Tag Archives: Third Party Certification

ASFP to run free webinar on subject of passive fire protection

Passive fire protection plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of buildings and their occupants. It does this by limiting the spread of fire and smoke by containing it in a single compartment, protecting means of escape and also protecting the building structure.

On Friday 24 February at 11.00 am, Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) COO Niall Rowan presides over a free-to-attend webinar which aims to explain what you need to know when specify, installing, maintaining or inspecting passive fire protection.

The webinar will provide an introduction to passive fire protection and how it works before investigating a range of installation issues, in turn highlighting common mistakes through a useful Case Study.

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Showing that passive fire protection works when correctly specified and installed, the webinar will detail how to ensure installer competency through third party certification.

The event is due to close with an overview of the latest ASFP initiative which aims to develop a construction strategy to encourage collaborative working across the whole design and build process, with the overall aim of improving the quality of installed fire protection within the built environment.

*For further information and to register for the webinar click here

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Scottish Parliament debates fire risk assessment procedures ten years on from Rosepark Care Home tragedy

Ten years after the fatal fire at the Rosepark Care Home in Lanarkshire, Scotland, MSP Michael McMahon has tabled a Parliamentary Motion (debated in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 29 October) recommending that all fire risk assessors should be qualified and, preferably, third party certificated.

The fire at Rosepark on 31 January 2004 claimed the lives of 14 elderly residents after flames broke out in a cupboard and subsequently ripped through the building. In support of his Parliamentary Motion, McMahon pointed out that one key finding of the fatal accident enquiry into Rosepark was that the fire risk assessment had been inadequate and the person who carried it out wasn’t qualified to do so.

The MSP for Uddingston and Bellshill in Glasgow believes an awareness campaign would help Duty Holders responsible for care homes to understand the contents of the guidance and those at commercial premises to appreciate the requirements placed on them by the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005. McMahon’s Parliamentary Motion also highlights the contents of the Scottish Government’s Practical Fire Safety Guidance for Care Homes, published back in March this year.

McMahon acknowledges that there has been progress since the fatal Rosepark fire, but added: “Fire risk assessments in complex buildings such as care homes are challenging exercises. The Duty Holder has to rely heavily on the capabilities and competencies of the fire risk assessor. How can the Duty Holder be confident that the fire risk assessor is competent and the advice given is up to standard and up-to-date?”

The fire at Rosepark in January 2004 claimed the lives of 14 elderly residents after flames broke out in a cupboard and ripped through the building

The fire at Rosepark in January 2004 claimed the lives of 14 elderly residents after flames broke out in a cupboard and ripped through the building

According to the MSP, third party accreditation is the only way forward and McMahon is now urging the Scottish Government to take immediate action by:
*Launching an awareness campaign (including direct contact through leaflets and via the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service) demonstrating to businesses the need for fire risk assessments
*Embracing and advocating third party certification
*Consulting the industry and stakeholders to make third party certification mandatory before an assessor can offer fire risk assessment services

Acting decisively to prevent further fires

McMahon feels that much has been done since the Rosepark tragedy, but stresses that more needs to be achieved in the area of fire risk assessment. “We owe it to the memory of those who lost their lives in Rosepark ten years ago, and their friends and relatives, to act decisively and prevent further fires,” urged the MSP.

The Parliamentary Motion was supported by Margaret Mitchell MSP, who commented: “Ten years on from Rosepark, it’s appropriate to evaluate whether or not there are sufficient requirements placed on care homes to prevent such an accident from happening again.”

MSPs Kenneth Gibson and Siobhan McMahon have also supported the Motion, stating that more can be done and that there’s no room for complacency. They agree that third party certification is the best way forward.

Community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham responded by saying that much had already changed. The minister added that the Regulatory Review Group is currently looking at fire safety legislation and is due to report back early next year. Cunningham has promised to write and ask the group to look at fire risk assessment as part of that extensive review.

In a bid to remove potential fire hazards, commercial buildings and non-domestic premises in Scotland are already forced to carry out a fire safety risk assessment under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 in conjunction with the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. If the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the enforcing authority has the power to prosecute the Duty Holder.

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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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