The fire industry has made it absolutely clear, led by authorized bodies including the BAFE Fire Safety Register, that the current pandemic does not remove the need to comply with any fire safety requirements under the Building Regulations. As we now look beyond the lockdown period, John Allam, Operations Director at Amthal Fire and Security reviews the raft of new proposals demonstrating the Government and industry’s commitment to compliant fire safety and new immediate demands placed on responsible persons. Multi-Occupancy residential buildings Whilst the second phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been put on hold until July at the earliest over coronavirus restrictions, the government has continued its quest to effect change and bring the Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill into legislation. While the Building Safety Bill will ‘place new and enhanced regulatory regimes for building safety and construction products’, both bills aim to strengthen the ‘whole regulatory system’ for both building and fire safety. The Fire Safety Bill will apply to England and Wales, to amend the Fire Safety Order 2005 and seeks to clarify responsibility for reducing fire risk in multi-occupancy residential buildings. The details of the Fire Safety Bill, which has now had its second reading in the House of Commons, includes recommendations of regular inspections of lifts and sprinkler systems for buildings over 11m tall. Quarterly fire door inspections Building owners will now face ‘enforcement action’ from emergency services if they do not manage fire risk Significantly, it also introduces compulsory quarterly fire door inspections, which is a hugely significant development in its own right, to influence an industry where this is no specific legislation that requires fire doors to be checked. The Fire Safety Bill intends to ensure evacuation plans are reviewed, regularly updated and communicated to residents in a ‘form that they can be reasonably be expected to understand.’ And it highlights the importance of individual flat entrance doors, where the external walls of the building have unsafe cladding, comply with current standards. This will play a key part in increasing residents’ fire safety, whereby building owners will now face ‘enforcement action’ from emergency services if they do not manage fire risk in a building’s structure. Improving the fire safety of buildings In addition, the government is consulting with the National Fire Chiefs Council to begin testing evacuation alert systems for high-rise blocks of flats, which could support fire and rescue services’ operational response by alerting residents if they need to escape. The National Fire Chiefs Council to begin testing evacuation alert systems for high-rise blocks of flats The new program will be governed by a Building Safety Regulator (BSR) that will initially be led by Dame Judith Hackitt during the set up phase, who will be tasked with improving the fire safety of buildings. Launched by The RT Hon Robert Jenrick MP Secretary Of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, he cited the new program as taking, “Ambitious steps to further reform the building safety system with the biggest changes in a generation to ensure residents are safe in their homes.” He added: “This new regime will put residents’ safety at its heart, and follows the announcement of the unprecedented £1 billion fund for removing unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings in the budget.” Major regulatory decisions The BSR will be responsible for all major regulatory decisions made at key points during design, construction, occupation and refurbishment of buildings. And such decisions and obligations must be upheld and maintained throughout a development’s life. The new safety case regime will apply not only to new buildings, but also to buildings that are already in use" In Dame Judith’s own words: “When introduced by the new regulator, the new safety case regime will apply not only to new buildings, but also to buildings that are already in use and occupied. If those buildings were built to poor standards in the past, it will not be the case that you can simply say ‘well it complied with building regulations at the time’. The test will be different. The test will be ‘is this building safe to be occupied?’ and, if not, what are you going to do to improve it?’ … People will be asked to think about what they can do, what is reasonable and what is practicable to do in order to improve the safety of a given building.” Regulating the fire safety industry Both Hackitt and the Government want the BSR to be set up in shadow form before the Building Safety Bill becomes law. The plan is to put the bill before Parliament by the autumn, despite the challenges thrown by the Pandemic. The new legislation proposed by Government will undoubtedly ensure that buildings and those that live and work in them are maintained to be fire safe. In the words of BAFE CEO Stephen Adams: “The time is right to help better regulate the fire safety industry to change end user behavior and create a UK that's safer from the devastating effects of fire.” As BAFE further attests, as lockdown measures begin to be lifted, there will be a need for the competent maintenance of fire safety systems/provisions and fire risk assessment work. Fire doors and risk assessments Amthal is working closely with building owners and managers across the UK to deliver the benefits of safer environment This means for those who own or manage residential buildings, will soon be ‘held into account’ if they do not ensure fire safety in their buildings, and the requirements will impact further on costs and resource allocation, for investigating buildings and ensuring compliance. There is a definite sense to be proactive in acceptance of the new impending legislation. But the concern cited amongst building owners is the industry’s ability to undertake the volume of assessments required, given the lack of current lack of specific legislation on specific elements such as fire doors and risk assessments, together with the steep expectations for fire strategy and evacuation plans. Amthal is working closely with building owners and managers across the UK to deliver the benefits of safer environment within a holistic fire safety approach. Working in partnership, means taking the time to understand the implications of the Government’s Fire Safety Bill, alongside the implications of the Building Safety Bill and BSR program. This way, we can ensure responsible persons confidently achieve all operational requirements for the ultimate benefit of residents’ peace of mind.
BAFE is delighted to announce that Lewis Ramsay QFSM has joined the BAFE Board of Directors. Lewis Ramsay is a former Assistant Chief Fire Officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service specializing in both Response and Resilience and extensive work in Prevention and Protection. Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, commented: “The BAFE Board brings together a very wide range of experience of the fire protection industry and related skills. Lewis’s experience and knowledge will be incredibly important and will help in our efforts to develop BAFE both nationally with the Fire & Rescue Services but also with a focus on Scotland. Scottish Government and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have always been quick to react to fire safety requirements to keep the public and working environment safe.” fire protection Industry Lewis Ramsay noted in a response to the Board and Council “I am delighted to have been appointed to the Board and will work hard to support BAFE during my tenure.” I consider BAFE to have a critical role in the development of competence and quality standards" Also, at the BAFE AGM 2020 (online), Douglas Barnett was also unanimously voted to continue as Chairman for the next two years. Douglas is Director, Mid‑Market and Customer Risk Management for AXA Insurance. The BAFE Board, Council and team welcome this decision especially at this time of great challenges for the fire protection industry. competence and quality standards Douglas responded: “It is a great honor to receive such strong support from the BAFE Board and Council. I consider BAFE to have a critical role in the development of competence and quality standards in the fire protection industry in the post-Grenfell era. I am delighted that Lewis Ramsay has joined the Board bringing a wide range of skills and experience to support us. I look forward to working with the team over the next two years.” BAFE are extremely grateful for the Board and Council’s contribution in developing and promoting quality in fire safety and for the support of our Certification Bodies, Trade Associations and most especially the commitment of our Registered Companies.
BAFE, the independent register of quality fire safety service providers, have launched a new campaign to inform premises management and the public that specifying Third Party Certification is only part of the process in acting with due diligence. The campaign, ‘Don’t just Specify, Verify!’ points out the important second, and sometimes overlooked, verification stage when specifying and sourcing a competent Third Party Certificated provider to help comply with fire safety legislation. Importance of verifying Third Party Certification Specifying Third Party Certification is a robust method of sourcing a competent provider" Stephen Adams, Chief Executive Officer at BAFE said, “As noted in Government guidance, specifying Third Party Certification is a robust method of sourcing a competent provider to help you fulfil your fire safety obligations. However, there is still an onus on the premises management [Responsible Person/Duty Holder] to check that their chosen providers are appropriately Third Party Certificated and competent for the work required.” Stephen adds, “If you specify a Third Party Certificated provider, but don’t verify this before awarding a contract, this could result in insufficient fire safety in your building and makes you accountable under current legislation. It is easy and quick to check, which helps towards a safer building and, in the event of a fire, stronger defence having acted with due diligence.” UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification within the fire industry at present is completely voluntary. This means that any provider who holds this has taken intentional steps to gain independently assessed certification, demonstrating their competency for a specific service. BAFE pointed out that no one would use an unregistered gas engineer, so why anyone’s fire safety requirements should be treated any differently. BAFE continue to promote to public, specifiers and end users of the fire safety industry on the value of Third Party Certification in the interest of life and building safety. The culture of chasing the lowest quote for fire safety work must end, focusing instead on sourcing evidentially competent, independently assessed providers to get the job done right. As with most things, quality comes at a cost, but the cost of a fire with poor fire safety management could be far more disastrous. Make sure you specify Third Party Certificated fire safety service providers and verify they are appropriately certificated for the service you require. It’s a quick and simple action, but incredibly important.
The Government consultation Fire safety: risk prioritisation in existing buildings, closes in mid February 2020. In January Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, encouraged everyone to review the document provided on the MHCLG website and to respond accordingly. The call for evidence noted it was ‘in line with the Secretary of State’s commitment to conducting a full-scale technical review of the Fire Safety guidance to the Building Regulations (Approved Document B) and to provide advice to building owners and residents.’ Changing the fire safety requirements BAFE’s response agreed that a ‘case by case risk-based approach should be taken for existing buildings’ and noted multiple factors (aside from height) that should be considered when classifying building risk. These included: Fire Risk/Fire Protection – What is identified in the Fire Risk Assessment and what is the current level of fire protection? Occupancy – Are there vulnerable residents in the building that would be at higher risk in the outbreak of fire? Construction methods/materials and current means of escape – Could these measures be improved in the interest of life (and building) safety? Change of building use - Has the fire risk assessment been reviewed/updated and has this changed the fire safety requirements needed? Ongoing maintenance and risk assessment The second example was the fact that the greatest number of fires occur in domestic premises BAFE believe that height is only partially significant when classifying building risk and noted two clear examples to illustrate this. The first being the Rosepark Care Home fire, that in 2004 killed 14 elderly residents, was not a tall multi-storey building. January 2020 marked the 16th anniversary of the Rosepark Care Home fire and Douglas Barnett, Chairman – BAFE, recently questioned at the FPA Seminar if lessons had been learned from this event. The second example was the fact that the greatest number of fires occur in domestic premises. Height should be one of the factors considered from the inception of the building design to the ongoing maintenance and risk assessment of any building, but categorically not the key factor to classify building risk. Fire safety related services The consultation asked to specify the ‘areas of research on the prioritisation of risks in buildings’ that should be considered. Without hesitation BAFE noted materials. This is an obvious answer following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and the evidence that the materials used aided the fire to spread at such an alarming rate. Greater emphasis on regulating quality of any provider of fire safety related services Coinciding with this is competence, BAFE strongly believe in quality evidence of competency (such as UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification). Greater emphasis on regulating quality of any provider of fire safety related services working in a building is paramount to improving fire safety in existing buildings. In the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report, Dame Judith Hackitt discussed the ‘golden thread’ of responsibility. More competent industry Stronger regulation (i.e. UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification) of fire safety service providers can aid in establishing a far more competent industry and a safer built environment. The consultation asked to ‘provide innovative ideas’ of approaching the assessment of risk in existing buildings. Although Third Party Certification of fire risk assessors has been established for a while now, it is still seen as a pioneering model to assess their ability to fulfil this task and needs further discussion in Government. This comes back to Hackitt’s aforementioned ‘golden thread’ of responsibility and accountability. Current legislation and the enforcers of this (currently Fire and Rescue Service) need to emphasise the importance of competency when completing a fire risk assessment and what clearly defines this competency.
The Government consultation ‘Fire safety: risk prioritization in existing buildings’, closed recently. In January Stephen Adams, Chief Executive, BAFE, encouraged everyone to review the document provided on the MHCLG website and to respond accordingly. The call for evidence noted it was “in line with the Secretary of State’s commitment to conducting a full-scale technical review of the Fire Safety guidance to the Building Regulations (Approved Document B) and to provide advice to building owners and residents.” risk-based approach BAFE’s response agreed that a “case by case risk-based approach should be taken for existing buildings” and noted multiple factors (aside from height) that should be considered when classifying building risk. These included: Fire Risk/Fire Protection – What is identified in the Fire Risk Assessment and what is the current level of fire protection? Occupancy – Are there vulnerable residents in the building that would be at higher risk in the outbreak of fire? Construction methods/materials and current means of escape – Could these measures be improved in the interest of life (and building) safety? Change of building use – Has the fire risk assessment been reviewed/updated and has this changed the fire safety requirements needed? ongoing maintenance and risk assessment The consultation asked to specify the “areas of research on the prioritization of risks in buildings” BAFE believe that height is only partially significant when classifying building risk and noted two clear examples to illustrate this. The first being the Rosepark Care Home fire, that in 2004 killed 14 elderly residents, was not a tall multi-storey building. Recently was the 16th anniversary of the Rosepark Care Home fire and Douglas Barnett, Chairman, BAFE, recently questioned at the FPA Seminar if lessons had been learned from this event. The second example was the fact that the greatest number of fires occur in domestic premises. Height should be one of the factors considered from the inception of the building design to the ongoing maintenance and risk assessment of any building, but categorically not the key factor to classify building risk. The consultation asked to specify the “areas of research on the prioritization of risks in buildings” that should be considered. fire safety related services Without hesitation BAFE noted materials. This is an obvious answer following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and the evidence that the materials used aided the fire to spread at such an alarming rate. Coinciding with this is competence, BAFE strongly believe in quality evidence of competency (such as UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification). Greater emphasis on regulating quality of any provider of fire safety related services working in a building is paramount to improving fire safety in existing buildings. The consultation asked to “provide innovative ideas” of approaching the assessment of risk in existing buildings In the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report, Dame Judith Hackitt discussed the “golden thread” of responsibility. Stronger regulation (i.e. UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification) of fire safety service providers can aid in establishing a far more competent industry and a safer built environment. fire risk assessment The consultation asked to “provide innovative ideas” of approaching the assessment of risk in existing buildings. Although Third Party Certification of fire risk assessors has been established for a while now, it is still seen as a pioneering model to assess their ability to fulfil this task and needs further discussion in Government. This comes back to Hackitt’s aforementioned “golden thread” of responsibility and accountability. Current legislation and the enforcers of this (currently Fire and Rescue Service) need to emphasize the importance of competency when completing a fire risk assessment and what clearly defines this competency.
The Fire Sector Federation acknowledges and welcomes the announcement made by the Government in advance of a debate in Parliament on the Grenfell Tower fire. The delay in positive action has been a deep cause of concern to Federation members so the outlined steps, particular of the role of Health and Safety Executive and a new Act, are seen as helping move the whole process forward. Developing third party assurance Federation members have with many others been working together for over two years Federation members have with many others been working together for over two years to improve fire safety by advancing standards and quality. Picking up the theme highlighted by the Building safety Review of ‘not marking your own homework’ developing third party assurance for people and products the Federation has called for fast tracking third party certification by recognizing it within formal guidance and using third party assured companies to supply products and services, like fire risk assessments. The announcement the Federation hopes demonstrates that a serious transition step, of turning deliberation and advice into action, is now actually starting. Development of Fire Safety Regulations Michael Harper the Federation Chairman said today: "Having called for a decade of change to prevent another tragedy and to help ensure we have a UK built environment safer from fire I welcome and acknowledge on behalf of the Fire Sector Federation the Governments' significant announcement and commitment to improve building fire safety." "BAFE welcomes the statement made by the Secretary of State concerning development of Fire Safety Regulations and fully endorses the response from the Fire Sector Federation. We continue to actively participate in relevant Working Groups to ensure the recognition of competence and third party certification for fire protection providers. We would encourage all BAFE registered companies to monitor and respond to MHCLG statements and calls for evidence, to ensure that the fire industry voice is heard at this important time." - Stephen Adams, Chief Executive - BAFE.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on Jan 20, 2020 launched a consultation seeking views on ‘how to assess and prioritize fire safety risks and how to better understand the complexity of building risk’ to ensure that an appropriate level of safety is achieved in existing buildings. Assessing fire safety of buildings MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) stated that they are commissioning research to develop an evidence base on fire safety risk in buildings, which could assist building owners in the prioritization of risks in existing buildings and prioritization of buildings based on a broader understanding of risk. This call for evidence is seeking views and evidence to help define the scope of this research by providing, in advance, stakeholder and industry views on approaches, tools and methodology that should be considered for this complex project. Technical review of Building Regulations BAFE will respond to the consultation in the interest of determining evidentially competent providers The proposed research is in line with the Secretary of State’s commitment to conducting a full-scale technical review of the guidance to the Building Regulations and to provide advice to building owners and residents. BAFE will be responding to the consultation in the interest of determining evidentially competent providers for on-going fire safety requirements of existing buildings. Stephen Adams, Chief Executive Officer at BAFE, noted, “We encourage everyone to review the document provided on the MHCLG website and to respond accordingly. It is extremely promising to see research into the existing built environment, something we have been calling for as necessary for some time. Improving the fire safety of new builds is vital, but it is just as important – if not more important, to make those responsible for existing buildings already inhabited appropriately manage their risk and action this.” Fire safety: risk prioritization The open consultation Fire safety: risk prioritization in existing buildings is a call for evidence that is open for responses from Jan 20, 2020 and closes on Feb 17, 2020 at 11:45pm.
SSAIB, one of the licensed certification bodies who deliver BAFE scheme assessments, have achieved an historic milestone of 300 active BAFE scheme-certificated companies. In September 2019, BAFE registered A1 Fire and Security Ltd, who are the 300th active company on the BAFE Fire Safety Register that have been assessed and third-party certificated through SSAIB. They join the more than 1450 BAFE-registered companies who are third-party certificated, with over 1700 BAFE fire safety scheme certifications. Third-party certification Devon-based A1 Fire and Security Ltd gained third-party certification and BAFE registration to the SP203-1 scheme, for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and alarm systems. The certification provides us with substantial credibility that will help us promote this service" Matthew Weigham of A1 Fire and Security Ltd stated, “Gaining certification to the BAFE SP203-1 scheme, through SSAIB as our certification body, is vital to show our commitment to quality when providing our fire alarm services. This audit was important to us to prove we are competent, and the certification provides us with substantial credibility that will help us promote this service.” Commitment to fire safety industry Stephen Adams, BAFE chief executive, said, “We congratulate both SSAIB on this milestone and A1 Fire and Security Ltd on gaining their third-party certification. SSAIB have been a long-standing supporter of BAFE, who are extremely proactive with their commitment to the fire safety industry. We wish them, and all of our licensed certification bodies, further ongoing success in our combined efforts to develop the quality regulation of this industry.” SSAIB chief executive Alex Carmichael added, “SSAIB are extremely proud to offer the BAFE scheme assessments for fire safety third-party certification in multiple disciplines. Our congratulations go out to A1 Fire and Security on gaining their certification and I would also like to congratulate our fire systems scheme manager, Keith Strugnell, and the SSAIB team on this achievement.” “We will continue to work with BAFE to support the future of fire safety and, through certification of quality companies like A1 Fire and Security, the fire safety of customers’ premises.”
Around five years ago, BAFE representatives went to see two Scottish Government civil servants to discuss fire safety and in particular Fire Risk Assessments. The responsibility for Tony Maskens, then BAFE Technical Schemes Manager, and Euan Robson, Governmental Adviser - Caledonia Public Affairs, was to explain that Fire Risk Assessors should be professionally qualified and certificated and at present there is no requirement for them to be so. When The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 was published it left Duty Holders with the responsibility to conduct Fire Risk Assessments on their premises. There was no real guidance as to how they might fulfil these responsibilities however. Proper Fire Risk Assessment The problem was that the Act required Duty Holders to have a proper Fire Risk Assessment There was a lack of understanding that quickly alerted BAFE to the fact that there was no recognition of these difficulties. The Act was then, and is now, entirely fit for purpose but too much was missing as far as its implementation was concerned. The background to the 2005 Scottish Act was the appalling fire at the Rose Park care home in Lanarkshire in 2004 (in which several elderly residents died). At the subsequent fatal accident enquiry, the Sheriff had made clear that Fire Risk Assessments should be carried out by properly qualified/certificated people. In short, the problem was that the Act required Duty Holders to have a proper Fire Risk Assessment but there was no signposting as to how to do this. Fire Risk Assessment providers BAFE began a long campaign to change the situation. It was also very apparent that, surprisingly, many Duty Holders had no idea as to their legal responsibilities. Many businesses simply did not know that they were required to have a Fire Risk Assessment let alone how to carry it out or whom to ask to do so. BAFE was able to provide part of the answer by discussing its SP205 Third Party Certification scheme for Fire Risk Assessment providers (BAFE SP205 Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment), as well as other Third Party Certification available covering Fire Risk Assessment. After rounds of meetings official thinking began to change. Several Parliamentary Questions and a debate, led by Michael McMahon MSP on the tenth anniversary of the Rose Park fire in his constituency, triggered a review of the Act by the Regulatory Reform Group set up by the Scottish Government to look at the effectiveness of regulations. Need For properly qualified people By 2016 fire service colleagues and civil servants were on board to a considerable degree Tony Maskens was invited to join the relevant RRG committee and with the help of fire industry colleagues, was able to craft the recommendations in a way which emphasised the need for properly qualified/certificated people to work in the field of fire safety. By 2016 fire service colleagues and civil servants were on board to a considerable degree. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's website was altered to signpost Duty Holders to Third Party Certificated Fire Risk Assessors. BAFE's SP205 scheme and others were clearly identified to enable Duty Holders to have comfort that what they were paying for was fit for purpose. Subsequently the Scottish fire law website was also altered. Moreover, strong references have been provided in Scottish Government Guidance issued for various types of premises in Scotland. Fire safety in high rise domestic properties Third Party Certification of Fire Risk Assessors is recommended for example in guidance on fire safety in sleeping accommodation. Now partly in response to the Grenfell tragedy, it is in guidance on fire safety in high rise domestic properties also. BAFE is not sitting back. Progress has indeed been made and the position that existed five or six years ago has been markedly improved. Nevertheless, there is a need for Scottish Government to actively promote an awareness scheme amongst Duty Holders - especially for small or medium-sized businesses located in complicated properties. As BAFE's Chairman Douglas Barnett has warned, awareness raising of the importance of a proper, professional Fire Risk Assessment in hotels and overnight accommodation is critical. Unwanted fire alarm signals What is even worse is that many of the UFAS calls originate in public sector premises BAFE continues to say that compulsory qualifications/certification may well be necessary in key types of premises if there is not a marked improvement in the quality of Fire Risk Assessments in the months ahead. BAFE's work in Scotland is not limited to Fire Risk Assessment. Unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS) are causing serious problems as in the rest of the UK. Astonishingly in some areas of the country, over 50% of monthly call outs for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are as a result of UFAS problems. This not only wastes precious resources but also unnecessarily puts emergency services personnel at risk and costs the organisations in whose premises the false alarm was raised a great deal of lost productivity. What is even worse is that many of the UFAS calls originate in public sector premises. In certain parts of Scotland, the NHS is the main culprit, in others, local councils' education establishments. Permitting quality levels of compliance BAFE has continuously stressed the value of Third Party Certification of installed systems and continues to propose measures to ensure the competence of the workforce as well as practical steps (such as inexpensive covers for emergency buttons to prevent accidental activation). BAFE's work has attracted the interest of MSPs and we intend to repeat a reception in the Scottish Parliament, as the last one in 2017 was well attended and received. Clarity of purpose and persistence is paying off, but it's all meant to protect the public from injury and death and to promote the value for specifiers and end users to procure their fire safety and protection services from Third Party Certificated contractors. Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, comments: “BAFE are pleased about the continued development of Third Party Certification being made in Scotland. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have been very accommodating to listen and develop their guidance in the interest of competent assistance to permit quality levels of compliance to The Fire (Scotland) Act. We hope to continue this dialogue moving into the next decade to create a Scotland safer from fire.”
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 recent ban on combustible building materials by the government was for buildings over 18 meters – or six storeys high. The Cube student block in Bolton (providing student accommodation in a six storey block) which caught fire on Friday provides a stark reminder that the problem facing UK fire safety is the result of many issues and not just Grenfell style ACM cladding. Although the final details have not yet been released, there are a number of key issues reported, all of which are relevant to the ongoing discussions around the current Building Regulations review: This was a modern building, designed and built using all of the latest rules, guides and expertise available. Yet, with two people injured, this must be classed as a near miss event. High integrity alarm systems This was a risk in a building only six storeys high, where students sleep The high pressure laminate (HPL) and timber cladding components clearly played a large part in the fire’s progress, possibly in association with the insulation and cavity membranes present. Since Grenfell, HPL has been talked about to some degree, but no doubt thorough investigations and consideration have been hampered by it not being the focus of a major incident - until now. This was a risk in a building only six storeys high, where students sleep. Clearly, one should not limit regulations to the mere height of a building. Fire alarms are reported as being almost a daily event, so it is understandable that students did not assume Friday’s to be any different. Despite this, one knows high integrity alarm systems exist which are tested for immunity for common ‘false challenges’. Despite countless calls for change over many years, they remain not legislated for. Prolonged statistical demonstration Jonathan O’Neill, managing director of the Fire Protection Association, commented: “The fires at the Bolton student block, Worcester Park in London and the Beechmere care village in Cheshire, prove we cannot be housing people in buildings made from combustible materials. This issue needs to be addressed urgently; it simply cannot wait. We urge this issue to be a priority for the new government.” Fire legislation in the UK has always been slow to develop. It is reactive, and often requires a major incident or a prolonged statistical demonstration of emerging issues, during which time much harm may be done. It is interesting to note now after years of lax regulation and the increasing use of combustible materials in the structure, insulation, and cladding of buildings, how quickly evidence of fault is currently being uncovered. It demands a similarly speedy response, faster perhaps than has happened since Grenfell. Believable detection and alarm system Manchester’s fire community has been one of the most proactive in assessing and managingManchester’s fire community has been one of the most proactive in assessing and managing their multi storey buildings since Grenfell, and are to be credited for their response and actions which led to an amendment requiring a full evacuation policy. One must ask again what fire and building regulations have got to do with height. More than two years on from Grenfell, they are still putting vulnerable people at risk. Should this incident alone not demand the selection of non-combustible materials, deployment of a believable detection and alarm system and the installation of sprinklers to ensure the safety of those away from home in education? This scenario is no different to a school, care home or hospital. Risk is a combination of many factors, of which height is only one. High integrity alarm systems The Fire Protection Association, the UK’s national fire safety organization, is calling for: supporting the combustibility ban for buildings based upon risk rather than height alone the mandation of high integrity alarm systems as a means to solving the false and unwanted alarms issue a requirement for two means of escape from high rise buildings for stay put policies to be used only after thorough intrusive inspection to the building to ensure it is capable of supporting it the mandation of sprinklers in high risk environments such as schools and care homes Stephen Adams, Chief Executive - BAFE, comments: "BAFE fully support the Fire Protection Association’s statement. We must seriously consider the level of fire risk for all buildings regardless of their height for the safety of its inhabitants and the building itself. With this, we must focus on the existing built environment and evaluate the fire risk of these buildings – not just new builds moving forward."
Mr. Passey stated that they’re looking at a ‘new world order’, noting multiple changes recommended in Dame Judith Hackitt’s post-Grenfell Review that will dramatically alter the landscape of premises management which ‘some of us won’t recognize’. One of these changes he notes is that ‘duty holders should ensure that any recommendations outlined in the fire risk assessment are undertaken and completed in a timely manner.’ He adds to this, as a person involved in fire risk assessment ‘what a refreshing change that would be, as he's sure some of us have gone back to the same premises on a regular basis only to find that the recommendations just haven’t been followed up on.’ Constructing and managing buildings Mr. Passey also comments alongside this the requirement to remove technical jargon “To ensure information is provided that people can clearly and more reliably understand and implement.” Accountability and competency was a focus of the seminar, referencing Dame Judith Hackitt’s identification of key roles for every step of the process as “An approach in which we would be able to bring a better level of control to the work that is being undertaken in designing, constructing and managing buildings once they are occupied.” The FPA alone have trained in the region of 1000 delegates in fire risk assessment in the last 12 months Mr. Passey continued discussing Hackitt’s observations and that the important factor here is the requirement for competency for all stages of the process. Mr. Passey adds to this the prescribed ‘golden thread’ of information aims to reliably provide valuable information for the building manager to use and share with appointed competent people, such as a fire risk assessor, that will be employed to help meet their obligations. Risk assessment scheme Mr. Passey notes that the current wording in the fire safety legislation provides a ‘very weak definition of competence’. The FPA alone have“Trained in the region of 1000 delegates in fire risk assessment in the last 12 months.” Sensibly, he adds that “[The FPA] haven’t made them ‘competent’, we’ve just given them the training in what they need [to know].” The main Fire Risk Assessor registers, including BAFE (with BAFE SP205 - the largest UKAS Accredited Third Party Certified fire risk assessment scheme), fall very short in comparison to these FPA training numbers. He states with this “There are very few individuals who are recognized as competent by a third party [certification] body to undertake fire risk assessments.” Most vulnerable occupants Mr. Passey states "As a competent fire risk assessor I recognise my limitations [and know where I cannot provide appropriate assessments and must turn down work]. We might also need to think beyond the high rise residential [buildings], where we have the most vulnerable occupants and think about having specific streams of competency criteria for risk assessors who work in different types of environment.” Competent persons shall have an awareness of their own limitations" BAFE will react accordingly to update the SP205 Life Safety Fire Risk Assessor scheme as appropriate. However, part of the existing scheme document criteria clearly stipulates self-evaluation of the assessor’s limitations: “Competent persons shall have sufficient knowledge, experience and skills needed to meet the requirements of the tasks related to the Scheme. Competent persons shall have an awareness of their own limitations.” - BAFE SP205 Scheme Document V5. Ongoing management of buildings This overview scratches the surface of what was discussed during this seminar, but Howard Passey is right – ‘the future will be complex’ and major changes are on the horizon, especially to the construction industry, but also to ongoing management of buildings to ensure their fire safety is appropriate. BAFE also appreciate the FPA’s ongoing support of UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification to demonstrate competency. After Mr. Passey’s seminar, Frazer Wisniewski – Marketing Manager of BAFE, questioned “What do you consider in your opinion defines the ‘timely manner’ after a fire a risk assessment has been performed to implement the actions that have been recommended?” Implementing effective controls Mr. Passey answered “It’s very difficult to answer, because it is a sort of ‘piece of string’ question. It will depend on the nature of the risk and the problem that needs addressing. And of course that has to be balanced with the organisation and what they’re actually able to achieve.” BAFE strongly recommend them to report this to their local Fire and Rescue Service “The role of the risk assessor should be to support the responsible persons in implementing effective controls and remedial actions, where if the most obvious solution is not immediately practicable - to look at other alternatives to ensure the safety of the buildings occupants by doing things slightly differently. That’s where we need to be.” If one has any concerns over the fire safety of a building, BAFE strongly recommend them to report this to their local Fire and Rescue Service as the enforcement body to investigate and uphold fire safety legislation. Fire risk assessment Stephen Adams, Chief Executive - BAFE, commented, “Whilst the key focus of any fire risk assessment is life safety, it must be remembered that in the event of fire, emergency services are going into these buildings once evacuated to control and extinguish this.” “A quality method of record keeping in an understandable manner that Dame Judith Hackitt recommends and Howard discussed will aid all phases of a building’s life-cycle and therefore a more robust assessment of any risk from fire. This cannot just apply to complex and new buildings however, with the existing built environment requiring the same levels of scrutiny to mitigate risk and ensure a safe building to be in for any person.”
The Queen’s speech raised a number of post-Grenfell Tower issues including building safety standards legislation. She declared “My Ministers will bring forward laws to implement new building safety standards.” Within the official document released alongside this speech, it stresses that the purpose of this legislation will be to “put in place new and modernized regulatory regimes for building safety and construction products, ensuring residents have a stronger voice in the system.” It states the main benefits of this would be “learning the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire and bringing about a fundamental change in the regulatory framework for high rise residential buildings, and the industry culture to ensure accountability and responsibility” and “making sure that residents are safe in their homes.” clear competence requirements The BAFE Fire Safety Register fully supports the Government’s intention to bring these laws into effect" The document continues to note the main elements of the legislation would “take forward the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of building safety.” It points out the legislation will provide clearer accountability for those responsible for the safety of high-rise buildings (HRRBs) throughout the entire life-cycle of the building (design, construction and occupation), “with clear competence requirements to ensure high standards are upheld.” Continuing this, it adds the legislation will strengthen “enforcement and sanctions to deter non-compliance with the new regime in order to hold the right people to account when mistakes are made and ensure they are not repeated.” Fire risk assessment providers Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, reacted by saying “the BAFE Fire Safety Register fully supports the Government’s intention to bring these laws into effect and expect UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification to be documented as a robust method of confirming a service provider’s competence, most notably with fire risk assessment providers. However, BAFE would like to encourage all appropriate bodies to continue the deliberation that these laws should not exclusively focus on HRRBs – but likewise this should not further delay any introduction of legislation.” Nick Coombe MBE, Building Safety Program Lead - National Fire Chiefs Council, stressed this at the UK Construction Week exhibition saying “People in the construction industry need to know they are going to get caught, and if they get caught that the punishment is severe, and they won’t do it again [change is not going to happen] unless there is strong legislation and strong enforcement, the industry is failing, so our legislation, our new regulator, needs to have oversight of the whole industry, not just tower blocks.”
At the UK Construction Week (UKCW) 2019 event, day one focused heavily on the fire safety and what actions are being taken in the construction industry to prevent further tragedy. Attending the show, BAFE observed an industry that is responding to the fire safety issue, but more action is required and fast. This comes just days after Dame Judith Hackitt told the industry to not wait for regulations to ‘raise the bar’. On the UKCW main stage, ‘Building Safe Homes: When will there be fundamental reform?’, discussed these issues with a highly qualified panel. Chair of the panel Peter Caplehorn, Chief Executive – Construction Products Association, questioned “how do we correct the obvious problems that were so clearly identified in the Hackitt Review, how can we progress through a culture change that is needed?” Responsibility for managing risk Peter Baker, Director – Building Safety Programme Response – Health and Safety Executive (HSE), pointed out the obvious yet very appropriate declaration that rarity breeds complacency: “There are two lessons from 1974 [Flixborough chemical plant disaster]; One is: the primary responsibility for managing risk rests with the people who create it. It’s not the regulators job to run the plant and manage the risk, it’s the duty holder – it’s the people who create the risk." One of the biggest lessons we can learn from major disasters is that they do happen" "The second is: the rarity of major accidents tend to breed complacency. Because they don’t happen very often, people forget, people lose focus. One of the biggest lessons we can learn from major disasters is that they do happen, they may not happen very often, but when they do, they can have massive consequences not only for people, but also for businesses and also communities.” building regulations change Jonathan O’Neill OBE, Managing Director – Fire Protection Association, emphasized that change is required right now to establish safer homes: “It seems quite extraordinary to me, that the best part of two and half years – after the worst loss of life from fire since the Second World War, we still haven’t had a building regulations change in the UK. Essentially, apart from a change in the banning combustible materials on very tall buildings, I can build a building pretty much the same way now as I could before Grenfell. When are we going to get change? When we get building regulations change." "If we are going to put at-risk housing groups in combustible construction, we are going to have big big trouble. We have not learnt the lessons, we are far from learning the lessons. If [the Crewe care home fire] happened at night, we would be talking the exactly the same situation that we are about Grenfell just over two years after it happened. We’ve got to see regulatory change. [Dame Judith Hackitt has said last week] to the construction industry ‘you do not need to have legislation to effect cultural change’. Let’s face it, we do… we need change and we need it now.” introducing new regulations When will reform happen however? Dame Judith says, ‘industry should not wait – it must put its house in order, it must change its culture’.” Paul Everall, Chief Executive – LABC, recounted his experience with introducing new regulations: “As [Jonathan O’Neill] said, legislation will be required. Hopefully we shall see a draft bill this winter, but of course legislation takes time. In my civil service career, I was responsible for taking a number of major bills through Parliament and it can take up to a year for a bill to pass all its stages in the Commons and the Lords." "And that means it is unlikely to come into force before the Spring of 2021, which will be almost four years since Grenfell occurred. We cannot afford to wait until the legislation is complete, even though it will be required to ensure everybody follows it. Dame Judith says, ‘industry should not wait – it must put its house in order, it must change its culture’.” high risk situations Nick Coombe MBE, Building Safety Programme Lead - National Fire Chiefs Council, discussed their input to establish change but also reminded the construction industry audience that his firefighters have to go into these high risk situations when it goes wrong: “We kind of have a design system that puts in that, if everyone gets out and 10 seconds later the building collapses, building regulations have been met. That is ridiculous, because firefighters might be in there.” He also notes that “The Fire Safety Order is not a tool to fix something that should have been done in the building stage. We have to design buildings to ensure the lifetime of the people that are going to be [living] there – that it’s fit for them. People in the construction industry need to know they are going to get caught, and if they get caught that the punishment is severe, and they won’t do it again [change is not going to happen] unless there is strong legislation and strong enforcement. The industry is failing, so our legislation, our new regulator, needs to have oversight of the whole industry, not just tower blocks.” no more excuses We all cannot offload our risk and say it is no longer ours or someone else’s problem" Chandru Dissanayeke, Director of Building Safety Reforms – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, proclaimed that after Grenfell he continues to hear excuses from the industry. He said, “it’s our shared problem, and we need to make sure it is not our legacy.” He reiterated in the question and answer session “Let’s be clear, even from this stage I’m hearing excuses – it’s your fault, it’s your fault, that needs to happen before this can happen – and as long as that happens, this industry has a long way to go. I just want to be really clear, there can be no more excuses. We all have to be in this, we all cannot offload our risk and say it is no longer ours or someone else’s problem. This is our legacy, it’s not future buildings which is our legacy, they’ll be fine. It’s the existing stock, that is our legacy and we need to correct.” Fire and Rescue Service In the question and answer session that followed the seminar, Nick Coombe and Jonathan O’Neill responded to discussions about doing the right thing vs cost: Nick Coombe – “At the moment if you try and do the right thing, it costs more and therefore people will go to the cheapest denomination. They won’t get the [appropriate competent] people because they don’t have to. That’s a real issue at the moment, people [in the industry] are trying to change, but then they are not getting the work because the end user will look at the quotes and they don’t know the difference. From a Fire and Rescue Service point of view, we are trying to promote people with Third Party Accreditation [Third Party Certification], promote the people that we want them to use so they know what they’re getting. I think a lot of people don’t know what they’re getting.” Jonathan O’Neill – “We have commissioned, through the Fire Sector Federation, a view of a barrister which we have given to Government about making the use of Third Party Certificated installers and manufactures a statutory defense in law. [This provides] great incentive to those who are actually commissioning buildings to ensure they are using Third Party Certification as no cost whatsoever.” appropriate safety requirements Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, comments that this was a really valuable discussion (with too small an audience) which needs much wider circulation. There is a general fear from the fire industry that the issues raised will be ‘swept under the carpet’ by the wider construction industry safety concerns. As the speakers said it is the improvement and maintenance of the current building stock that will be our legacy to residents and end users with UKAS Accredited Third Party Certificated competence being the way forward for fire safety service providers. This will greatly support Hackitt’s recommendations of continuing the “golden thread” of information and quality evidence of conforming to appropriate safety requirements.
Following the publication of the Raising the Bar Interim Report, the Competence Steering Group (CSG) are welcoming responses to this document. “The Competence Steering Group is inviting comments on its interim report Raising the Bar, which sets out measures to improve competence in the design, construction and fire sectors. The measures are intended to tackle competency shortcomings identified in the Hackitt Review, Building a Safer Future, following the Grenfell Tower fire.” raising competences to improve life safety As previously stated by Stephen Adams, BAFE Chief Executive, “Raising the Bar is a vital document, setting out measures to improve and control the competence of those involved in the construction and ongoing fire protection of higher risk residential buildings." "The measures are being proposed by the Competence Steering Group (CSG), set up by the Industry Response Group (IRG) to tackle competency failings identified in the Hackitt Review (Building a Safer Future) following the Grenfell Tower fire." iConsult platform "The CSG has brought together more than 150 institutions including wide involvement from BAFE, across the full spectrum of construction, built environment, fire safety and building owner/manager sectors; all working towards the common purpose of raising competences to improve life safety.” Graham Watts OBE, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Council, reminds anyone who wishes to provide comment that now the iConsult platform is now live this should be used. The response can also be sent to the consultation via Raising the Bar website.
BAFE, the independent register of quality fire safety service providers, have officially responded to the Government’s Building a safer future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system consultation. Stephen Adams, BAFE Chief Executive, discussed the following main points in the response submitted: BAFE recognizes that the consultation concerns high-rise residential buildings (HRRBs) as a starting point, but strongly recommends that this is rapidly extended to a wider range of high-risk premises including care homes, multiple occupancy dwellings for vulnerable adults, hospitals and student accommodation. BAFE stress the need for the Fire Risk assessment to be the critical factor in assessing risk and the need for overarching responsibility in buildings with multiple use. BAFE note the importance of fire safety planning at all stages of design and construction and the need to ensure that there is no compromise on materials and competence of installation. The proposals for the introduction of an accountable person for the safety of the building is generally welcomed. However, there are concerns about: Will they or the Building Safety manager have the necessary skills to carry out all building safety monitoring and control, thus requiring a range of competent sub-contractors. This makes the role one of co-ordination as well as management.b. How does the functional responsibility chain work with owners, owners’ agents, landlords etc. especially where the building has multiple uses, both residential and commercial. c. Balance the different priorities for safety, resident’s needs, security etc. What happens if there is a dispute, what takes precedence? d. Ensuring that the Fire and Rescue Services retain their statutory role for enforcement and that there is no lack of clarity with them offering other services. BAFE stressed the importance of ensuring that existing building stock is prioritised for the introduction of controls. There has been too much stress placed upon new construction, which is a tiny proportion of the built environment. The concept of the golden thread of information and the role of the building safety co-ordinator and the duty holder for fire safety can only work properly in existing buildings if they have enforcement capability to ensure that they have access to all records and an up to date fire risk assessment. The discussion of Building Information Modelling (BIM) provides a strong route to delivering a record of all aspects of building monitoring. However, it must ensure that there is a strong enough fire content and that it can be used for existing building stock. BAFE recognize the importance of involving the residents in all aspects of building safety, especially giving them access to the Fire Risk Assessor and reports. BAFE has participated in a number of the Grenfell Working Groups and consider it a vital necessity that the recommendations are taken to legislators and acted upon. This is especially true regarding fire safety and ongoing use during the life of the building, both of which have been overlooked by emphasis on the construction phase. There should be an industry led Competence steering group, which must include representatives from the fire industry. BAFE strongly recommended that third party certification of installation and maintenance for fire safety services is recognized and mandatory provision made, especially for fire risk assessments. BAFE also described the importance of including the certification of companies that provide these services, as well as the individuals carrying out the work, as they are the ones responsible for trades work, training, provision of equipment and having the appropriate insurances. It is the companies that are specified to carry out these works, not individual trades people. There should be mandatory standards for third party certification to ensure that they are rigorous and kept up to date. Enforcement is a key issue and the potential for third party certification to be a statutory defense to demonstrate due diligence should be considered. Certain aspects, such as competence for fire risk assessors must be mandated.
"BAFE fully endorses the call by the FSF for rapid progress to be made with the implementation of the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s report. We support the many calls for third party certificated competence to become the recognized measure for building and fire safety providers.” says Stephen Adams, BAFE Chief Executive. Fire Sector Federation Chairman Michael Harper recognizes second Grenfell Tower Fire anniversary calling for “action”. A “refresh and renewal of efforts” is needed he says, to stop another Grenfell Tower fire happening again. Accepting a lot of good preparatory work has been done and is underway within industry, public services and government he demands more speed and practical actions to increase fire safety. high rise or high risk buildings Introducing a lively debate on Building a Safer Future at the Firex International event held on 18th of June 2019 in the ExCel centre in London, Michael Harper, who became the Federation’s Chairman, welcomed the progress made while expressing the frustration professionals and residents have concerning the lack of positive actions taken to stop another catastrophic fire. Harper welcomed the progress made while expressing the frustration professionals and residents have He told the audience of well over 100 that the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) along with many others inside and outside government had been trying to address the myriad of issues in a building system that so clearly failed while also trying to identify the products that can and cannot be used in circumstances like high rise or high risk buildings. current building safety consultation Observing “this has not been an easy or indeed fast task, and in fact it has at times been frustrating and painfully slow”, he added the caveat that “it does of course have to be thorough and meticulous." Part recalling Churchill’s ‘this may be the end of the beginning’, Michael Harper also emphasized the clear wish to see the public inquiry move quickly into its investigative second phase and for the government’s current building safety consultation to bring into fruition the “bedrock change” of a better building control system. One that “chased down the whole culture and competency of a construction industry that had somehow become complacent if not, in some cases, positively indifferent about fire safety.” better building protection Outlining that the Federation had joined with many others to implement 100% of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report to stop cherry picking or conversely avoid the “too difficult” issues and very recently had also backed the Inside Building campaign to have public finance allocated to assist private tenants remove the cladding from their buildings, Michael pointed out. This was no sudden call to action. FSF members share a common commitment to improve fire safety in the UK Indeed for a number of years FSF members had, he said, argued for a review of building regulations; pressed the case for defining competency; suggested strongly that third party installers offer assured quality; promoted sprinklers and alarms to protect the vulnerable; and argued for better building protection. And this was not because of vested commercial interest but because all FSF members share a common commitment to improve fire safety in the UK. Building a Safer Future Organizations like FSF often had a difficult task in bringing the diverse views of their members together but he closed his comments by saying he was pleased that on many issues that common commitment had allowed FSF to agree "a common denominator" position in a number of fire safety concerns. Immediately after the introduction to Building a Safer Future a panel of FSF lead officers addressed issues relating to fire strategy, competency, active and passive fire protection. The concern that two years after Grenfell little change had actually happened in regulation, products and practices was raised and debated. The underlying belief that few people really understood fire from a risk perspective, knew how to recognize companies and people who were competent and third party assured, and were unprepared to support a socially responsible industry simply because it cost more to have that quality, were all explored by the panel and their questioners.
BAFE, the independent register of quality fire safety service providers, releases the revised Scheme Document for their Fire Risk Assessment Scheme (BAFE SP205). Following a thorough review process and a five week public consultation period, BAFE have launched the revised document for Fire Risk Assessment providers. A major point of the review was to maintain the robust certification process whilst acknowledging the large number of sole traders and in-house fire safety teams looking to gain this independent evidence of their competency. Competency scheme for fire risk assessments With assessments delivered via UKAS Accredited Certification Bodies NSI and SSAIB, BAFE remains fiercely confident that the SP205 scheme continues to represent the best measures of competency in providing the vital service of fire risk assessment. “After the Lakanal House fire in July 2009, BAFE and other organizations were asked by government to provide a competency scheme for fire risk assessments - which we delivered in 2012. This major review reflects our ongoing commitment to quality and safety regarding the importance of a Fire Risk Assessors competency to perform this task in the interest first and foremost of life safety. As the Hackitt Review groups reach their conclusions we will continue to review this scheme against new requirements that arise.” - Stephen Adams, BAFE Chief Executive. Clearer management System Notable changes to the BAFE SP205 Scheme Document include: Revised, clearer Management System requirements for Sole Traders with guidance. A specific Sole Trader application process, acknowledging current membership status to a professional trade body and/or current certification. All sub-contractors must be Third Party Certificated (by a UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification Body) in their own right. Sole Traders sub-contracting to another larger organization should have their Fire Risk Assessments validated in a separate exercise by that larger organization. Enhanced report monitoring for Sole Traders. Certification to the BAFE SP205 Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment Scheme is highly regarded as a means of sourcing a quality fire risk assessment provider for one's requirements. This is listed within the Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council’s Guide to Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor which is published on the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) website.