A call has been made for a national register of fire risk assessors to help protect owners and managers of buildings from potentially huge fines, and possibly imprisonment.
The statement came from Simon Ince, Manager personnel certification schemes at Warrington Certification Limited (WCL) at Firex North, which is currently taking place at the Manchester Central conference centre. He said: "There are national registers for many industries, so why not for fire risk assessors who are handling something so important where lives and property are at stake?
We are asking for support from all relevant bodies and the department for Communities and Local Government."
The plea was endorsed at the event by David Sugden, chairman of the Passive Fire Protection Federation, who gave examples of why accredited third party certification is valuable in other areas of fire safety. He said: "The Approved Document B under Building Control regulations already ask for a product conformity certification scheme and an accreditation of installers scheme, so this should equally apply to fire safety." According to sources, the Institute of Fire Safety Managers has also offered support for a register and a third party certification scheme, and other industry organisations are looking at the merits of the proposal. Initial responses by CLG are said to be positive.
In a statement, Warrington Certification Limited said: "The courts continue to see prosecutions brought against those found to be in breach of the legislation as standards of fire risk assessments continue to suffer, with around 40 per cent of audited risk assessments found to be unsuitable.
"WCL's own Fire Risk Assessors Competency Scheme (FRACS) will adopt the competence standard for fire risk assessors once the competence council publish it later this year. Initial evaluation suggests that only very minor additions need be added to the technical schedule.
"We believe the person looking for fire safety specialists needs to have a single reference point that will help in their due diligence process. A national register of approved competent assessors who are assured by an accredited third party will give peace of mind to those who appoint a professional fire risk assessor from it."
Posted on October 28 2010