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Background

Fire Safety Risk Assessments have been at the core of what we do since the company was founded in 2001. We offer Fire safety training, assessments and advice to many of our clients and in April 2020 we gained full BAFE Gold Accreditation. Third-Party Certification (TPC) is basically a client or ‘Responsible Person’ protection scheme. It enables the provider to be able to prove competence and in turn helps clients meet their obligations in the selection and appointment of a competent person.

BAFE SP205 Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment is a third-party accreditation scheme approved by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). SP205 specifies that organisations have the required technical and quality management capabilities and that risk assessment staff meet appropriate criteria.

Praxis42 chose the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) as the Third-Party Certification Body (TPCB).
The NSI undertook stage 1 of the verification process, which was a very thorough audit of our Quality Management System under ISO9001:2015. Stage 2 was an equally thorough audit of all fire safety documentation in line with the requirements of the BAFE SP205 scheme.

After positive outcomes to these audits the next stage was a witnessed audit of four fire risk assessors, three of which were the named validators for Praxis42.

Gaining Accreditation

The journey to gaining accreditation from our perspective was a rewarding one. We approached the process with a positive attitude based on our values and aligned with our continuous improvement culture. Whilst we felt we would be successful the message from the Chairman was clear, in that, if there were areas where we needed to improve, they would be viewed as constructive feedback and we would simply do whatever was necessary.

Throughout the entire process we were only issued with three minor observations, one from stage 2 and two from stage 3 which we saw as testament to our Quality Management System and the emphasis we place on ensuring that we remain experts in an ever changing compliance environment.

The route to gaining accreditation was very smooth, aided by the auditor from the NSI being very pragmatic in an industry that can be at times very subjective, this allowed for open conversations which I felt made the journey much more valuable and aligns perfectly with the process of undertaking fire risk assessments, as opposed to a box ticking exercise.

Why Outsource?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 stipulates that the Responsible Person must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions.

It does not state who has to undertake this assessment. It does however stipulate that the person undertaking the risk assessment must be competent. The legislation suggests that where there is a competent person in the responsible persons employment, that person must be appointed in preference to an external competent person.

Fire safety is a complex subject with many facets, some of which are intertwined and can in some cases be used as compensatory factors when a higher standard is applied and therefore it is of vital importance that the definition of competence is strictly adhered to.The preference tends to be that the competent person is outsourced to those that are able to maintain competence and provide independent assurance in the guidance, advice and recommendations relating to fire life safety.

For this reason, Fire and Rescue Services advocate that all fire risk assessors or companies, be on a register and are validated by an external TPCB.

Selecting the right Partner

 

When it comes to risk assessing individual or multiple sites it is important to have a consistent approach and when it comes to the assessment itself it is important to base any judgement on the ‘risk of a fire occurring’ as opposed to ‘a fire will occur’. This judgement is imperative in determining the suitability of the existing measures in place or making recommendations accordingly.

It makes sense then to appoint a consultancy that can deliver the above approach and at Praxis42 we not only pride ourselves on being your competent resource from an assessing and management perspective, but also from a relationship perspective, where our goal is not just to tick the compliance box but to help you meet your legal responsibilities in a way that helps you.

Praxis42 Client

“Managing a large estate is challenging in a number of ways and in particular from a fire life safety management perspective. Selecting and partnering with a consultancy that can provide trusted advice, guidance, compliance assurance and management information gives us peace of mind. Recognising the changing landscape in fire safety and the implications on the business led to the decision that only accredited fire risk assessors would be engaged. Praxis42 now have the final credential we required and look forward to continuing to work together to meet our compliance objectives and the prevention of fire.”

The route to gaining accreditation was very smooth, aided by the auditor from the NSI being very pragmatic in an industry that can be at times very subjective, this allowed for open conversations which I felt made the journey much more valuable and aligns perfectly with the process of undertaking fire risk assessments, as opposed to a box ticking exercise.

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