BAFE would like to recognise the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower Fire and pay our respects to all the people who lost loved ones and their homes because of this event.
Regrettably, the fire highlighted multiple areas where substantial change is required to maintain a safe environment for people in their homes. BAFE have strong objectives to be part of this positive change to improve the fire safety arena and will continue to provide input and support to relevant Working Groups and consultations.
We always stress the significance of verifying all chosen contractors to ensure they hold appropriate and valid UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification and relevant Qualifications for the services required. Confirming evidence of competency is part of the responsibility of premises management to exercise full due diligence in keeping occupants safe from any event of fire.
Earlier this year James Maxwell-Scott QC for RBKC (Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea) also highlighted that in respect of Fire Risk Assessments “the sector was and remains completely unregulated. No qualifications are required by law. No training is required by law. There was and is no bar whatsoever to anyone seeking to go into business as a fire risk assessor.” - Grenfell Tower Inquiry, Day 114, March 29 2021 (Opus 2 - Official Court Reporters Transcript)
Following the fire key figures and organisations within the industry, notably Jonathan O’Neill OBE - Managing Director of the Fire Protection Association, publicly called for UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification to be mandated by Government (most notably in his speech demanding Government “get on with it” at the Fire Sector Summit in 2019). BAFE fully supports this, and the industry is primed to be part of the solution in raising the overall level of quality and accountability for specific fire safety services available.
BAFE commend the work undertaken by the fire safety and construction sectors following the Grenfell Tower fire and we ourselves have been actively involved in development. We are fully aware and share frustrations in witnessing the long timeframe it is taking to fully implement stronger measures. Requirements for critical life safety work to be performed at a high quality and Third Party Certificated level should be mandatory, but we are confident this is going in the right direction. The fourth anniversary of this tragic event continues to highlight the importance of building safety, including the quality life safety systems and provisions within it (maintained efficiently to ensure they remain ready in the event of fire).
BAFE continue to believe that UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification is the best quality and robust method of evidencing that an organisation has the right systems and expertise in place to perform specific life safety work. This in our opinion is the best option available to regularly monitor competency within the industry. It is all our responsibility to ensure such an event like Grenfell does not happen again. We expect the Building Safety Regulator (HSE) to introduce stronger guidance and focus on using evidentially competent organisations moving forward and BAFE will continue to be part of establishing a safer built environment with responsible premises management.
- Stephen Adams, Chief Executive - BAFE