Andrew Blackwell | Project Manager
What is FIRAS Certification?
By Andrew Blackwell
FIRAS is a third-party certification scheme for businesses that install passive and active fire protection solutions.
The FIRAS Certification was established in 1994 and has since been instrumental in consistently improving fire products and systems, as well as installations. This offers a great deal of benefit to both those in the construction industry and their clients alike.
As part of the FIRAS programmes, certified companies are expected to employ, either permanently or on a contract basis, highly competent supervisors and technicians, also known as operators. FIRAS inspectors must then assess the practical and technical expertise of these operators in whichever discipline the certification is held.
A register of competent operators (we’ll cover this further later) is retained for certificated companies, which is always under review to ensure that each company continues to maintain a competent workforce and their skills remain consistently aligned and relevant to what their employer provides.
FIRAS Certified companies are also subject to an annual audit of their office systems by a FIRAS inspector to ensure their operation remains compliant with the scheme throughout.
How Are FIRAS Installation Contracting Companies Certified?
In order to gain a FIRAS Certification, contractors must undertake a three-stage assessment, and only once the applicant has successfully satisfied these criteria, is the certification granted:
- Stage One: Assessment of office management systems.
- Stage Two: Assessment of onsite workmanship for each trade discipline in which certification is sought.
- Stage Three: Competence assessment of all installation and supervisory employees.
Each FIRAS site inspector will have extensive experience in the technical and practical aspects of fire protection. And all certification requirements have been developed in conjunction with a number of UK trade associations to ensure accuracy and safety, including:
- Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) – Passive fire protection of building structural steel frame, penetration seals (fire stopping) and cavity barriers.
- British Woodworking Federation (BWF) – Timber fire doors.
- Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF) – Fire-rated glazed screens.
- Door & Hardware Federation (DHF) – Steel fire doors and hardware.
- British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) – Residential, domestic, commercial and industrial sprinkler systems.
- XACT – Residential, domestic sprinkler design and installation training.
As we’ve already touched upon, FIRAS certified contractors are subject to an annual office audit, but they should also expect random surveillance and site inspections, where the competence and workmanship of the installation team will be assessed.
In addition to this, any contractors certified under the residential and domestic sprinkler scheme for installers will also have their designs arbitrarily inspected in conjunction with the appropriate standards of that particular scheme.
All FIRAS certified contractors must log ‘contracts in hand’ on the FIRAS online database. From here, a ‘Certificate of Conformity (Compliance)’ for all completed works will then be issued from the database.
These certifications are not granted to the individual, but rather the contracting company. Should an individual wish to claim a certification, a separate application must be made.
The FIRAS Register
The FIRAS Register comprises of the details of each certified company and each certified operator of fire protection systems in accordance with the FIRAS Schemes.
Each FIRAS Certified company must continue to demonstrate compliance with typical industry standards and material/product manufacturer installation instructions at all times. This is to reassure their clients that the fire protection installations are up to specification and will offer precisely the fire protection the client expects and requires.
What Do We Do?
At FireArrest, our innovative fire stopping app is designed to offer a collaborative, intuitive and efficient way to manage passive fire protection projects. We’ve worked with a range of professionals from the industry to bring together something that is both simple to use and incredibly cost-effective for our customers.
In the next few months, we’ll be launching the FireArrest Certified Partner Programme. Each partner will be given priority app access and exclusive training to ensure they can get the most from our software. We’ll be giving out more details in the coming months, so keep an eye across our social channels for more info!
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