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Competency based qualifications have become the talking point of the fire safety sector over the last few months. With the publication of the Hackitt Review this has become more apparent with a clear recommendation to support the strengthening of the competence of those involved in all aspects of building work.


In the report, Building a Safer Future – Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (May 2018), Dame Judith Hackitt commented that there is a ‘lack of a coherent approach to competence levels and experience required - or professional qualifications where these may be necessary – and how these qualifications and experience should be evidenced so that they are clearly understood by all those operating within the system.’


The subsequent ‘Setting the Bar - A new competence regime for building a safer future’ report by the Competence Steering Group published a recommendation to “apply stringent assessment of individuals”. It stressed “for individuals whose work materially affects safety, or who work unsupervised, compliance needs to be demonstrated by independent, third party assessment. All others working on higher-risk buildings should be supervised by individuals who have been third party assessed as competent to carry out the work and to act as supervisors.”


The key messaging from both reports can be deciphered as a message to individuals (and organisations) that believe they are already capable of particular skills without providing any suitable evidence of competency to deliver that service.
FireQual understands that, as part of this culture change, there is a need for individuals to have access to robust and fit for purpose qualifications providing developmental progression pathways within the fire safety industry.


With FireQual’s first qualifications now available within Scotland, a suite of qualifications is being built that supports individuals to develop the behaviours, knowledge, and skills to work within all areas and levels within the fire safety and related sectors. Our qualifications currently support those working within the fire detection and alarm sector, Fire Risk Assessors and Fire Safety Officers. Already in development, we will also soon support those within the fire door and domestic sprinkler and water mist system sectors.


Within the safety industry, there are many training programmes and qualifications available that fall under ‘self-regulation’, meaning these may not have been suitably reviewed by an appropriate independent body. This does not mean certain training available is not delivered to a high-quality standard, but FireQual will only provide qualifications that sit within the national qualification regulatory system and on the SCQF. This is an important factor to consider, as qualifications are set to fall under far greater scrutiny in the upcoming years.


Recognising the different complexities and levels of responsibilities within the fire safety sector and the difficulties in navigating the training environment, FireQual’s use of the SCQF aims to provide guidance so that individuals and employers can select the most appropriate qualification to meet their needs. Firequal currently has nine programmes credit rated on to the SCQF at levels 6, 7 and 8.

Qualification Title Credit Value
FireQual Award in Fundamentals of the Recommendations for Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems in Domestic Buildings at SCQF Level 6 1
FireQual Award in Fundamentals of the Recommendations for Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems in Non-Domestic Buildings at SCQF Level 6 4
FireQual Award in Fire Detection and Alarm Commissioning Theory and Regulatory Requirements at SCQF Level 6 9
FireQual Award in Fire Detection and Alarm Design Theory and Regulatory Requirements at SCQF Level 6 12
FireQual Award in Fire Detection and Alarm Installation Theory and Regulatory Requirements at SCQF Level 6 9
FireQual Award in Fire Detection and Alarm Maintenance Theory and Regulatory Requirements at SCQF Level 6 9
FireQual Certificate in Fire Safety Enforcement Officers (Scotland) at SCQF Level 7 15
FireQual Diploma in Fire Safety Enforcement Officers (Scotland) at SCQF Level 8 40
FireQual Certificate in Fire Risk Assessment at SCQF Level 7 24

Further information on FireQual and qualifications available can be found at www.firequal.com 

Nic Preston

About the author

Nic Preston

Director of Qualifications, FireQual

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