BAFE SP101:2017 consultation on portable fire extinguisher maintenance now live

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


About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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