Third party accreditation essential for fire risk assessors

The Fire Sector Federation (FSF) has published an approved code of practice that puts third party accreditation and professional body membership at the heart of a national framework for risk assessor competency.

The code of practice, developed by industry, builds upon earlier work and then extends the expectations for fire risk assessors, including those who are undertaking work in higher fire risk buildings. The knowledge, skills, experience and behaviour to satisfy these requirements are detailed so that individuals perform at a standard to ensure fire safe buildings.

The code acknowledges that improving the competence of fire risk assessors can be better assured if there is oversight of the organisation offering, through a company or scheme, individual fire risk assessor certification or assessment. Providing accreditation or validation in the UK would be either through UKAS, the national accreditation body, or through a professional engineering institution that is licensed by the UK Engineering Council (EngC).

The code stipulates that in all cases fire risk assessors should be registered within a company scheme or professional body, which will share responsibility with the individual for maintaining accredited third party compliance.

The Fire Sector Federation brought together a working group of fire risk assessors to address the implications of competence identified in the Building a Safer Future report on the Grenfell Tower fire. The fire risk assessors group was chaired by the Federation as one of several established by the Competency Steering Group (CSG), whose Setting the Bar report was published last month. The approved code of practice plays a major part in the implementation of the group’s work.

Dennis Davis, Executive Officer, Fire Sector Federation and chair of the CSG Fire Risk Assessors Working Group, said:

“The approved code of practice is the result of a significant volume of work undertaken by FSF members and the wider fire sector. It advances further the national competency framework for fire risk assessors and in so doing I hope reassures the public that the fire sector is dedicated to ensuring fire safety is maintained in fit for purpose new buildings and renovations.

“The framework gives transparency to the whole process and offers a clear blueprint of how to meet their obligations to achieve the necessary levels of competence in fire risk assessment. It sets out the learning points that trainers must incorporate into their learning programmes to ensure that individual assessors are competent, effective and understand their responsibilities. They must also be part of a professional body or organisation that meets its obligation to ensure continued professional standards.”

The code consolidates recommendations from across the fire industry on best practice in how to assess the competency of individuals who conduct fire risk assessments. It is founded and builds on the original guidance criteria originally undertaken to introduce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order which requires the Responsible Person to ‘make suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying general fire precautions’.

The Code of Practice Document is available to download here: