BAFE SP203 required Qualifications
FD&A Qualifications, FireQual, BAFE, and the route to take.
The FIA offers 6 Fire Detection & Alarm (FD&A) Qualifications through the awarding organisation FireQual.
All the FD&A Qualifications the FIA offer cover the requirements for SP203-1 Scheme V8 due to start on the 1st of November 2023 part of which includes the requirement for engineers to have a regulated qualification in BS 5839-1 with the relevant content at a Level 3 or higher. All completed Qualifications mentioned below are SCQF Level 6 which is recognised as a level 3 equivalent and accepted by BAFE under new requirements, more details on BAFE, Firequal and the Qualifcations Levels can be found under Futher Information at the bottom of the page.
Below is a description of the qualifications and an explanation of how to decide which one is right for you.
- Fundamentals BS 5839-1
FireQual Award Fundamentals of the Recommendations for Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems in Non-Domestic Buildings at SCQF Level 6
- Fundamentals BS 5839-6
FireQual Award Fundamentals of the Recommendations for Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems in Domestic Buildings at SCQF Level 6
Advanced FD&A Qualifications (4 separate Qualifications)
FireQual Award in Fire Detection and Alarm Installation Theory and Regulatory Requirements at SCQF Level 6
FireQual Award in Fire Detection and Alarm Maintenance Theory and Regulatory Requirements at SCQF Level 6
FireQual Award in Fire Detection and Alarm Commissioning Theory and Regulatory Requirements at SCQF Level 6
FireQual Award in Fire Detection and Alarm Design Theory and Regulatory Requirements at SCQF Level 6
Choosing the right path
Two pivotal questions determine the suitable path for a delegate.
1: What experience do they have? Assess the delegate’s experience level.
2: What’s the end goal? Define the desired Qualification.
Depending on the answers, this will decide where they start. Below are some examples to help you decide.
For those with less than 1 year of experience.
We would recommend they start with the FIA Access course, it’s a course for beginners and gives them background knowledge - it is neither required nor linked to the Qualifications. After they should then proceed on to the Fundamental Qualifications.
For those with up to 2 years of experience.
After completing BS 5839-1 Fundamentals, they have the option of taking BS 5839-6 or moving straight to the Advanced Qualifications. Once the delegate has taken and passed Fundamentals, they can now be booked onto the Fundamentals to Advanced course.
For those with more than 2 years of experience but are unsure of which Qualification to take.
For those with more than 2 years experience but do not require an Advanced Qualification.
We would recommend as a minimum they complete and pass the BS 5839-1 Fundamentals Unit 1 and Unit 2. This satisfies the BAFE requirements and keeps the door open for future progression within FIA training.
The comprehensive FD&A Qualifications offered by the FIA through FireQual are designed to meet the current and upcoming requirements of the fire safety sector. With options ranging from fundamentals to advanced levels, these qualifications are tailored to suit various experience levels and professional needs. They are accredited, recognised across the United Kingdom, and aligned with the SP203-1 Scheme V8 due to begin on November 1, 2023.
With the imperative to stay ahead in the ever-evolving field of fire safety, these courses are not merely an option but a necessity. Choosing the right qualification can ensure a thorough understanding of fire detection and alarm systems, bolstering your competency and credibility in the industry. Visit the FIA website to review the detailed flow diagrams and embark on a pathway that’s right for you. Time is of the essence; secure your place now.
Any FIA FD&A courses taken prior to 2018 are not considered when booking the above courses and they will have to start by following the process above.
The diagram at https://www.fia.uk.com/training/qualifications.html shows the advanced route.
The small flow diagrams at https://www.fia.uk.com/training/fundamental-qualifications.html show how conversion works for those who took Foundation.
Who are FireQual?
The specialist Awarding Organisation for the fire sector - providing nationally recognised Regulated Qualifications.
FireQual’s nationally recognised regulated qualifications ascertain the knowledge and skills behind performing specialist fire safety works. Their qualifications help measure an individual’s ability to work in the fire safety sector, with their knowledge and skills being core components of demonstrating individual competence.
All FireQual qualifications are developed to ensure that they are the best measure of an individual’s knowledge and skills for specialist fire and wider life safety disciplines. FireQual’s development team collaborates with industry experts to provide qualifications that are consistent and thorough with the current needs of the industry.
FireQual Regulated Qualifications are accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). FireQual Regulated Qualifications are recognised across the United Kingdom. UK Regulators have published a chart to demonstrate how Qualifications can cross boundaries.
For clarification, SCQF Level 6 (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework) is equivalent to RQF Level 3 (Regulated Qualification Framework) in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Course Pathways and Length
- Foundation (2 days)
Once passed they can then take in any order the following courses:
- Environmental (1 day) (compulsory)
- Health & Safety (1 day) unless they have an ECS card or other recognised certification accepted by the exam body (compulsory)
And their choice of advanced course:
- Installer (2 Days)
- Maintainer (2 Days)
- Commissioner (2 Days)
- Designer (5 Day course split into 2 Day & 3 day Courses)
An Advanced Qualification is achieved once the 4 courses and associated exams are completed successfully.
*Main Advanced Course*
Fundamentals to Advanced 1 day
Conversion Course 2 days
BAFE SP203-1 Scheme Version 8 update
BAFE have released a new version of the scheme document for SP203-1 which is version 8. This comes into effect on the 1st of November 2023. For companies thinking about 3rd party certification, or are part way through the process and need assistance, then the FIA offers the Route To Certification Package and further information can be found at https://www.fia.uk.com/membership/third-party-certification/let-us-help-you-achieve-third-party-certification.html.
Companies who already hold the BAFE SP203-1 certification have from the 1st of November 2023 until their next surveillance/certification audit to put the required changes in place.
A summary of the changes are:
- BAFE SP203-1 scope reviewed to clarify focus on works performed on fire detection and fire alarm systems in non-domestic premises to BS 5839-1.
- Additional scope available for works performed on fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises (Grade A systems only) to BS 5839-6.
- Management system procedures and records reviewed to ensure required actions are performed and documented appropriately.
- Management system now has a heightened focus on appropriate behaviours (i.e. following a strong safety culture, always working to scheme requirements).
- Clarification of operational locations and criteria that shall be followed to meet BAFE SP203‑1 criteria.
- Introduction of nominated Lead Individual(s) for each module who have overall responsibility for all work(s)
- and a greater focus on individual/employee competence.
- Clarification of use of sub-contractors to protect end clients (note: this justified the removal of previous annex
- available “Rules for remote UK islands and crown dependencies where no certificated organisations exist”).
- Clarification of certificate issuing.
- Updated Model certificates.
The revised Scheme document does not cover BS 5839-6 Grade C, D or F fire detection and fire alarm systems but only BS 5839-6 Grade A fire detection and fire alarm systems. This does not limit companies providing these works, but they cannot be signed off as compliant to SP203-1.
The newly revised scheme document introduces for the first time the requirement for certain people within the organisation to hold a regulated qualification. Each of the following new lead persons will be required to hold a Level 3 qualification and have evidence of CPD/ongoing training.
Lead Individual (New) – The nominated individual(s) employed by the certified company with heightened responsibilities for work(s) meeting the relevant requirements of the BAFE Competency Scheme and assigned authority to supervise and/or undertake the process relevant to specific work(s).
Lead Designer – (previously known as the Named or Nominated Designer) – The nominated individual(s) employed by the certified company with heightened responsibilities for design work meeting the requirements of the relevant BAFE Competency Scheme and assigned authority to supervise and/or undertake the process relevant to design work.
Lead Installation Engineer (New) - The nominated individual(s) employed by the certified company with heightened responsibilities for installation work meeting the requirements of the relevant BAFE Competency Scheme and assigned authority to supervise and/or undertake the process relevant to installation work.
Lead Commissioning Engineer (New) - The nominated individual(s) employed by the certified company with heightened responsibilities for commissioning/handover work meeting the requirements of the relevant BAFE Competency Scheme and assigned authority to supervise and/or undertake the process relevant to commissioning/handover work.
Lead Maintenance Engineer (New) - The nominated individual(s) employed by the certified company with heightened responsibilities for maintenance work meeting the requirements of the relevant BAFE Competency Scheme and assigned authority to supervise and/or undertake the process relevant to maintenance work.
The revised scheme document also creates a new primary contact.
Primary Contact (New) – The nominated person appointed by the certified company to have responsibility for compliance with the BAFE Competency Scheme.
Note that in a small or sole trader company setup, these roles can all be the same person.
For training, under the requirements of the new competency and evidence of Level 3 certification for engineers, existing certificated companies have 24 months from 1 Nov 23, to ensure engineers hold the necessary nationally recognised regulated qualification levels for the design, install, commissioning & maintenance of fire alarms systems, as applicable.
BAFE have confirmed that the FIA’s Units 1 and 2 Fundamentals training meets the criteria for the demonstration of competency levels on successfully passing the course. https://www.fia.uk.com/course/fundamentals-in-fd-a-unit-1---2--4-days-.html
As well as the 4 advanced qualifications each for their individual roles.
Sub Contractors – Clause 15 – Clause 15.4 now clearly explains the only permissible exception for a certified company to use a non BAFE certified company is for the installation module only, however, that company/sole trader must be a NICEIC Approved Contractor, hold NAPIT EAS membership or an equivalent 3rd party certification.
Change of Registration Details – due to the creation of the new lead roles under Clause 18.2 if there are changes of any of these personnel, as their competence forms part of the certification audit the certificated organisation must inform their certification body of such changes within 30 days of it taking place.