FIA seminar focusses on Fire Risk Assessors
Published on 19 April 2010
The seminar was given by Martin Duggan, General Manager of the FIA, and was well attended by representatives from many different sectors of the fire protection industry.
Despite risk assessment being the fundamental platform on which fire safety measures are based under the Fire Safety Order, to date there has been no definition as to what constitutes a ‘suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment. To address this problem, the first step in the FIA's plan was to set up a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) Council, inviting any companies or organisations who ‘trade' by providing fire risk assessments on commercial basis to join the association as a member.
Any organisation that joins is required to sign up to a Code of practice produced by the FRA Council to offer an interim measure that at least provides a guide for the end user as to what should be expected from any organisation offering fire risk assessment services. This covers a number of areas including the competency of those undertaking any fire risk assessment, the requirement for appropriate professional indemnity and public liability insurance and compliance with the FIA's complaints procedures.
The Council voted to work with BAFE to develop an overarching scheme as it was felt that BAFE is set up in such a way that all stakeholders can be involved. In addition, BAFE has the skill sets and long experience to develop such schemes, as well as the all important independence.
Whilst BAFE develops a finalised scheme, the FIA will turn its attentions to help members to start meeting the quality management processes which are needed to provide end users with the reassurance that they are dealing with a dependable supplier.
The FIA continues to work with all other industry stakeholders on a project kick-started by DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government) to develop an individual's competency benchmark. This benchmark or standard, once agreed, can feed into training and the certification schemes and registers.
Martin Duggan comments: "It's a difficult process trying to get all stakeholders to agree on anything, let alone a subject where everyone has already been developing their own pathways. However, the result would provide such a fundamental building block for Fire Risk Assessors and Assessments, it is worth the pain."
Stephen Adams, General Manager of BAFE, in acknowledging the work done to date by the FRA Council said: "BAFE considers that the work being done to develop both individual competencies and an approvals scheme for Companies is essential for those needing reliable, quality fire risk assessments. BAFE have appointed Malcolm Kelly to co-ordinate development of a scheme involving all of the relevant stakeholders to ensure that companies, both small and large, who offer this service, are assessed and third party certified. Our aim is to do this as quickly as possible and in parallel with the individual competency scheme."
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