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FSA calls for legal mandate in the use of competent fire professionals

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The Fire & Security Association is calling on the UK Government to introduce a new legal requirement to mandate the use of competent fire safety professionals. 

Currently it’s possible for building owners to undertake fire risk assessments without seeking the expertise of a competent fire risk assessor or fire professional. The FSA wants that to change, noting that only those holding a robust, relevant qualification should be allowed to undertake such work. 

Furthermore, FSA believes that the recording of all fire risk assessments should become mandatory, and that as part of plans to strengthen the legal basis of the Fire Safety Order the introduction of an ‘approved code of practice’ would set the requirements.

Mike Smith, technical director of the FSA, noted, “It’s absolutely vital that urgent steps are taken to give householders confidence that buildings and installations are safe and protected against the risks of fire and electric shock.

“Mandating the use of competent fire professionals who hold robust qualifications is fundamental to this approach, and FSA strongly urges the Government to legislate on this critical issue.”

The FSA has also outlined how the role and responsibilities of the Responsible Person for a building should be enhanced, as well as what information should be readily available to tenants and homeowners.

Due to the additional risks associated with higher risk buildings, the FSA believes that three additional fire precaution requirements should apply to these buildings, specifically: provision and maintenance of means of escape, provision and maintenance of firefighting systems, and record keeping demonstrating the specific requirements.

Furthermore, the FSA believes that a tough sanctions regime should apply, including unlimited fines for certain breaches of the regulations, such as impersonation of an inspector.

The FSA made the comments within a submission to a Home Office consultation about the Fire Safety Order in early October. The consultation compliments the Government’s work on a new Building Safety Bill to increase safety measures in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.

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