Fire Risk Assessor Your Complete Guide For Selection

image showing fire risk assessor examining a fire hose reel


Employers and other responsible persons must ensure that there is a competent fire risk assessment undertaken for non-domestic premises under their control. The assessor can be an in-house staff member or an external contractor, but whoever undertakes the assessment must have suitable knowledge, skills and experience.

In most major fire tragedies in the last decade there has been a focus on the qualifications and experience of the assessor and, where applicable, the adequacy of the selection process operated by the client when choosing an external consultant.

Competency – In General

A person is regarded as competent where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them to properly implement their role.

In the case of simple premises, e.g. where the fire risk assessor might be an employee of the occupier, it is possible that their attributes might be sufficient in conjunction with a study of suitable guidance documents. Even in such a simple premises, the fire risk assessor will need:

  • an understanding of relevant current best fire safety practices in premises of the type in question
  • an awareness of the limitations of their own experience and knowledge
  • a willingness and ability to supplement existing experience and knowledge, when necessary, by obtaining external help and advice.

Complex premises will require a higher level of knowledge, understanding and experience on the part of the fire risk assessor. For such premises, there will be a need for the specific applied knowledge and skills of an appropriately qualified specialist. In such cases, evidence of specialist training and experience, membership of a professional body, or certification by a third party certification body, may assist in demonstrating competence. Other than in simple low risk premises, fire risk assessors, particularly those offering their services on a commercial basis, need an appropriate knowledge of:

  • the assessment of risk from fire
  • applicable legislation
  • appropriate guidance
  • behaviour of fire in premises
  • effects of fire on people and behaviour of people in fire situations
  • means of escape
  • fire prevention
  • fire protection (includes passive and active)
  • management of fire safety

Competence does not necessarily depend on the possession of specific qualifications, although such qualifications might contribute to the demonstration of competence. Knowledge can be obtained by academic study, training, working alongside others, short courses, continuing professional development or any combination of these.

high rise residential building which will be the type of building covered in the draft building safety billCompetency for High-Risk Buildings

In November 2020, in direct response to the Grenfell tragedy, the Fire Sector Federation (FSF) published a Code of Practice that details the defined level of competency appropriate for fire risk assessors who work on high-risk buildings such as residential tower blocks, hospitals, student accommodation, schools and other life safety critical buildings.

Accredited third party certification (ATPC) is regarded by the FSF as essential for fire risk assessors working on high-risk buildings.

Competence of fire risk assessors can be assured by:

  • certification of the individual fire risk assessor
  • through a company providing fire risk assessments under a third party certification scheme accredited by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS)
  • by registration of the fire risk assessor by a Professional Engineering Institution that is licensed by the Engineering Council.

In all cases, a fire risk assessor working on high-risk buildings should be registered with a professional body which has responsibility for maintaining ATPC compliance. Registers of persons or companies that are certificated or registered should be easily accessible to the public.

Registers for Fire Risk Assessor

Third party certification schemes are not legally required for assessors, but using those which have this certification provides a high degree of protection for their clients by giving the reassurance that they are deemed competent. Given the status of the FSF guidance, when selecting a fire risk assessor for a high-risk building it is strongly advised to check for a current registration with ATPC and to check the detail of that registration for evidence of competency to work on the class of building for which you require an assessment.

ATPC provides peace of mind that suppliers have been independently verified, are regularly audited or certified and are competent to undertake the work needed. It also assures they are working to relevant standards and best practice.

Schemes are defined, administered and audited between professional trade bodies and experienced regulatory bodies such as UKAS and Ofqual. The regulatory body (or third party) monitors the robustness, relevance and validity or each scheme and will amend or update parameters as required.

For further information on third party accreditation check out the following article from the Fire Protection Association (FPA)

Registers of Approved Fire Risk Assessors

The Institute of Fire Engineers –

The Institute of Fire Safety Managers –

Fire Risk Assessors Certification Scheme –

BAFE Fire Safety Register –

The Institute of Fire Prevention Officers –

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Your Selection Process for a Fire Risk Assessor

Consider the following during the selection process:

  • Ensure that the scope of the work is agreed in writing.
  • Choose companies who appear on a register.
  • Obtain alternative quotes based on the scope of works.
  • Ask for details of experience undertaking fire risk assessments for your kind of business and premises, and for applicable referee contact details.
  • Follow up references; ask these clients if they were satisfied and if any problems were later identified which were not raised by the assessor.
  • Ask for proof that the assessor has sufficient professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance.
  • Assure yourself that the assessor is impartial and if they are part of a firm, that there is access to a complaints procedure if necessary.
  • Ensure you keep records of the steps you took in selecting your fire risk assessor.
  • Ensure that you provide the assessor with access to all areas of the premises and with all relevant information.

How Can We Help?

If you are looking for a fire risk assessor to carry out a fire risk assessment get in touch. Our assessor is on the register of the Institute of Fire Engineers.


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