My Department has liaised with Tusla to answer this question. Tusla is the independent statutory regulator of early learning and care and school age childcare services in Ireland. In performing its regulatory function, its actions include responding to breaches of regulations while respecting fair procedures and natural justice.
The suitability and safety of premises is a key concern in the assessment of quality provision for children in early learning and care settings. Section 58G of the Child Care Act, 1991 (as amended by Part 12 of the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013) places an onus on the providers of early years services to ensure that they take all reasonable measures to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of children. In August 2019, Tusla issued guidance for the registered providers of early years services on the fire and planning requirements for the re-registration and change in circumstances process, which is available for download on the Tusla website. As stated in this guidance, the guidance reflects the following definition of a competent person for the purposes of a fire risk assessment: “A person is deemed to be a competent person where, having regard to the task he or she is required to perform and taking account of the size and/or complexity of the building or works, the person possesses sufficient training, experience and knowledge appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken”.
The guidance specifies that competent persons for the purpose of fire safety assessments are:
(a) Architects that are on the register maintained by the RIAI under Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007; or
(b) Building Surveyors that are on the register maintained by the SCSI under Part 5 of the Building Control Act 2007; or
(c) Chartered Engineers on the register maintained by Engineers Ireland under section 7 of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (Charter Amendment) Act 1969.
In developing this guidance Tusla worked in collaboration with the Association of Chief Fire Officers in Ireland and all of the definitions and content contained therein were approved prior to publication as relevant and up to date. These definitions are reviewed on an on-going basis by Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate, in liaison with the fire representative body, and subject to amendment, in line with statutory requirements, should it be considered appropriate to do so.
In relation to fire safety audits, fire safety legislation and compliance with it comes under the remit of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The Tusla Early Years Inspectorate liaises with Local Authority fire services where appropriate.