NSI Awards First Gold Certification for BAFE’s Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme to Solid State Security Ltd

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) is pleased to announce Solid State Security Ltd is the first company in the UK to become third party certificated for the Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance of Evacuation Alert Systems and be awarded the prestigious NSI Gold mark of approval for this new BAFE scheme.

Having selected NSI as its preferred Certification Body, the Solid State Security team were able to demonstrate to NSI’s auditors a comprehensive understanding of the BAFE SP207 scheme with the required level of competence verified through witnessed inspection.

Developed in response to the revision of the Technical Domestic Handbook in Scotland and a recommendation from the Grenfell Tower Phase 1 inquiry report, BAFE’s Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme, launched in October this year, responds to the need for blocks of flats over 18m in height and where a “stay put” policy is in place, to be provided with the means for fire & rescue services to initiate an evacuation alert signal within flats in a controlled and managed way.

Evacuation Alert Systems are for the sole use of fire & rescue services in managing the evacuation of occupants from part or all of a block of flats; they save time in raising the alert and enable fire & rescue services to prioritise evacuation of critical areas e.g. particular floors of, or wings in, a building. They do not detect fire or take the place of fire alarms, they are an additional layer of safety designed to support evacuation of persons most at risk.

Together with other industry leading bodies, NSI was involved from the outset in the development of BAFE Scheme SP207, which observes best practice defined in the British Standard BS 8629 – ‘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’.

As the scheme is modular, companies can gain certification for one or more of the services they provide i.e. design, installation, commissioning and/or maintenance. However, if a company provides all four services, then it must demonstrate competence in, and hold approval for, all four modules; it cannot pick and choose which modules it wants approval for.

This new addition to NSI’s Fire Safety certification offering complements the extensive portfolio of BAFE schemes available to professional fire safety providers, which includes: fire detection and alarm systems; emergency lighting; gaseous suppression systems, kitchen fire protection systems and life safety fire risk assessment. As with all NSI certification schemes, NSI Gold approval is only available to those companies operating a Quality Management System in accordance with BS EN ISO 9001.

Similar to an “MOT”, companies approved for the scheme issue an NSI/BAFE “Certificate of Compliance” for every newly installed system and also on completion of scheduled maintenance (every six months). This certificate, held by building operators, demonstrates to enforcing authorities, insurers and occupants that systems are adequately installed and maintained.

James Foster, MD of Solid State Security commented: “We are excited to be the first company in the UK to gain 3rd party certification to BAFE SP207. It shows our commitment to quality, our customers and delivering better systems to safeguard residents’ safety.

“Having lived on the 10th floor of an apartment block with a strict defend in place strategy myself for years, I would personally feel much safer if I had a BS 8629 system where I lived knowing I would have quicker communication to evacuate if needed.

“This new scheme goes a long way to indicate to buyers, consultants and fire engineers that SP207 approved companies have the technical design and engineering skill to provide the best Evacuation Alert Systems on the market. We are audited on every element of our works against the BAFE SP207 scheme and BS 8629 from design, installation, commissioning, verification and maintenance. This means all stakeholders get the system they are expecting and residents can rest assured in the event of a real fire that they can be evacuated quickly and reliably.

“The application process was thorough ensuring top quality companies and directors become approved and I commend NSI for offering the certification route so soon.

“We’re proud to be approved and look forwards to enhancing the fire safety across high rise residential buildings.”

Richard Jenkins, NSI Chief Executive commented: “We are delighted to be awarding this landmark certification to Solid State Security, verifying their competence in delivering well designed, installed, commissioned and maintained evacuation alert systems that will help safeguard flat residents, fire fighters and crucially help prevent loss of lives. We congratulate James Foster and his team on this achievement.”

Stephen Adams, Chief Executive, BAFE said: “BAFE are delighted to see the first UKAS Accredited Third Party Certification for the new SP207 scheme being awarded to Solid State Security Ltd. We offer our congratulations for their achievement and will welcome them onto the BAFE Fire Safety Register as the first organisation to gain certification for the Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme. We believe this is an important Scheme to determine quality evidence of competency for working on these systems in the interest of life safety in high-rise and other high risk buildings. These systems, when in full working and efficient order, can importantly assist Fire and Rescue to evacuate a building as safely as possible.”