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Author Topic: Assured competency from BAFE and IFE?  (Read 1423 times)
SeaBass
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« on: February 22, 2017, 01:22:27 PM »

Having commented on the SP205 Companies thread and supported TPA  arrangements and life safety Assessor registers, I may be about to shoot myself in the foot. Still nothing ventured nothing gained, so fingers in ears, take aim, close eyes, squeeze trigger.

I am lead to believe, from a reliable source, that a fairly large FM company, with one FR Assessor who?s risk assessment experience is in retail premises only, has been excepted on to the BAFE SP205 scheme on the condition that the Assessor  does not work in anything other than retail premises. Similarly, I have been told of an Assessor on the IFE register who, because of their limited experience in any anything other than retail, has been advised of similar restrictions that apply to their registration.

I?m not aware of their being any caveats in either the BAFE or IFE schemes, so I?d be interested to know if such arrangements are formally accepted, if they are fairly common, and if they are, how a potential client would know the limitations set out for the Assessor/Company, because so far as I am aware, there is nothing on  either organisations web site to indicate any limitations in the scope of services provided by a registrant. 
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kurnal
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 02:37:48 PM »

The BAFE scheme refers to the competency standard produced by the competency council. However it does not state that what you describe is not allowed, perhaps it is open to discussion between the company lead auditor and the Certification body. People entering the profession have to start somewhere, we can't set unrealistic targets requiring full competence on entry as this approach would limit the pool of staff available for recruitment and stifle those undergoing career development. They would have to learn their skills in lesser, non certified companies. Would that be a good thing?

This is one major aspect not adequately covered by the scheme at present and I would feel a little uncomfortable with what you describe, as you do, due to my lack of confidence generally in commercial companies where there's money to be made and targets to be met. And Certification bodies are also commercial companies.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 02:45:44 PM by kurnal » Logged

AnthonyB
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 09:42:08 PM »

If they are limited to a particular field it should be made clear on their BAFE listing and the customer's website otherwise it is misleading and open for abuse which is unfair on other certified companies who go to the effort to recruit, mentor and train a variety of staff to be able to cover a wide range of disciplines.
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Anthony Buck
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Fishy
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2017, 10:29:03 AM »

I'm not sure that it should necessarily be a function of BAFE / FIRAS etc to define the precise 'scope' of what the assessor can offer, as regards particular building uses?    As professionals we all have to restrict what we do so that's within the limits of our competence - as an example I've never designed a theatre so I wouldn't take on the job of authoring a fire strategy for a new Royal Opera House!  Similarly if I were a fire risk assessor who only had experience doing the common parts of residential then I'd probably not want to take on the job of assessing a factory or warehouse without some additional training or guidance from someone with the relevant competence?

The certification schemes can only go so far - and the more complex they become the more expensive they will be to administer.  They'll never have 100% control over everything that could affect the validity of what their members offer - but at least the internal management systems that they insist upon should mean that it's more likely that those scheme members will restrict the scope of what they offer to those premises for which they are demonstrably competent?
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SeaBass
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2017, 12:43:27 PM »

I think that we need to bear in mind that the competency accreditation schemes are there for the benefit of the general public, to assist them in identifying and appointing competent risk assessors. So, if the schemes accept people who have limited experience and therefore limited competency, the least the schemes should do is identify that in the registrants listings.

The Kurnal?s point about the unrealistic entry requirements for TPA schemes and them being a barrier to trainees, improvers and the like is a valid one. But this issue is by no means unique to firer risk assessment. In the case of electricians, City & Guilds qualified sparks come in three  varieties, A, B & C . All grades have defined scopes of work and functions that they can work on without supervision. It is simple and it works.  Would it be that difficult to divide premises types into four  broad risk profiles; none sleeping risk, sleeping risk,  care risk, and heritage/fire engineered risks, and then appraise the Assessors competency for each category?   
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William 29
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2017, 11:16:01 PM »

Is this not any different from where a "competent" person within an organisation, only does FRAs on the premises types within that organisation? i.e. retail or simple flats. So their knowledge and skills are only tested and assessed within these building types. I don't have a problem with that really.

Different if a commercial fire risk assessor is suggesting competency in the fire sector but has only been assessed as being so on limited building types, just my thoughts.
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colin todd
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2017, 06:48:36 PM »

The point is really one touched on by Fish Face.  Competence, by definition, includes knowing one's own limitations.  The IFE and others have gone through the loop of considering whether there should be categories of registration and always come back to the same conclusion that its not practical.  One CB started its own TPC scheme for FRA companies and had categories, but it never took off.

There are all sorts of potential limitations on certificated firms for anything.  You can get SP203 if you have never installed an addressable system, but only do conventional.  Any why not?  If the CB starts to go into more complex systems it will be picked up at surveillance and they will need to demonstrate their competence, which may include inspection of samples of their addressable systems.

It has always been recognized that the prudent duty holder will check a companies experience in their type of occupancy.
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Colin Todd, C S Todd & Associates
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