Last reviewed 20 May 2022

The commencement of the Fire Safety Act 2021 has brought a strong message from the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) as it warned that fire risk assessors, together with the building owners and safety managers who employ them, face additional challenges in satisfying new legal requirements to meet fire safety competency standards.

Furthermore, the FSF went on, these pressures will increase further now the Building Safety Act 2022 has achieved Royal Assent.

When the Fire Safety Act 2021 (Commencement) (England) Regulations 2022 brought the 2021 Act into force they introduced a significant change to require that a building’s external walls be considered as part of any assessment.

The Building Safety Act goes further, the FSF highlights, placing a clear duty on Accountable and Responsible Persons to confirm the competency of any fire risk assessor that they appoint to assist them to undertake a building fire risk assessment.

The problem, as the FSF explains it, is that there remains a lack of detailed definition of what is competent, which puts these “duty holders” under considerable pressure to make the correct choices.

The Federations’ Executive Director Dennis Davis said: “Those accountable for building and fire safety, including fire risk assessors operating without clearly demonstrable competency, need to get ready now. They must fully understand the implications of demonstrating compliance with their obligations under the new legislation.”

The FSF has committed to developing a range of resources to support the continued development of competency in this area, helping the sector meet its obligations.

It will soon publish a new industry standard for the general fire risk assessor that establishes three competency levels for assessors that are matched to three generic types of building risk.