The importance of Choosing Competent Fire Safety Contractors –
Third Party Certification
How Does It Work?
Third Party Certification provides an external, impartial audit of an organisation designed to establish compliance with industry codes of practice, national and/or international standards. Becoming third party certificated is the most effective way for an organisation to prove to customers they are competent as they will be independently audited on a regular basis to verify compliance with the relevant standards.
In the fire sector, NSI is a certification body licensed by BAFE, with a remit to audit organisations working in the sector against the BAFE scheme documents. Organisations providing fire safety services who choose NSI as their certification body will be become both NSI approved and BAFE registered, entitling them to display the esteemed NSI and BAFE logos.
NSI approves fire safety companies involved in five key areas for which there are separate BAFE schemes:
- Fire Detection & Alarm Systems
- Fixed Gaseous Fire Suppression Systems
- Maintenance of Portable Fire Extinguishers
- Emergency Lighting
- Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment
These schemes are acknowledged by the Fire & Rescue Services, Government, Insurers and the fire industry as helping companies involved in fire protection prove their competence.
Two Levels of NSI Approval
NSI’s premier fire scheme, Fire Gold, is designed for companies wishing to meet the industry’s highest standards by achieving business excellence through an ISO 9001 Quality Management System Standard, as well as displaying technical expertise by meeting the requirements of the relevant BAFE scheme requirements. Fire Gold approved companies will have achieved a long-term track record of performance as evidence of reliability and stability.
NSI’s Fire Silver scheme is often used as an entry-level scheme or for smaller companies wishing to progress to Gold level. Companies who wish to gain approval for the Fire Silver scheme are required to meet the required level of technical competence.
All NSI Fire Gold and Fire Silver Approved Companies can demonstrate to their customers that they:
- meet the technical requirements of the appropriate BAFE scheme
- meet all relevant British Standards
- provide a high level of staff training and supervision to industry best practice standards
- are comprehensively insured to protect customers and staff
- are inspected regularly by NSI’s team of specialist auditors to check head office management administration and technical competence through customer site visits.
Fire Detection & Alarm Systems – SP203-1
NSI approves companies through its Fire Gold and Fire Silver schemes to meet the requirements of the BAFE SP203-1 Fire Detection and Alarm Systems Scheme.
This scheme allows a company to seek approval for one or more of the modules below, depending on the activities of the business:
Fixed Gaseous Fire Suppression Systems SP203-3
The BAFE SP203-3 Scheme for Fixed Gaseous Fire Suppression is also based on the modular approach as above.
Contract Maintenance of Portable Fire Extinguishers – SP101
From October 2017 the BAFE SP101 Scheme for the contract maintenance of portable fire extinguishers will be available for companies at Gold and Silver level.
All portable fire extinguisher technicians must have undertaken a recognised training course (e.g. FIA, IFEDA or British Fire Consortium). All commissioning and maintenance of portable extinguishers must be carried out in accordance with British Standard BS 5306 part 8 and BS 5306 Part 3.
In order to achieve BAFE SP101 certification, all portable fire extinguisher technicians must register on the BAFE ST104 (SP101 from 1st October) scheme.
Emergency Lighting – SP203-4
NSI approves companies through its Fire Gold and Fire Silver schemes to meet the requirements of the BAFE SP203-4 Emergency Lighting scheme.
BAFE SP203-4 is also based on the modular approach, allowing an organisation to seek approval for one or more of the modules listed above, depending on the activities of the business.
Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment – SP205
All businesses with five employees or more must produce a documented fire risk assessment to establish that all the correct measures have been taken regarding fire prevention and detection.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, emphasises the importance of preventing fires and reducing risk. It is the responsibility of businesses to ensure the safety of employees and visitors alike. The designated responsible person must conduct, or employ a suitably qualified person to conduct, a fire risk assessment and implement and maintain a fire safety plan.
NSI approves individuals and organisations who provide life safety fire risk assessments (BAFE scheme SP205). A ‘responsible person’ within a business who chooses an SP205 NSI approved/BAFE registered practitioner to carry out a risk assessment can be assured that they have contracted a suitably competent and qualified expert, therefore meeting their legal obligations.
The Role of BAFE
BAFE develops relevant schemes for the fire sector in conjunction with interested parties such as NSI, the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA), insurance companies and the fire industry.
These schemes can then be operated by carefully selected Third Party Certification Bodies such as NSI, who must be accredited by UKAS for the relevant BAFE scheme.
If you are interested in making an enquiry about NSI approval for one of the BAFE Fire Schemes, please complete our ENQUIRY FORM.
If you have any queries, please call our Applications team on 01628 764855 who will be happy to help you.