BAFE announces that the SP207 Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme Document is now available. Supporting British Standard 8629 (Evacuation Alert Systems for use by fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats), the BAFE SP207 Scheme document covers demonstrating quality evidence of competency for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of evacuation alert systems. Emergency evacuation system Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government published their outcome to the consultation regarding sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats in May 2020. Within this document an overwhelming 92% of respondents agreed that Approved Document B should include a requirement for an emergency evacuation system (which could support fire and rescue services operational response by alerting residents if they need to escape). The document added that “Several respondents noted that an evacuation alert system being in place would provide both clarity and reassurance to residents.” Providing confidence to specifiers Quality evidence of competency is going to have far greater scrutiny for everyone working in high-rise blocks" Chris Auger, Director of Schemes – BAFE, said: “The demand shown following the MHCLG consultation is unprecedented and represents a far greater awareness of systems and competency of their installers required following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower Fire. With the work BAFE have performed in conjunction with the industry and Fire and Rescue Service, we are pleased to release this document and offer a route to achieving this important Third Party Certification. Quality evidence of competency is going to have far greater scrutiny for everyone working in high-rise blocks in the very near future which can only be a good thing. This scheme will fill this crucial gap in providing confidence to specifiers knowing they are fulfilling their due diligence and continuing the ‘golden thread’ of accountability for the life safety of residents within the building.” BAFE SP207 Scheme Document Chris adds “The expanding portfolio of BAFE Schemes represents the necessity of quality evidence of competency required for niche but extremely important areas of the industry. Third Party Certification is going to be a key focus of attention for the built environment moving forward and BAFE need to position itself to offer schemes that are both needed and, reflect the current concerns of occupants, regulators, service providers and building owners/managers.” The BAFE SP207 Scheme Document (For the Design, Installation, Commissioning & Maintenance of Evacuation Alert Systems) and information on the Certification Bodies who are offering this assessment is available via the BAFE website.
BAFE FireQual Ltd is pleased to announce that they have appointed Nic Preston as the FireQual Qualifications Manager from 1st September 2020. Nic has over 14 years of experience in the training and development sector with a proven ability in quality assurance demonstrated in several roles influencing training environments within the UK. His most recent roles have been developing and implementing growth strategies as Chief Executive of SFEDI Awards, the Awarding Organization for enterprise development. Alongside this he has also been responsible for their compliance with regulatory systems across the UK and was the Responsible Officer for their systems for learners and training centers. Nationally recognized qualifications Nic said “Introducing a range of high quality nationally recognized qualifications for the betterment of fire protection services and staff within the fire safety industry will be a rewarding task. FireQual has huge potential to make the industry safer and demonstrably more competent and I look forward to the challenge this offers.” Although FireQual is a new venture, it builds on the vast array of knowledge and expertise within the sector" “Although FireQual is a new venture, it builds on the vast array of knowledge and expertise within the sector both within BAFE and through our valued external partners who continue to support this new endeavor as we move forward. I welcome the opportunity to work with a range of excellent industry partners, training organizations and their candidates to build new relationships and opportunities as we move forward.” BAFE licensed Certification Bodies Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, added “We believe FireQual is being entrusted in very good hands with Nic. His experience will be invaluable in the development of this Awarding Organization. This is a big opportunity to develop individual skills to ensure that competence remains at the forefront of the fire safety industry. We are pursuing this because we know that it is the right thing to do in the interest of life safety.” The BAFE Fire Safety Register is delighted to announce that Chris Auger, currently the BAFE Head of Schemes, has been promoted to Director of Schemes, with responsibility for the organization and development of existing and new schemes, together with our quality assurance and complaints management. He will have the vital day to day support role with BAFE licensed Certification Bodies. Wide range of influencers Organizational competency and evidence of individual expertise remains the forefront of this discussion" Chris continues to do a first class job with his work on the Hackitt Working Groups and other stakeholders, especially to promote the value of Third Party Certification and competence, which is now gaining much stronger traction, with the support of UKAS. He has brought a much stronger profile for BAFE amongst a wide range of influencers across the construction sector. Chris commented: “The BAFE Competence schemes continue to grow and develop, with registrations rising even during the lockdown period. We are grateful to Companies and Certification Bodies for continuing to recognize the importance of Third-Party Certification and finding new methods to ensure compliance. We have a number of new initiatives to support the industry, specifiers and end users and I am delighted to be taking on this role.” “With the development of FireQual there will also be a genuine prospect to include accredited technician competence into more of our Company schemes, which will be considered by our dedicated Scheme Monitoring Groups. This will consider all appropriate training and qualifications available, not just FireQual. Organizational competency and evidence of individual expertise remains the forefront of this discussion.”
BAFE, British Approvals for Fire Equipment, the independent register of quality fire safety service providers, has announced their latest Scheme, BAFE SP207, currently in the final stages of development. BAFE SP207 Scheme BAFE SP207 covers the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of evacuation alert systems. These systems are used by fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats (including single-storey flats and maisonettes) across the UK. The Scheme has been developed with the support and cooperation of the National Security Inspectorate (NSI), Gerda and other industry parties. The new BAFE Scheme observes best practice and the recent standard developed by BSI, BS 8629 (Code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats), published in November 2019. BAFE SP207 Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme Document BAFE has also made the BAFE SP207 Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme Document available to view BAFE, British Approvals for Fire Equipment has also made the BAFE SP207 Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme Document available to view for interested parties and launched a four week consultation period, requesting comment from the fire safety industry, fire and rescue services, along with the wider safety industry. BSI Group (The British Standards Institution) commented that the BS 8629 Standard exists to help ensure that fire safety systems are fit for purpose and to encourage uniformity. If the systems look and function the same way in every building, firefighters won’t waste any time understanding how they work and save precious time. Sprinklers and Other Fire Safety Measures in High-Rise Blocks In May 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a document, titled, ‘Government Response: Sprinklers and Other Fire Safety Measures in New High-Rise Blocks of Flats’. In this published document, the Ministry revealed that 92% of respondents believe that Approved Document B should include a requirement for an emergency evacuation alert system, which could support fire and rescue services operational response, by quickly alerting residents of a building if they need to escape. Evacuation alert system for high-rise blocks The British Government responded that there was also strong support in the consultation responses for the inclusion of guidance on an evacuation alert system for high-rise blocks of flats, although many respondents also raised concerns about the use of this new technology. It was always part of BAFE, British Approvals for Fire Equipment’s judgment to develop a Scheme to support the industry with a robust method of providing evidence of competency to work with these systems. BAFE strongly believes these systems in more buildings, when implemented correctly, will aid Fire and Rescue Services across the United Kingdom in saving countless lives. Open to all UKAS Accredited Certification Bodies The BAFE SP207 Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme consultation runs from 03/08/2020 to 31/08/2020 (closing at 11:45pm). The BAFE SP207 Scheme (For the Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance of Evacuation Alert Systems) is open to all UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) Accredited Certification Bodies to become licensed to deliver this, with interested parties requested to contact the BAFE Office for further information. BAFE, British Approvals for Fire Equipment advises all interested Certification Bodies to review the draft document available and provide comment to express their views regarding the criteria of the developed scheme. An extension to the consultation period can be permitted via Christopher Auger, Head of Schemes, at BAFE on request.
The tragic Grenfell Tower fire incident occurred three years ago, on the 14th of June 2017. BAFE, the British Approvals for Fire Equipment has offered thoughts to the families and friends, at this time, who have lost loved ones and who have been affected in other ways by the saddening Grenfell Tower fire event. safeguarding lives in fire incidents BAFE have been working diligently to assist in making positive change to safeguard from any future loss of life and to dramatically improve building safety. Christopher Auger, Head of Schemes at BAFE, British Approvals for Fire Equipment, commented “Through the work of the Working Groups (WG), the Competence Steering Group (CSG) and the development of the top down Standard, BAFE is at the heart of the process and fully support the work of the CSG.” The work of the WGs has now moved into the implementation phase" He adds, "The work of the WGs has now moved into the implementation phase. While recognizing the time already spent, there is real momentum for change in all the groups – and we are involved with the formation of leaner sub-groups that have been given specific works to pursue, allowing faster process and decision making.” Striving for excellence in fire safety BAFE, the British Approvals for Fire Equipment strives for excellence in fire safety. Some may think that third party certification is onerous, but the association has a strong belief that this creates a safer working environment, with a quality workforce employed by competent organizations. Becoming third party certificated is to offer a specific fire safety service as part of a positive mindset. It establishes a duty of responsibility on organizations’ shoulders to always take the right actions in assisting premises management to mitigate risk from fire. Need to mandate UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification BAFE emphasizes that fire safety is always about life safety. Government and the fire industry need to continue to work together and ensure a terrible event such as this never happens again. They also actively encourage the requirement for Government to mandate UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification to greater regulate the industry and raise the bar of competency.
As BAFE Registered Companies will be aware, there are certain time period requirements when service and maintenance work should be performed for fire safety provisions and systems. At present, if a client is not permitting access on-site due to coronavirus precautions, the company should make sure that they explain that it is their decision to not allow the completion of the work. It is the role of the premises management (i.e. Responsible Person/Duty Holder) to ensure they fulfil their fire safety obligations. Advise them of any risk and if they still do not grant access on-site, document this communication. This will provide evidence that they have acted responsibly with their clients. If they are allowed access on-site, please stay safe and follow appropriate coronavirus guidance to ensure that they are not unnecessarily increasing risk to anyone in the premises or themselves. Chris Auger, Head of Schemes - BAFE
BAFE launches a new scheme to assess the competency of dry riser/wet riser service and maintenance providers. With over 12 months in development including a public consultation, BAFE have worked with industry experts to establish robust criteria to assess and determine evidence of a provider’s competency to deliver maintenance of dry and wet risers/falling installations. Dry And Wet Riser Installations The BAFE Competency of Organizations for the Service & Maintenance of Dry and Wet Riser/Falling Installations (SP105) Scheme is the first of its kind to assess competency to deliver this service. Chris Auger, Head of Schemes – BAFE, said: It’s crucial that BAFE represent the best levels of quality for the fire safety industry to achieve" “It’s crucial that BAFE represent the best levels of quality for the fire safety industry to achieve. There are possibly thousands of dry and wet riser installations nationwide and we acted on the fact that a method of determining a provider’s competency to deliver this important service was required. I am very happy to say we have delivered this to the industry, and I am confident this is a crucial step forward in the current climate of fire safety competence.” Maintaining Competency Schemes Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, added: “BAFE continues its commitment in developing and maintaining our competency schemes in support of the Responsible Person [Duty Holder/end users] and specifiers of fire safety services.” “The new SP105 Scheme demonstrates this, offering a way to easily source an evidentially competent provider for wet and dry riser maintenance – an area I’m honestly surprised the industry has not demanded until now.” Further information regarding the BAFE Competency of Organizations for the Service & Maintenance of Dry and Wet Riser/Falling Installations (SP105) Scheme can be found on the BAFE website.
The FPA Managing Director Jonathan O’Neill thought it was important to chair the Fire Sector Summit to stress his feelings towards the current state of the fire industry. He opened the event commending the Fire and Rescue Services but commented “Please don’t see Sir Martin [Moore-Bick]’s comments and recommendations [regarding the Grenfell Tower fire] as an attack. See them as an opportunity.” “If Dame Judith Hackitt gets her way you will likely to be asked to do more and more and to be better at it. You mustn’t stand by and see others moving out of the shadow of austerity, whilst you are left behind. Show that you are a service that listens and learns. Recognize the changing risk profile on your patch, such as greater number of at-risk groups and individuals being accommodated in more combustible, less resilient structures and demand the resources to sort this out.” High Integrity detection and evacuation systems Jonathan O’Neill continued strongly “And to Government – get on with it. I heard they aren’t planning to introduce the legislation that will see Hackitt’s recommendations become law until the middle of next year, and the law will take about a year to get through the Parliamentary process. That is four years after Grenfell – it’s too long. I make the plea to Government, after the General Election whoever is in power – get on with it.” Make the changes in building regulations that are so obvious they really don’t require further scrutiny" “Make the changes in building regulations that are so obvious they really don’t require further scrutiny. Mandate Third Party Certification, ban single staircases in tall buildings, and install sprinklers and high integrity detection and evacuation systems and ban combustible materials in all high risk occupancies, regardless of a buildings height. This is not rocket science, so get on with it and get on with it immediately please.” This self-proclaimed ‘soapbox’ moment received a loud round of applause in agreement from the delegates before the plenary session could continue. Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment scheme Chris Auger – BAFE Head of Schemes, who attended the event, commented “BAFE fully support and reiterate Jonathan O’Neill’s statement and demands to Government. An important factor here is to consider the entire life-cycle of buildings and their ongoing assessment for fire risk." "The competency of fire risk assessors however continues to remain a largely unregulated and precarious market. BAFE introduced the SP205 Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment scheme in 2012, developed with the request from Government after the Lakanal House fire in 2009.” “The industry has regulatory procedures available, but whilst this remains voluntary only the overtly responsible providers are gaining third party certification to prove their competency in this realm. Big changes are required to ensure only competent providers are being used for the appropriate work. Construction and fire safety providers cannot let all of the excellent work done in the Competency Working Groups go to waste through inactivity from Government or the Industry!”