Chief Executive summary of activity post Grenfell Tower tragedy and Hackitt Review
There have been several elements of BAFE’s activity in response to the tragedy of Grenfell Tower. In all of this, we have stressed the value of third party certification as the key measure of competence for companies providing fire protection services. As part of our activity we have joined the Construction Industry Council, which is the principal body working with the Hackitt review to develop competence standards and enforcement. Whilst the CIC has previously been totally new construction focussed, there has been a lot of effort by the Fire Sector Federation and a number of other groups to ensure that they recognise the need to integrate fire safety throughout the life of the building.
We are considering how our schemes can be developed to enhance the competence elements and also to ensure that we can address issues of compliance. We have Monitoring Groups for all our schemes, involving Certification Bodies and UKAS, Trade Associations and Companies. We are considering the best ways to identify the competence of individuals in our Fire Risk Assessment and Fire Alarm schemes. With the development last year of the SP101 Portable extinguisher scheme, we have also recruited a Compliance manager, Steve James, to work with all the stakeholders to ensure that companies achieve compliance to the revised scheme and continue to meet the standards. Registered technician numbers are at an all time high.
We are developing new schemes including the recently introduced Kitchen extinguisher scheme. We have the Wet/Dry riser scheme document out for consultation* and are actively working on a number of new potential areas. Any significant scheme takes at least 12 months to develop and then work with Certification Bodies on the delivery accreditation and mechanism, but we have a full ‘pipeline’ of ideas.
*The BAFE Wet and Dry Riser Scheme consultation closes Friday 21st December 2018 http://bit.ly/2qDcAZT
We have responded to all relevant Government consultations promoting the value of using third party certificated companies. This has included multiple consultations in Scotland, where they are also actively seeking to legislate on Fire Safety.
Following the Hackitt Review eleven Working Groups have been established, covering every aspect of construction and support. We are making major contributions to three of these – Installation, Fire Risk Assessment and Procurement – and we monitor the activity of all the others and contribute if necessary. The principal of third party certification has been widely accepted across all of the fire protection trades, including the passive sector.
BAFE is the only independent Register of third party certificated competence for the fire protection industry and it is significant that new registrations have increased by 45% this year to a total of over 1600 across the schemes. Visitors to our website are up by over 10% with a series of Google Adwords campaigns and our social media and overall promotional activity continues to increase. We are very aware that there is still a lot of work still to do to raise the profile of the value of competence, but post Grenfell Tower national actions and through our own initiatives we anticipate continuing growth in demand.
I would like to personally thank you for your support of the BAFE schemes, it is hugely positive to see so many companies become, and importantly, remain third party certificated to demonstrate competency for the services you offer.
BAFE also takes action against Companies who fail to operate in compliance with our schemes and we will be publishing more on this topic in 2019.
I would strongly encourage you to continue to promote these achievements to your customers and potential customers (remember you can embed our videos from our YouTube channel). It is of vital importance we all help to educate end users and specifiers, so they can make better and safer decisions in their selection process.
Wishing everyone a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
BAFE Chief Executive