Fire risk assessments are a critical part of ensuring the safety of buildings and their occupants.
However, there has been concern within the industry about the competency and understanding of fire risk assessors. In response, the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) and Fire Risk Assessors Working Group have published a new industry standard to help improve assessor competency and understanding across a wide range of buildings.
The new Industry Benchmark Standard for Fire Risk Assessors, is unique in being set to act as practical guidance to define fire risk assessment competence at three levels, and support delivery of comparable standards across the sector.
The three levels are foundation, intermediate and advanced, determined on the fire risk assessment within low-risk, medium-risk and high-risk premises.
The wide range of building types and scenarios covered ensures that the public can be confident of the competency level of assessments carried out, including building owners and Responsible, or Accountable persons.
One of the key aspects of the new industry standard is the emphasis on ongoing professional development. Fire risk assessors will be expected to engage in continuing professional development (CPD) to maintain their knowledge, experience and skills. This will help ensure that they stay up-to-date with the latest developments in fire safety and maintain their competence over time.
Another important aspect of the new industry standard is the requirement for assessors to have a thorough understanding of the specific risks associated with different types of buildings. This includes understanding the fire safety risks associated with different building materials, occupancy types, and activities.
The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) has welcomed publication of the Industry Benchmark Standard for Fire Risk Assessment. The organisation has reviewed the standard and is supportive of its content, which will become central to the IFE’s own fire risk assessor registration process moving forward.
Says John Allam, Operations Director at Amthal: “Overall, the new industry standard for fire risk assessments is an important step forward in setting a benchmark for competency and understanding of fire risk assessors. By setting clear criteria for assessing competency and providing guidance on ongoing professional development, the industry can help ensure that fire risk assessments are carried out effectively and that buildings and their occupants remain safe.”