University College London to undertake in-house life-safety risk assessments

Published:  18 August, 2014

UCL (University College London) has become the first academic institution to undertake in-house life safety fire risk assessments underpinned by third-party certification.

UCL has broken new ground by becoming the first University to be third party certificated to carry out Life Safety Fire Risk Assessments through a leading fire and security certification Body, NSI.

UCL turned to NSI (one of the first certification bodies to be licensed to deliver BAFE’s Fire sector schemes), to take it through the process to become third party certificated to BAFE’s SP205-1 Scheme for Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment.

To ensure compliance with the BAFE Scheme requirements and to prove their competency, UCL were rigorously assessed by NSI against the Scheme criteria and their documented management system. Their management system process was thoroughly audited and the execution of fire risk assessments by the appointed UCL fire safety team, witnessed by NSI. Having successfully completed the certification process, dual BAFE registration and NSI approval for the Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment Silver Scheme was granted to UCL at the end of July.

UCL’s campus extends to over 250 buildings across London: these include office premises, classrooms, research facilities, laboratories and student accommodation. Those responsible for fire safety within the university are now able to prove they have the necessary competencies to carry out their own risk assessments, or sub- contract this work to a similarly competent organisation, if they so wish.

To maintain their approval with NSI, UCL have committed to carry out regular internal audits to ensure their fire risk assessors continue to meet the necessary competency requirements and they will be regularly audited by NSI to verify continued compliance with BAFE’s requirements.

Keith Todd, Fire Safety Officer from UCL commented: ‘We are delighted to have successfully attained BAFE SP205 third party certification.  In so doing, we have demonstrated that UCL are providing suitable and sufficient fire risk assessments.  It also helps us to ensure that we continue to operate to the highest fire safety and management standards possible, and can demonstrate this to our relevant persons, our organisation and fire authorities responsible for enforcing legislation.’

On achieving their NSI approval, Richard Jenkins, NSI Chief Executive stated: ‘I am delighted UCL chose NSI to act as their third party Certification Body.  Our certification process and auditing capability has a reputation second to none within the security and fire sectors. UCL clearly understands the value that NSI certification brings: demonstrating their competence and ongoing commitment to the safety of all on their premises.’

Stephen Adams, Chief Executive of BAFE, commented: ‘There is significant evidence across the UK, that end users are recognizing the value of competent providers of fire protection services. The BAFE scheme for Fire Risk Assessment is receiving rapidly growing recognition in the public and private sectors and from the statutory bodies including the Fire and Rescue Services. The UCL team should be congratulated for their vision of excellence in achieving this certification.’

With the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales (and equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland) anyone responsible for premises that come within the scope, is required by law, to carry out a fire risk assessment.  The ‘Duty Holder’ or ‘Responsible Person’ for the building(s) must ensure that a fire risk assessment is completed, so that the building is ‘safe enough’ for the escape of anyone who is lawfully allowed on the premises, or within the immediate vicinity of the building, should a fire occur.

By selecting to use a third party certificated organisation to carry out fire risk assessments the ‘Responsible Person’ can help to demonstrate that they carried out ‘due diligence’ when selecting their fire risk assessment provider.

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