BAFE, the independent register of quality fire safety service providers, has officially responded to the Government’s Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 consultation.
BAFE agrees strongly with the scope of the current fire safety legislation, noting the only concern at present being the “degree/method for enforcement,” but it does enable a risk-based approach to fire safety.
Fire safety for business
BAFE does not believe that the Fire Safety Order provides a proportionate legislative approach to ensuring fire safety for business and enforcing authorities. BAFE comments that there is “no mandated competence for fire safety providers, especially for fire risk assessors who provide the key service around which the RRO [the Fire Safety Order] is based.”
BAFE takes the stance that the legislation does not do enough to enforce competency requirements
BAFE believes with the current legislation, there is “too little understanding of role” for those in control of regulated premises, “especially in multiple and mixed occupancy premises.”
Within the guidance documents, whilst BAFE acknowledge there is “guidance towards third party certificated competence, there is little evidence of enforcement or requirement.” This is noted later in the response that third party certification should be the “key measure” of evidential competence.
Clarity on the competence of provider
In the general application of the Fire Safety Order, BAFE takes the strong stance that the legislation does not do enough to enforce competency requirements.
BAFE does not believe that the expectation that responsible persons self-evaluate whether they are able to meet their duties under the Fire Safety Order, or require assistance is the right approach.
BAFE notes that the order does not provide “clarity on the competence of providers, the requirements of the fire risk assessment and the competence of the responsible person. There should be oversight and competence requirements” [within the Order itself].
Mandatory competence requirements
BAFE calls for mandatory competence requirements for fire risk assessors
While not noted in the consultation, BAFE believes that budgets should not continue to be cut for Fire and Rescue Services but rather re-distributed within their business safety and investigation teams to bolster the promotion and enforcement of the legislation as the agency for this.
BAFE calls for “mandatory competence requirements for fire risk assessors based on third party certification” to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and note that there is “insufficient rigor to require updates [to the assessment] with change of use and regularity”.
BAFE wishes to see third party certification requirements for the competent person (both the provider company and their staff) as at present the current requirements are “too vague and not enforceable.”