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Monday, 18 April 2011

Scottish fire law guidance on selecting fire risk assessors


New guidance on selecting suitably competent fire risk assessors has been made available on a government website.

In its FAQ section, www.firelawscotland.org gives information on current fire risk assessor registers and schemes. It lists registers held by the Institution of Fire Engineers, the Fire Industry Association, Warrington Certification, Institute of Fire Safety Managers, Institute of Fire Prevention Officers, and provides direct links to them.

It states:

“If you are looking to employ a fire safety specialist, it can be difficult to judge the competence of companies and persons who advertise their services as fire risk assessors. The fact that a person or company is operating in the fire sector or that someone has previous fire service experience, does not mean that they are a fire safety specialist.

“There are a small number of fire risk assessor registration schemes in operation for persons and companies that carry out fire risk assessments.”

It adds a proviso, however, that the Scottish Government has no role in the administration or approval of these schemes, and that he information is provided solely to make duty holders aware of their existence.

It is believed that this is the first government guidance in the UK which mentions in detail the existing professional registers and fire risk assessor schemes, and provides links to them. It comes just a month after the news that the Scottish Government departed from previous practice and started promoting the benefits of using third party certificated fire protection products and services.

It is thought that the move towards recognising the value of third party certification and professional fire risk assessor registers came from recommendations given by Colin Todd, an expert witness in the fatal accident inquiry into the Rosepark Care home in Lanarkshire, in which 14 residents dies in 2004.

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