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ECOBuilder-Specifiers Journal spring2018

FEATURE ARTICLE: THE

FEATURE ARTICLE: THE ASSOCIATION FOR SPECIALIST FIRE PROTECTION Demonstrating Competency The Interim report from the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt, released in mid-December 2017, recommended a change in culture within the UK construction industry and significant reform of the UK fire safety regulatory system. It came as no surprise to the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) that the report identified a lack of clarity in the roles and responsibilities throughout a building’s lifecycle, from design and construction to maintenance during occupation; and inadequate means of assessing and ensuring adequate levels of competency throughout the process. The report also recognised the vital role of installers, noting that ‘the integrity and efficacy of products and systems is highly dependent on correct installation by competent and knowledgeable persons’. Along with many others in the sector, the ASFP has long been campaigning for formal competency requirements for fire professionals; mandatory third party certification of products and installers; and a system that more clearly sets out the requirements and responsibilities at each stage of construction. We have often questioned why there are no mandatory requirements for individuals who are responsible for the design, installation and assessment of life safety systems to be trained and licensed or have their competency evaluated in any way. This is certainly not the case for other professionals such as lawyers and doctors; and even plumbers, electricians and gas fitters are required to pass exams and have their competency evaluated. 78 SPECIFIERS JOURNAL - SPRING 2018 ASFP COO Niall Rowan investigates the issue of competence with regards to the specification, installation and maintenance of fire protection products Some time ago the ASFP recognised that while we called for people to employ competent professionals there was, in reality, no way of proving an individual’s competence and while short courses and CPD hours were in abundance there were few routes to gaining a formal qualification in passive fire protection. The ASFP, in collaboration with the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE), has been developing a passive fire protection training programme which will allow trainees to demonstrate competency, while also offering a route for progression and academic recognition in this key fire protection specialism. The Foundation Course in Passive Fire Protection has been developed in response to demand from employers and contractors operating in the passive fire protection sector. The content of the training embeds current best practice and draws on the technical expertise provided by the ASFP. The courses will be the first in the UK and Ireland to enable candidates to study to obtain a recognised qualification in passive fire protection. Individuals who undertake the training will also have the opportunity to progress to new Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in Passive Fire Protection provided by the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) awarding organisation. The new qualifications have been developed in partnership between the ASFP and the IFE specifically to align to the new training programme and to provide recognition of individuals who have attained the essential knowledge and understanding to work efficiently and safely in passive fire protection roles. Course structure The training is suitable for all involved in the construction industry from designers and specifiers to contractors and specialist installers. Courses are also suitable for building owner occupiers and enforcement agencies. The courses offer a foundation in fire safety and fire science as well as units on different forms of passive fire protection, with the courses structured in four modules:

• Module 1: Essential underpinning knowledge including fire science • Module 2: Installation of Passive Fire Protection: o Unit 1: Fire protection to the structural frame of the building, Fire retardant coatings o Unit 2: Fire resisting walls, floors and ceiling and fire resistant glazing o Unit 3: Fire stopping, penetration seals, cavity barriers, ductwork and dampers and the building envelope o Unit 4: Fire resisting doors, industrial shutters and hardware • Module 3: Understanding active fire protection • Module 4: Understanding building regulations, approved documentation, regulatory guidance, CDM, CE marking, codes of practice, and BIM The new IFE Level 3 Certificate in Passive Fire Protection qualification will be available from April 2018. It is aimed at individuals either directly engaged in passive fire protection or those who need to develop an understanding of the passive fire safety systems such as managers and technical supervisors working in passive fire protection roles such as technical sales staff, designers and fire risk assessors. FEATURE ARTICLE: THE ASSOCIATION FOR SPECIALIST FIRE PROTECTION successful in achieving the IFE Level 3 Certificate in Passive Fire Protection will be able to build on their learning and progress to qualifications at Level 4 or to broaden their knowledge and understanding at Level 3 by working towards other fire-specific qualifications. They will also be eligible to apply for membership of the IFE. The ASFP and IFE plan to introduce a further qualification later in 2018 – the IFE Level 2 Certificate in Passive Fire Protection. The Level 2 Certificate is aimed at individuals such as team leaders or supervising installers working in passive fire protection roles and technical sales staff. Level 2 candidates will still undertake all four modules of study, although the syllabus will be less comprehensive, and they will select only two passive fire protection units from Module 2. The Level 2 Certificate will be supported by 4 days of lectures, with candidates again expected to undertake extensive additional study to prepare for a single 1.5-hour written examination. A system of training, competency evaluation and qualification for all the major players in fire protection is long overdue and the ASFP hopes that its efforts will be the first step in raising the bar and improving standards across the board and ensuring the quality and safety of our built environment for future generations to come. For further information visit www.asfp.org.uk Individuals who wish to achieve this qualification will be able to prepare for formal assessment by attending all four training modules delivered via 7 days of lectures spread over several weeks. They will also be expected to undertake extensive additional study using ASFP technical publications as learning material. Assessment will take the form of a single 3-hour written examination. The new Level 3 Certificate will be provided by the IFE, a nationally and internationally recognised awarding organisation regulated by the qualification regulators Ofqual and CCEA. The new Level 3 Certificate will be comparable to other level 3 qualifications in the nationally regulated framework such as A levels and Level 3 NVQs and Diplomas. Candidates who are SPECIFIERS JOURNAL - SPRING 2018 79

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