The National Security Inspectorate (NSI), has become the first Certification Body to be awarded accreditation by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for its Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme, incorporating the requirements of BAFE’s new Scheme SP207.
BAFE, the UK’s independent register of quality fire safety service providers, has developed the new scheme in response to a recommendation from the Grenfell Tower Phase 1 inquiry report whereby new or existing blocks of flats, with one or more storeys over 18m above ground level, should be provided with evacuation alert systems.
Evacuation alert systems activated solely by the fire and rescue services initiate evacuation alert signals in the event of a fire or other emergency, save time in alerting occupants to evacuate, and enable the most critical areas for evacuation to be prioritised.
BAFE Scheme SP207 calls upon BS 8629, the ‘Code of Practice for the Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance of Evacuation Alert Systems for use by fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats’, published on 30 November 2019. As the scheme is modular, companies can gain certification from NSI for one or more services they provide i.e. design, installation, commissioning and/or maintenance.
Professional fire safety providers wishing to gain certification through NSI have two approval options: Gold and Silver; with Gold available to those companies operating a Quality Management System in accordance with BS EN ISO 9001.
Similar to an “MOT”, NSI approved companies will issue an NSI/BAFE “Certificate of Compliance” for newly installed systems and on completion of scheduled maintenance visits (every six months), as evidence to enforcing authorities and insurers that systems are adequately installed and maintained.
NSI Chief Executive, Richard Jenkins commented: “We’re proud to be the first Certification Body to gain accreditation from UKAS for our new Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme, having been involved throughout the scheme’s inception and development. Our accreditation demonstrates NSI’s capability has been independently recognised by UKAS.
“NSI’s auditing team is fully prepared to verify the competency of fire safety companies responsible for the design, installation, commissioning and/or maintenance of these systems which are designed to help save lives and property. Third Party Certification by a UKAS accredited body such as NSI provides assurance for building landlords and residents of the skills, competency and integrity of fire safety providers responsible for these systems.”
BAFE Chief Executive, Stephen Adams said: "In the MHCLG document [published in May 2020] regarding fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats it revealed that 92% of respondents believe that Approved Document B should include a requirement for an evacuation alert system. With this demand, BAFE are confident we have developed a quality scheme in SP207 to display quality evidence of competency for providing evacuation alert system works. This has been in conjunction with the fire safety industry and Fire and Rescue Service within the SP207 Development Group. This will now evolve into a dedicated Monitoring Group to ensure the Scheme remains the highest echelon of competency evidence attainable for this service.
“The ongoing message BAFE continue to stress is that fire safety is about life safety, the sooner people are made aware of an emergency and alerted to evacuate, utilising quality and well maintained systems, the better.”
Companies interested in gaining Third Party Certification for the BAFE Evacuation Alert Systems (SP207) Scheme should contact John Davidson, NSI Head of Field Operations (Systems) by email: firstname.lastname@example.org