A key recommendation of this review pointed out the important process of having a quality Fire Risk Assessment. It states this is a legal obligation for the Duty Holder who should have the appropriate skills to perform this task. However, if entrusting this task to a consultant, they too should be able to identify all risks and understand how to address appropriate fire safety measures.
From evidence received during this review it has been established the current process of assessing fire risk is still not working effectively and ‘action is required to ensure quality and competence’.
From this information the following recommendation has been made:
‘The Scottish Government should introduce a requirement for third party fire risk assessors to be certificated or registered to ensure competency and to help business receive a satisfactory and consistent service. This could in the first instance focus on those offering assessments/assessors working in high risk sectors.’
High risk sectors include residential care establishments. In 2013 Northern Ireland’s Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority introduced this requirement to ensure the fire risk assessment has been performed by a skilled assessor who is able to highlight all potential issues which can then be actioned.
The RRG also highlighted another recommendation:
‘In the shorter term, the Scottish Government and SFRS should work to promote the benefits of third party certification and how to select competent fire risk assessors. This should include discussions with local authorities as to whether they would be able to assist in promoting awareness of the Act.’
BAFE has been very active in promoting the importance of Third Party Certification in Scotland and across the UK, having earlier this year held a reception for MSPs (hosted by Michael McMahon MSP) and leading industry bodies at Scottish Parliament. We have also had great support from Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsey and his team at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Using competent assessors can have lifesaving results in the event of fire.
Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Michael McMahon, whose constituency suffered the tragic Rosepark Care Home fire in 2004 commented:
"I am very pleased that the Regulatory Review Group has produced such a comprehensive and authoritative report on the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005. It is now firmly in the court of all stakeholders including the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish Government to implement the recommendations as soon as possible in the interest of improving public safety."
The Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) from the Rosepark Care Home fire in 2004 stated some or all of the 14 deaths may have been avoided if an appropriate Fire Risk Assessment had been performed.
Adequate fire protection, begins first and foremost with a quality Fire Risk Assessment. BAFE scheme SP205 (Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment) was created for fire protection companies who perform Fire Risk Assessments to verify their experience and skill in fulfilling this task.