In E-bulletin 36, News

The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) welcomes the latest proposals on competence requirements for those working on higher risk buildings released by the Competence Steering Group (CSG) on 4 October in its final report ‘Setting the Bar’.

The report proposes an overarching system of competence made up of four key elements: a new competence committee sitting within the Building Safety Regulator; a national suite of competence standards – including new sector-specific frameworks developed by 12 working groups; arrangements for independent assessment and reassessment against the competence standards; and a mechanism to ensure that those assessing and certifying people against the standards have appropriate levels of oversight.

The ASFP is particularly pleased to see the proposals relating to installers working on in scope buildings. The report recommends that, wherever appropriate, Government should mandate persons working on higher-risk buildings to be registered / certified by a recognised professional or certification body. It also calls on the industry to adopt a framework for all the installer sectors that can later be applied to other project types and will consist of:

  • Accredited third party certification of companies
  • Level 2 or 3 qualifications for individuals
  • A card scheme such as, but not limited to, the CSCS
  • CPD refresher training and the maintenance of individual skills

The report proposes that all installers should possess a core knowledge of fire safety in buildings, with training to be standardised and made mandatory. It calls for all individuals whose work on higher-risk buildings is likely to materially affect safety outcomes, or who work unsupervised on these buildings, to meet the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours set out in the competence frameworks developed by the industry.

Having long campaigned for mandatory third party certification for installers of fire protection products, the ASFP welcomes the report’s recognition that the competency of all installers should be independently verified.

Commenting on the report’s proposals, ASFP CEO Niall Rowan declared:

“The ASFP has long recommended the specification of third party certificated products, installed by third party certificated installers. This ensures an auditable trail from the specialist that installed the relevant fire protection measure, back through to the product or systems manufacturer. For over 20 years, we have required all ASFP contractor members to be third party certificated.

“We welcome these new recommendations which place a strong emphasis on ensuring the competency of installers and recognise the importance of them having standardised and independently verified qualifications. We hope this brings us another step closer to mandatory third party certification for both products and installers and urge the industry and Government to rapidly implement these proposals.”