide.

In particular BAFE would like to see amends in Chapter 7 (Provision and use of means of escape). A BAFE statement said: “The maintenance of Emergency Lighting Installations ought to be strongly recommended. The text should also say that third party certification schemes are available which can add reassurance for the design, installation and maintenance.”

BAFE also welcomed a section dedicated to unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS) in Chapter 8 (Fire detection and warning) but disapproves of the missing information regarding third party certificated providers to deliver fire detection and alarm system works for all stages. The statement continued: The document completely ignores third party certification of the design, installation and maintenance of fire detection systems. The use of a competent, certificated contractor can provide reassurance that the system is appropriate as well as assist in the reduction and avoidance of UFAS…BAFE believes that appropriate references should be added to the text.”

In Chapter 9 (Means for fighting fire), it was also noted that while the document does state that third party certification schemes are in place to provide assurances of quality for firefighting equipment, the ongoing maintenance of these is not mentioned. BAFE responded: A reference to the certification schemes for fire-fighting equipment and its maintenance would seem appropriate as they can assist in selecting, correctly siting and commissioning such equipment and carrying out necessary maintenance.”

BAFE’s full response can be seen here

An overview of the Consultation on Practical Fire Safety Guidance for Existing Premises with Sleeping Accommodation can be found on the Scottish Government website https://consult.gov.scot/fire-and-rescue/premises-with-sleeping-accommodation