Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
October 15, 2020


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Accreditation schemes

BAFE launches Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme

BAFE has announced that the SP207 Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme Document is now available. The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) has become the first certification body to be awarded accreditation by UKAS to run the scheme.

BAFE-SP202-Logo-BAFE-ONLYSupporting British Standard 8629 (Evacuation Alert Systems for use by fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats), the BAFE SP207 Scheme document covers demonstrating quality evidence of competency for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of evacuation alert systems.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government published its outcome to the consultation regarding sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats in May 2020. Within this document an overwhelming 92% of respondents agreed that Approved Document B should include a requirement for an emergency evacuation system (which could support fire and rescue services operational response by alerting residents if they need to escape). The document added that “Several respondents noted that an evacuation alert system being in place would provide both clarity and reassurance to residents.”

Chris Auger, Director of Schemes – BAFE, said: “The demand shown following the MHCLG consultation is unprecedented and represents a far greater awareness of systems and competency of their installers required following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower Fire. With the work BAFE have performed in conjunction with the industry and Fire and Rescue Service, we are pleased to release this document and offer a route to achieving this important Third Party Certification. Quality evidence of competency is going to have far greater scrutiny for everyone working in high-rise blocks in the very near future which can only be a good thing. This scheme will fill this crucial gap in providing confidence to specifiers knowing they are fulfilling their due diligence and continuing the ‘golden thread’ of accountability for the life safety of residents within the building.”

Chris adds: “The expanding portfolio of BAFE Schemes represents the necessity of quality evidence of competency required for niche but extremely important areas of the industry. Third Party Certification is going to be a key focus of attention for the built environment moving forward and BAFE needs to position itself to offer schemes that are both needed and, reflect the current concerns of occupants, regulators, service providers and building owners/managers.”

The BAFE SP207 Scheme Document (For the Design, Installation, Commissioning & Maintenance of Evacuation Alert Systems) and information on the Certification Bodies who are offering this assessment is available via the BAFE website.

NSI accredited to run Evacuation Alert Systems Scheme


Richard Jenkins, CEO, NSI

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) says it 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 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: “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: [email protected]

The Future of Fire Safety: download the eBook

Is the fire protection industry adapting to the post-Grenfell reality fast enough? At FIREX International 2019, Europe's only dedicated fire safety event, some of the world's leading fire safety experts covered this theme. This eBook covers the key insights from those discussions on the developments shaping the profession, with topics including:

  • Grenfell Inquiry must yield “bedrock change” – and soon
  • After Grenfell: Jonathan O’Neill OBE on how austerity and policy “on the hoof” are hampering progress
  • Hackitt’s Golden Thread: Fire, facilities and building safety
  • Fire safety community has to “get on board” with technological changes

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