Third Party Certification is the best assurance of quality when looking for a provider to help meet your fire safety requirements. It offers independent verification and evidence that a company is competent and working to the appropriate standards and best practice for the specific service you require.
Post Grenfell and following the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety by Dame Judith Hackitt DBE FREng, there has been an increased focus on fire safety responsibilities. This emphasises the responsibilities of the person appointed for fire safety within a building* and actions they can take to mitigate fire risk to the best of their ability following national fire safety legislation.
The use of Third Party Certificated providers is strongly recommended by Government in guidance documents:
“Third-party certification schemes for fire protection products and related services are an effective means of providing the fullest possible assurances, offering a level of quality, reliability and safety that non-certificated products may lack... Third-party quality assurance can offer comfort both as a means of satisfying you that goods and services you have purchased are fit for purpose, and as a means of demonstrating that you have complied with the law.”
- GOV.UK Fire Safety Guidance Documents (Quality assurance of fire protection equipment and installation)
First party referral is simply a self-endorsement. This is when a provider tells you directly that they are good enough to fulfil your requirements with no evidence of their competency.
Second party referral involves someone else, such as another customer, contractor register or trade association (without third party certification criteria for joining) stating that a provider can fulfil their requirements. However, there still may be little or no credible and independent evidence to prove their competency.
UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification takes this to another level completely to ensure provider competence. This is when an independent Certification Body which is accredited by UKAS** (the national accreditation body for the UK appointed by Government) sends trained assessors out to assess the provider. They confirm the provider is working to the latest appropriate standards and best practice for the specific service they deliver. They check and verify these required competencies and management systems to ensure that the provider can do what they say - and are checked annually.
All BAFE Registered Companies are Third Party Certificated in one or more areas of fire safety. It is a simple process to search for or verify a provider who are Third Party Certificated in the specific area of fire safety that you require. Performing this quick check is important under national fire safety legislation as this demonstrates you have taken reasonable steps to confirm your chosen providers are competent.
In the instance that you require services that the BAFE schemes do not cover, it is still strongly advised to check they are Third Party Certificated for this via another organisation when sourcing a provider for your specific fire safety requirements.
The BAFE Fire Safety Register covers the following areas for Third Party Certification (via UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification Bodies licensed to deliver the BAFE Schemes):
+ more competency areas covered, visit the BAFE Schemes Page for further information.
*Responsible Person (England & Wales), Duty Holder (Scotland), Appropriate Person (Northern Ireland)
**United Kingdom Accreditation Service (Link: https://www.ukas.com)
“Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates the competence, impartiality and performance capability of these evaluators. In short, UKAS ‘checks the checkers’.”
Legal obligations nationwide require the appointed responsible person for fire safety for commercial/non-domestic premises to have adequate fire protection.