Tag Archives: Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Eaton simplifies fire systems with BiWire Ultra and CPD training

Eaton is aiming to simplify the installation of fire alarm systems in smaller premises with the launch of a two-wire system. The company’s latest fire alarm system, BiWire Ultra, is designed for fast and efficient installation in buildings such as primary schools, small hotels, offices, restaurants and retail stores where a standard conventional system would have typically been installed.

However, unlike standard conventional systems, the BiWire Ultra enables all detectors, Call Points and notification devices to share the same zone wiring, thereby reducing cabling requirements by up to 50%.

To support the launch of the new system, Eaton has developed a new CPD certified seminar on two-wire systems. The CPD aims to help electrical engineers and installers better understand the different types of fire systems available and how two-wire can save costs compared with a conventional system.

Chris Anderson, business leader for fire products at Eaton, told Risk UK: “Our new BiWire Ultra system has been designed with simplicity in mind. It’s quick and easy to install, reducing cabling costs and the time spent programming and operating the system. Feedback from our customers so far has been extremely positive.”

EatonBiWire

Intuitive fire alarm control panel

BiWire Ultra comprises an intuitive fire alarm control panel alongside a range of complementary devices including Call Points, a five-in-one fire detector plus a range of EN5423-approved beacons and sounder beacons.

BiWire Ultra is the latest addition to Eaton’s comprehensive suite of life safety solutions, which aim to help building owners and managers meet their safety obligations in the most effective and efficient manner.

Available in two-, four- or eight-zone variants, the system can support up to 52 devices per zone. Wiring faults are easily found by initiating a flashing LED indicator on the detector nearest the fault.

Supplied with a back-up battery to ensure the correct ratings and reduce complexity, the central panel has an attractive appearance and a simple user interface. Conforming to the requirements of BS 5839-1, commissioning and maintenance is straightforward. It’s easy for one person to carry out testing and ensure the healthy state of the system, as is required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005.

Additional functionality of the system includes a class change facility for schools, which automates the class change bell via the fire alarm, expansion card support for fire alarm routing equipment and fire protection equipment and an interlink relay for connecting two panels together.

Anderson added: “The BiWire Ultra range is the first of its type to offer EN5423-approved beacons so, whatever the risk assessment, premises fitted with a BiWire Ultra system comply with the latest standards for fire notification. However, the legal and moral obligations of fire safety are not only concerned with installation, but also ongoing maintenance and testing. BiWire Ultra is designed to make that process straightforward. With all of this in mind, we believe this range will appeal to a diverse cross-section of small and medium-sized premises where owners need protection without problems.”

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Free Download: FIREX Regulatory Reform Webinar

Last week, the Fire Protection Association (FPA) hosted the first FIREX webinar for 2016 focusing on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and what this means for individual businesses.

The top-rated webinar hosted by the FPA’s training business and operations manager John Briggs explored what would be expected from a responsible person in regards to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

During the webinar, Briggs highlighted two strong Case Studies demonstrating why someone may be the responsible person by default and how to avoid imprisonment and heavy fines.

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Gerry Dunphy, event director for IFSEC and FIREX International, explained: “We were delighted to host our first webinar of 2016 in partnership with the FPA. Having spoken to the industry, we know that keeping on top of legislation is often difficult. It’s vital that sector professionals have access to resources that can assist with this process. It was great to work with John and the FPA to bring this informative and vital webinar covering critical topics to our audience of fire safety professionals.”

For those that missed out on listening to the live webinar, a recorded version is now available to download for free on the FIREX International event website.

*To download and listen to the webinar click here: www.firex.co.uk/FPA_Webinar_RRO

**For more information on FIREX International 2016 visit: www.firex.co.uk

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Hochiki Europe launches fire system logbook to support customer compliance

According to Government figures, the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services have attended nearly a quarter of a million false alarm incidents throughout the last two years, with the majority caused by faulty fire system apparatus. Yet maintaining thorough records of testing and maintenance of a property’s fire safety system has been a legal obligation for domestic premises and houses with multiple occupants in England and Wales since the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 (RRFSO) was introduced. 

In response, Hochiki Europe has launched “the industry’s most comprehensive fire system logbook” for its customers. The new logbooks provide guidance in line with the UK’s most recent legislation to help those responsible for the upkeep of fire safety systems to accurately record false alarms as well as required maintenance and testing processes, in turn ensuring compliance.

The RRFSO is supported by BS 5839, a Code of Practice published by BSI which recommends any owner of a fire detection system records all system events in a suitable logbook.

The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 is supported by BS 5839

The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 is supported by BS 5839

Hochiki Europe’s new logbooks have been compiled by a team of BAFE consultants. The logbooks allow customers to monitor system activity, abide by UK legislation and have their records to hand in the event of a Health and Safety audit.

The A4 logbooks contain 36 pages of fire system-related forms and checklists in which end users can record false alarms, tests and maintenance work, panel access codes and battery capacity.

The new logbooks also provide written guidance for users around their responsibilities when facing false alarms, changes to the building, routine system attention, pre-alarms and recommendations on how to properly investigate fire safety systems.

Hochiki's Fire Detection and Fire Alarm System Logbook

Hochiki’s Fire Detection and Fire Alarm System Logbook

 

Paul Adams, deputy marketing manager at Hochiki Europe, said: “Understanding the history of a fire safety system and recognising patterns in its activity can be a crucial element in preventing fire incidents. As shown by the BS 5839 Code of Practice, logbooks play an important role in fire safety and are required by law. By giving our customers the option to buy logbooks directly from us at the same time as their system components, they can save time and ensure that they’re following the most up-to-date compliance practices.”

 

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‘Fire risk management systems should be formalised’ urges FIA’s Fire Risk Assessment Council

In the wake of prominent multi-fatality fires, organisations have spent considerable sums of money on fire safety but not necessarily achieved an improved level of fire safety assurance. Having spent a number of years undertaking fire risk assessments on the same portfolio of buildings, Ben Bradford states that it’s noticeable some organisations are beginning to wonder if the current practice is sustainable.

It has been almost nine years since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 prompted many organisations to undertake fire risk assessments within the premises under their control. Several have spent significant financial resources on consultant fire risk assessors (a person who carries out and documents the significant findings of a fire risk assessment) only to discover that, although the advice they received may have been offered with the best of intentions, it was not wholly appropriate. Indeed, it may also have differed from the advice of a ‘competent’ fire risk assessor.

At the same time, the fire industry has itself spent a considerable amount of time in the last few years deciding how to define a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment and also how to tackle the ‘cowboy’ market. It would appear that, at long last, there’s now at least a ‘defined’ competency criterion for fire risk assessors and guidance for those charged with delivering fire risk assessment programmes on how to seek the services of a competent fire risk assessor.

Following a recent enforcement review around the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which was undertaken by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is now committed to promoting the use – and acceptance – of recognised professional certification and accreditation for commercial fire risk assessors.

Fire risk management is evolving both as a discipline and a practice

Fire risk management is evolving both as a discipline and a practice

Fire risk assessments are the very cornerstone of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, yet the value of such an assessment – even when conducted by a competent fire risk assessor – is largely dependent on the organisation’s ability to manage the outcomes.

A fire risk assessment is a means to an end but not the end in itself. When reviewing the high profile prosecutions that have hit the headlines over the past few years, one quickly realises that failure to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment (under Article 9) is not the only compliance obligation imposed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. There are numerous other duties by which the responsible person is bound.

Cost of fire at an all-time high

Enter the concept of ‘fire risk management’. With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. Rather, it encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire.

In today’s global and interconnected marketplace, issues such as Corporate Social Responsibility and reputational risk are extremely prominent. News headlines travel fast via both traditional and new media forms. The cost of fire is at an all-time high and, in these tough economic times, organisations need to be frugal with finite financial resources. In essence, they require to build resilience and ensure that fire risk assessment programmes deliver the intended outcomes.

Many organisations have a policy in place setting out an overarching statement of intent (signed by the CEO) and firmly establishing the ‘What’ and ‘Why’. Less common, yet essential, is the Fire Risk Management Strategy – a document which defines an organisation’s fire risk management system and method of implementing the overarching policy, and which firmly establishes the details of ‘How’, ‘When’ and ‘Who’.

These two pieces of documentation form the backbone of an organisation’s fire risk management system (a set of interrelated or interacting elements within an organisation designed to establish policies, objectives and processes to achieve those objectives and manage fire risk) and are generally underpinned by operational procedures.

The practice of fire risk management within our built environment is a much broader discipline than many give it credit for. It’s often delegated to the Health and Safety manager or the security manager within an organisation and, while I’m not suggesting that all companies should have a dedicated fire specialist responsible for fire risk management, they must acknowledge that fire safety is not just a sub-discipline of Health and Safety.

With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. It encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire

With very few fire fatalities arising in commercial premises, fire risk management is not just about life safety or the risk of injury or death in the event of fire occurrence. It encapsulates life safety, property protection, mission continuity and sustainability in the face of fire

Fire risk management is a discipline in its own right with its own set of competencies. It does not always sit neatly in the Health and Safety Department due to the need for interaction with property, estates or facilities management functions. The old adage about ‘Jack of all trades’ most certainly applies. Too many fire safety manager roles are advertised with the essential qualifications stated as a NEBOSH Diploma, which merely emphasises the confusion often found in organisations regarding the scope of the Health and Safety manager’s role.

When undertaking fire risk management system audits, my experience is that those organisations recognising fire risk management as a discipline in its own right – regardless of which department the function sits – are in a far better position to maintain governance over organisational fire risk than those that do not.

Competency criteria to be considered

The Fire Sector Federation has recognised that, having established the Competency Council and published the competency criteria for fire risk assessors, the next logical step is to consider the competency criteria for those actively engaged in fire risk management.

Following an initial meeting of key stakeholders, organised jointly between the Fire Sector Federation and the Fire Industry Association, there’s now a proposal afoot to reform the Competency Council and really tackle this issue.

Some organisations have formalised their fire safety policy, strategy and procedures and are now in the process of gaining fire risk management system certification via a third party certification body. Those organisations that already hold certification of their Health and Safety management system to OHSAS 18001 or business continuity management system to ISO 22301 are well placed to integrate their management systems and streamline the internal or external audit process.

Fire risk management system certification via a UKAS-accredited third party certification body will provide a means to reduce the burden on enforcing authorities and significantly support the Primary Authority (or Fire Authority) partnership schemes.

Fire risk management is evolving (both as a discipline and a practice) as an integrated or holistic approach to understanding and managing the risks posed by the threat of fire which enables an organisation to optimise its underlying processes and achieve more efficient results.

Those responsible for fire safety in organisations would do well to consider formalising their fire risk management system, and not focus solely on the process of documenting fire risk assessments.

Ben Bradford BSc MSc MBA CEng FCIBSE FRICS FIFireE is a member of the FIA’s Fire Risk Assessment Council and the founder/managing director of BB7

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UCL becomes first university to be third party certificated through NSI for life safety fire risk assessments

University College London (UCL) has broken new ground by becoming the first university to be third party certificated to carry out life safety fire risk assessments through the National Security Inspectorate (NSI).

UCL turned to the NSI – one of the first certification bodies to be licensed to deliver BAFE’s fire sector schemes – to take it through the process of becoming third party certificated to BAFE’s SP205-1 Scheme for Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment.

To ensure compliance with the BAFE Scheme requirements and to prove its competency, UCL was rigorously assessed by the NSI against the Scheme criteria and documented management system.

Indeed, UCL’s management system process was thoroughly audited, and the execution of fire risk assessments by the appointed UCL fire safety team duly witnessed by the Inspectorate.

Having successfully completed the certification process, dual BAFE registration and NSI approval for the Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment Silver Scheme was granted to UCL at the end of July.

Simon Cooke (UCL’s fire safety manager, left) and Keith Todd (UCL’s fire safety officer) proudly display the NSI Certificate of Approval

Simon Cooke (UCL’s fire safety manager, left) and Keith Todd (UCL’s fire safety officer) proudly display the NSI Certificate of Approval

Commitment to regular internal audits

UCL’s campus houses over 250 buildings across London, including office premises, classrooms, research facilities, laboratories and student accommodation.

Those responsible for fire safety within the university are now able to prove that they have the necessary competencies to carry out their own risk assessments or sub-contract this work to a similarly competent organisation if they wish to do so.

To maintain its approval with the NSI, UCL has committed to carry out regular internal audits that will ensure its fire risk assessors continue to meet the necessary competency requirements. They will be regularly audited by the NSI to verify continued compliance with BAFE’s requirements.

Keith Todd, fire safety officer at UCL, commented: “We’re delighted to have successfully attained BAFE SP205 third party certification. In so doing, we’ve demonstrated that UCL is providing suitable and sufficient fire risk assessments. It also helps us to ensure that we continue to operate to the highest fire safety and fire management standards possible, and can demonstrate this to our relevant persons, our own organisation and the fire authorities responsible for enforcing legislation.”

Also speaking about UCL’s achievement, Richard Jenkins – the NSI’s CEO – stated: “I’m delighted that UCL chose the NSI to act as its third party certification body. Our certification process and auditing capability enjoys a reputation that’s second to none within the security and fire sectors. UCL clearly understands the value that NSI certification brings, demonstrating its competence and ongoing commitment to the safety of all on its premises.”

Richard Jenkins: CEO at the NSI

Richard Jenkins: CEO at the NSI

BAFE’s chief executive Stephen Adams explained: “There’s significant evidence across the UK to show that end users are recognising the value of competent providers of fire protection services. The BAFE scheme for Fire Risk Assessment is receiving rapidly growing recognition in the public and private sectors, as well as from the statutory bodies including the Fire and Rescue Services. The UCL team should be congratulated for its vision of excellence in achieving this certification.”

Fire risk assessments: the background

With the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales (and equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland), anyone responsible for premises that come within its scope is required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment.

The ‘Duty Holder’ or ‘Responsible Person’ for the building(s) must ensure that a fire risk assessment is completed such that, should a fire occur, the building is ‘safe enough’ for the escape of anyone who is lawfully allowed on the premises (or within the immediate vicinity of the building).

By choosing to use a third party certificated organisation to carry out fire risk assessments, the ‘Responsible Person’ can help to demonstrate that they carried out ‘due diligence’ when selecting their fire risk assessment provider.

As a sector-specific certification body accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, the NSI is well placed to provide effective third party certification to this discipline.

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