The proposal to create a National Fire Safe Register which gathers together in one place existing accredited schemes for the certification of installers, maintainers and registered fire risk assessors is gaining strong support from all sectors of the fire community according to BM TRADA.
The plan, which was first discussed at the Fire Sector Summit in October, is for an umbrella register which would gather together all the existing schemes under a single brand that could be widely promoted. The aim being to make it easier for designers, specifiers and building owners and occupiers to identify and appoint competent installers, maintainers and fire risk assessors.
Speaking at the ASFP Parliamentary seminar on 4 December, Mike Wood
, Chair of the Passive Fire Protection Federation
explained that an online survey, conducted by BM TRADA, had shown strong support for such a scheme, with over 90% of respondents agreeing that there should be a National Fire Safe Register and 95% of those respondents saying that they would use it.
With the respondents coming from all sectors of the industry, Mr Wood declared that this was the strongest indication that such a scheme would be well supported and, if implemented, would provide an essential step in improving standards across the UK.
“A National Fire Safe Register is the natural next step and I trust the fire safety sector through the Fire Sector Federation will plan to take it. As the responsible body, I don’t see how we can avoid that step. It is simply an obligation to those who rely on fire safety
,” he declared.
Outlining three key arguments for such a scheme, Mr Wood declared:
“Installation and maintenance are critical. We know as a sector that correct installation for all fire protection systems is fundamental in achieving proper function in protecting against fire, according to product and system design. We also know from industry feedback that too many installations are carried out below standard
Mr Wood also noted that changes in the fire safety landscape are placing competency in the spotlight, with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order placing personal responsibility and a duty of care on building owners, local authority landlords, private landlords, fire safety advisers, risk assessors, safety and facilities managers.
“Those responsibilities now extend far more overtly than they did along the manufacturing, design, specification, installation, maintenance and refurbishment chain.
“The individuals in those groups cannot possibly be confident fire safety specialists across the range of technically demanding and diverse fire safety systems but they do need to know enough to know when to ask the right question – and where to go to get the right answers – with a high degree of assurance that they are not being misled down the garden path.
“They need to be confident that they are receiving professional support, a) in installation, maintenance and refurbishment work; and b) in guidance and advice on fitness for use of fire safety systems.
Noting that buildings are far less robust than they once were due to the use of lighter constructions and materials with higher levels of combustibility, Mr. Wood said it is even more essential that fire protection is installed in the right place and will work as intended.
“Where fire protection measures are installed – of whatever type, in whatever combination – then there is an even greater imperative that they are right, in the right place and able to function as intended,
” he declared.
Speaking of the National Fire Safe Register initiative, Jon Osborn
, Chief Operating Officer of BM TRADA Building and Product Services
“A National Fire Safe Register is an important development that will enable all those listed to demonstrate clearly that they are competent, since they meet the requirements of a UKAS-accredited scheme.
“A new register should raise standards by encouraging the use of competent fire risk assessors, installers and maintainers who are members of existing third party certification schemes. It should also demonstrate to those who are currently outside of such schemes the value of participating and serve to raise levels of competence across the board.”
BM TRADA has so far received over 100 responses to its survey, with respondents including ; Architects/Designers; Building Control; Contractors; Engineers; Fire Risk Assessors; Fire Safety Advisers; Health & Safety Advisers; Installers/Maintenance contractors; Product Manufacturers and Surveyors. To register your opinion, take part in the BM TRADA survey