Following the tragedy at Grenfell, Fire Risk Assessment is on everyone’s mind and at the top of the safety agenda. So how do we find the right fire risk assessor?

This month, Inside Housing posed a vital question in its article entitled Spot the Difference: the block of flats with two fire risk assessments. Two assessments, two assessors, two very different reports. So what should clients be looking for in a competent fire risk assessor?

Anyone can offer a fire risk assessment service and it is up to us to decide what is acceptable.

Caldiston is often asked what we consider to be the minimum level of competence and there is no easy answer. What we need is the right mix of qualification and accreditation with direct experience of the social housing sector.

Qualification first then: The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) provide accreditation for members who can demonstrate their competence. So choosing an IFE Member who is a Registered Fire Risk Assessor provides you with someone who has demonstrated a minimum level of competence.  To stay on the register, members are required to operate to a code of conduct and demonstrate professional development. IFE registered assessors would be expected to have a Level 3 or 4 qualification in fire safety.

Experience: Our sector is unique. There are so many considerations that an assessor familair with other types of industry would not recognise. Understanding the requirements for common parts, resident behaviour and what we can only influence rather than control. Add to that more complex schemes with vulnerable populations, scooters, resident get-togethers, shared kitchens and Christmas decorations.  Knowledge of what we do and how we protect people whilst still providing a home is key to success. That is why Caldiston believe that only assessors with sector training and experience will do.

Fortunately the IFE do offer courses for assessors who work in social housing so its not a question of limiting clients to a small choice of assessors. And we can all be proactive in helping people get the experience they need by working with fire risk assessment providers.

Anyone who wants more information about fire risk assessment, finding the right assessor or advice about fire safety should contact Caldiston by e mailing

The Inside Housing article is here


Lisa McCaulder

Author Lisa McCaulder

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