It is not every day that you get excited about changes to EN standards, but a recent article issued by the Fire Industry Association (FIA) on EN16763 has certainly aroused the interest of everyone here at Tecserv UK.
You see at long last, it appears our industry is awakening to the many problems that can be presented by the fact that presently, anyone can install or maintain a fire alarm system.
Currently in the UK there is no formal qualification for the fire industry. Even worse, one would argue, there are no guidelines or even a baseline of education that is expected. At present some standards are set down under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, but these barely touch the surface, as they merely state that the individual must be ‘competent.’
The flaw however, is that by law, there is no minimum education requirement, and no formal guidelines on what ‘competent’ looks like in each area of the fire industry, particularly in the services sector. This means there is no way of determining the quality of service that a company currently provides prior to purchasing.
Consequently, Tecserv UK has always championed the need for there to be some form of definition of what is meant by ‘competent’ and that this definition be linked to assessment of quality and expertise with accreditations awarded by an independent body.
It has been almost five years in the making, but the new EN16763 ‘Services for Fire Safety and Security Systems’ standard, which has just been published, focuses purely on service delivery.
The article states that the new standard explores every part of the service – from planning, through to design, to commission, installation, and handover to the client. The standard clarifies what should be the expected level of service at each individual stage, bringing a new benchmark of quality to the fore of the fire industry, which we hope will bring about a level playing field.
This standard aims to improve the quality of service delivery by specifying the level of competence, knowledge, and understanding of a company and the individuals employed by that company. The idea is that by having certain service levels specified, it gives buyers greater confidence over what they are purchasing.
Although this new standard isn’t mandatory by law, Tecserv believe it necessary as it effectively aims to prevent companies who do not meet the new standards from being able to operate. We welcome the new standard because it will help to raise the level of professionalism in the industry even higher and give buyers confidence in what they are getting, as well as a better idea of what level of service to expect. EN16763 lays out a Europe-wide benchmark of quality that should be expected and maintained throughout the industry.
All the signs are pointing to the fact that the new standard will become written into the BAFE certification schemes. If BAFE and the Certification Bodies do adopt this standard then the Certification Bodies will have to visit and inspect the business in order to assess and award the certification.
Commenting, Tecserv UK Sales Director Colin Milligan said, “When you are responsible for installing or maintaining a fire alarm system you are doing so to protect people, processes and property. In 2017, it really isn’t acceptable that people that have not been independently accredited to a certain level of expertise are allowed to potentially put lives at risk.”
Although formal accreditation is not yet a legal requirement for all companies that provide fire protection systems and advice, at Tecserv UK we believe it should be and are fully committed to having all the relevant accreditations we need to ensure our customers have peace of mind.