RICS launches fire safety capacity training

RICS is introducing a course to help chartered building and building control surveyors further progress their knowledge in fire safety. The organisation is set to launch the new training programme, in January 2021, with the course projected to take up to eight weeks. Surveyors can complete the course created to help speed up the assessment of properties covered by the government’s guidance on the fire safety of buildings with external cladding systems.

The programme is being launched following the recent government announcement and ahead of the Fire Safety Bill, which is set to receive Royal Assent in 2021, to increase the number of professionals who will be required to complete future mandatory fire safety checks.

This increased capacity will help speed up the assessment of properties necessary to ensure valuers can give appropriate advice to purchasers and lenders and so reduce delays in transactions involving properties covered by the government’s guidance.

The training programme is designed for chartered building and building control surveyors who already have a base knowledge to undertake external wall system assessments for low to medium risk residential buildings; increasing the number of professionals to support the current market demand. Buildings over 18m or those which require specialist testing will still require a qualified fire safety engineer.

  • The course is designed to ensure professionals can:
  • Identify and interpret effective information required for inspections from stakeholders
  • Undertake the inspection process and intrusive inspection processes
  • Assess an external wall system including the materials, construction and their fire safety performance
  • Understand the fire risk presented by external wall materials and systems
  • Define the scope of work effectively through contracts and terms of engagement when taking instructions
  • Identify the legal framework and key standards affecting fire safety, and legal liability
  • Prepare a comprehensive report with recommendations

Sean Tompkins, RICS’ CEO, said: “We recognise the acute market shortage of fire engineers to carry out assessments and welcome the government’s support to upskilling other regulated professions, such as Chartered Surveyors, to create additional capacity in the market.” RICS will also work with the government and industry to address the ongoing concerns about the availability of professional indemnity insurance (PII) which it says will be an essential element to deliver the number of trained professionals across the UK.