“Who watches the watchers?” The pertinent question asked by Inside Housing’s headline article today.
We’ve been asking these questions for a long time.
Back in April we warned our clients about the dangers of using unregistered fire risk assessors. It may be legal, but it isn’t safe.
Since 2005, when responsibility for risk-assessing was moved away from the fire brigade, it has been entirely up to building owners to decide who is qualified to assess their blocks. There is no competency requirement in law for fire risk assessors. This has created a regulatory void where anyone can put themselves forward as an assessor, without any legal requirement to have qualifications or experience.
The concerning new trend of unregistered risk assessors was the subject of a previous blog where I gave guidance on how to check assessor’s registration status and qualifications.
Now important research published in Inside Housing echoes our concerns on the disturbing reality of the situation. Many housing providers are still unclear on how to choose a fire risk assessor and how to make sure they get accurate advice.
This obviously has serious implications for fire safety. Understanding the factors that contribute to fire risk in in a building is technical and complex. You need an expert to validate your building as safe. If they get it wrong, lives are at risk.
Housing providers may also end up spending money they don’t need to if assessors don’t fully understand the environment. Money that, in social housing, could go a long way elsewhere.
If you need help choosing a fire risk assessor and or knowing what qualifications to look for, look no further. You can read our earlier advice or, as always, contact Caldiston for support.