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New BAFE scheme for fire protection 
03/09/2013 
 
Firewatch continue to strive for excellence in providing its customers with the very best of service backed up with stringent quality procedures. Firewatch were the first company in the UK to achieve dual accreditation for BAFE SP 203-1 Fire Alarm design, installation and maintenance as well as for Fire extinguisher supply and maintenance BAFE SP101 incorporating the ST104 Extinguisher Technician licensing. Group CEO Martin Smith announced that the company has added the new BAFE SP205-Part 1 scheme (Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment), to its list of UKAS accreditation schemes. 
 
Under the legal provisions that apply in the UK, the duty holder or responsible person for a building is required to carry out a fire risk assessment to clarify the fire precautions required to ensure the safety of staff, customers and property. This is for all business premises; at present there is no other independently audited means to ensure the competence and reliability of a company commissioned to carry this out. BAFE scheme SP205-1 will provide reassurance to the duty holder that they are doing everything possible to meet their obligations. 
 
Martin Smith commentated “We embraced BAFE from its early days and are pleased that it has now become the fire industry’s most recognised marque for quality and professionalism, with over 1,000 companies accredited it gives the consumer a better choice and peace of mind.” 
 
BAFE has launched a new scheme for organisations that provide Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment (SP205), after a two year period of consultation within the industry the first three certification bodies have now received their UKAS accreditation to deliver the scheme. 
 
 
BAFE is the independent registration body for companies that have achieved third party quality certification of their fire protection services. Users and specifiers can gain the reassurance that providers of fire alarms, portable extinguishers, emergency lighting meet UK standards and are regularly audited. Over 1,000 companies, across the UK have now achieved BAFE registration and this is growing rapidly as the requirement becomes a part of many tenders and specifications. As Government guidelines for fire protection state – 
 
‘Third-party certification schemes for fire protection products and related services are an effective means of providing the fullest possible assurances, offering a level of quality, reliability and safety that non-certificated products may lack. This does not mean goods and services that are not third-party approved are less reliable, but there is no obvious way in which this can be demonstrated.’ 
 
The Department of Health has its own guidance document (Health Technical memorandum 05-03 ‘Part K; Guidance on Fire risk assessments in complex healthcare establishments’), which provides guidance to assist with the undertaking of fire risk assessments in complex healthcare premises to meet the statutory duty under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and Fire (Scotland) Act 2005. This is implemented within appropriate health service premises through health fire officers. Companies certificated to the BAFE SP205 scheme could work within these guidelines, or provide fire risk assessments in other premises. The key factor is that property managers have the reassurance that they have professional advice. 
 
Individual competencies for fire risk assessors have also been developed by a Competency Council, headed by a senior Chief Fire Officer, Iain Cox QFSM from Royal Berkshire FRS and these skills will be incorporated into the BAFE scheme requirements. The Competency Council has issued a ‘Guide to Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor’. 
 
Key points of BAFE scheme SP205 
 
This scheme has been developed by a group of industry experts to help the building ‘responsible person’ meet the requirements for fire risk assessments under the Regulatory Reform(Fire Safety) Order 2005, the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006. 
 
Launched in 2012 for Companies who provide Fire Risk Assessment services. 
SP205 specifies that Companies have the required technical and quality management capabilities. 
Risk assessment staff need to meet appropriate standards 
The scheme has been designed to meet the requirements of companies large and small, recognising that there are many individuals working as assessors. 
BAFE has been working closely with the Competency Council to monitor and develop risk assessor competence criteria. 
SP205 is delivered by UKAS accredited Certification Bodies that assess and routinely monitor Companies against the scheme criteria. 
The ultimate responsibility for the adequacy of the fire risk assessment rests with the duty holder (which is normally an organisation) or responsible person rather than with the fire risk assessor. This Scheme recognises the importance of providing fire risk assessments that comply with an acceptable set of criteria. 
 
What does this scheme offer to specifiers and building owners/managers? 
 
Under the legal provisions that apply in the UK, the duty holder or responsible person for a building is required to make a fire risk assessment to clarify the fire precautions required to ensure the safety of staff, customers and property. This is for all business premises. At present there is no other independently audited means to ensure the competence and reliability of a company commissioned to carry this out. BAFE scheme SP205 will provide reassurance to the duty holder that they are doing everything possible to meet their obligations. 
 
For more information and to keep up to date with progress go to the BAFE website: www.bafe.org.uk or contact us at info@bafe.org.uk 
Copyright © 2017 Firewatch South West Ltd 
Group Head Office, 1 Brunel Road, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 4PB 
tel: 0800 783 4171 fax: 01626 363172 
email: info@firewatchsouthwest.co.uk 
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