FIRAS Certification Explained
What is third-party installer certification?
Third-party certification provides added assurance when you source fire safety products or appoint the installers which fit them. It provides confidence that your suppliers are independently verified, regularly audited/certified, and competent to undertake the necessary work. The installation contractors are working to technical schedules and best practices.
What is FIRAS certification?
FIRAS certification has been established for many years and is well recognized in the fire industry.
FIRAS is a membership-based installer self-certification scheme. FIRAS assesses companies' systems and procedures, and individual installers must undertake competence assessments before the company joins the scheme. Once certified, installer companies are required to undertake work strictly per the scheme's requirements and, after that, can self-issue certificates of conformity for installation work provided that specific criteria are met and provided that the member company has adequately registered the project with FIRAS. It is an essential safeguard that only installations supported by test evidence are certifiable under the FIRAS scheme.
Who does FIRAS certification relate to?
It is important to note that FIRAS certification relates to the member company, not the company's work on an individual project. A company can join the FIRAS certification scheme by demonstrating the required competence in their field, verified by sample audits of selected projects. Not all projects are audited, and on the sample projects, only a selection of the work undertaken by the member company can be reviewed at a snapshot in time.
It is not Warringtonfire's role to inspect a member company's work on all projects undertaken or to act as a supervisor or clerk of works for the member company's customer.
A member company is responsible for its own work and is required to maintain sufficient records to verify that the whole of the system they have installed is compliant with the scheme standards so that these can be reviewed if the project is selected for audit. Membership of the scheme is not a guarantee that the work is correct in all instances or a warranty to third parties who employ FIRAS-registered companies; the outcome remains the sole responsibility of the member company. FIRAS membership demonstrates that the member company can achieve the scheme requirements. However, it is still up to the company to ensure that it reaches those standards before it self-certifies the work.
Recording Projects Within FIRAS Maintenance Suite
The recording of a project on a member company's portal within the FIRAS Maintenance Suite notifies the member company's allocated inspector of the planned works, which enables the inspector to carry out a sample surveillance audit of the ongoing work if that project is selected from the portfolio of work undertaken by the member.
A project recorded on the FIRAS system is referred to as a 'Contract in Hand', which on completion of the planned works enables the member company to generate a FIRAS Certificate of Conformity, which they can then provide to their client. If during a surveillance audit, a non-conformance is raised. In that case, a 'Contract in Hand' will be placed on hold, which prohibits the company from generating a Certificate of Conformity until satisfactory corrective action is established.
If a member company fails to record a project as a 'Contract in Hand', the project would not be certifiable under the FIRAS scheme. In addition, FIRAS would investigate the matter.
It is advisable for any client contracting a FIRAS member company to undertake work that they request confirmation that a 'Contract in Hand' is recorded on the FIRAS Maintenance Suite before the commencement of work.
The Warringtonfire FIRA certification scheme holds UKAS accreditation. Contact our experts to learn more.