Early last year, with the agreement of both the Board and Council, BAFE launched a major review of the BAFE SP101/ST104 Contract Maintenance of Portable Fire Extinguishers Incorporating Registered Fire Extinguisher Service Technicians scheme. This is now ready for public comment.
At present, it’s proposed that the revised scheme becomes SP101:2017 Competency of Portable Fire Extinguisher Organisations and Technicians.
The SP101/ST104 scheme exists to ensure technicians providing extinguisher maintenance – and the companies that employ them – perform at a high quality level to ensure ongoing competency for providing this service. The current version of the scheme has been a merged scheme for over ten years now and, following feedback from the industry, it was decided that a major review was necessary.
In April last year, BAFE launched this major review with the creation of a Scheme Revision Group chaired by Dave Russell. Over the last eight months, proposed changes have been made to the scheme with a view to updating, enhancing and strengthening it.
The newly-named SP101:2017 is a ‘ground up’ revision of the SP101/ST104 scheme, acknowledging that companies must ensure their technicians are skilled and always knowledgeably aware of how to execute competent extinguisher maintenance (and, importantly, that their ability remains at a high standard at all times). An additional intention of the revised scheme document is to make it easier to read and understand, while matters relating to the certification bodies have been moved into a separate document in order to align with all other BAFE schemes.
The revision strongly maintains and improves the requirement for all technicians to be able to demonstrate a high level of practical and theoretical competency encompassing all the relevant British Standards (BS 5306 Parts 3, 8 and 9). This includes both the ongoing assessment of a technician’s current work by BAFE assessors and annual sample retrospective assessments conducted by the certification body, with much stronger formalised exchange of information introduced between BAFE and the certification body.
Given a desire to strengthen the scheme and ensure that only competent organisations are employing competent technicians, it’s proposed that the status of ‘provisional technician’ be dropped. Not only will an organisation have to be third party certificated before it can claim ‘BAFE Registered’ status, but a minimum number of its technicians will also have to be audited and awarded the BAFE Diploma.
The proposed dual route is via either the current IS0 9001 certification or a well-defined quality management system. Both routes will be audited by UKAS-accredited certification bodies and follow the same competency criteria as described in the scheme document (the only difference being is that if a given company doesn’t require an ISO 9001 for the entire organisation, there’s now a different option to focus on the competency of the business and technicians to provide maintenance of fire extinguishers on an exclusive basis).
*Read the full consultation document and comment on the proposed changes. Note that the consultation period will close on Monday 6 March