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Can I scale back on fire & security systems to reduce overheads?

At the time of writing this article the UK economy was in turmoil, the Government had just appointed its third Prime Minister, energy prices were still rising and the Ukraine conflict was still affecting supply chains. This combination of events was pushing the UK towards a recession and price rises were affecting all areas of business.

Not surprisingly business owners were looking to reduce overheads to retain profitability. As a result, those with responsibility for fire and security systems may be challenged with the task of suggesting areas where money may be saved in these areas.

Whilst we do not wish to appear to be benefiting from these terrible circumstances, we felt it our duty to remind all building owners of their legal obligations towards fire safety and security.

So, let’s get the must-have legal stuff out of the way before offering our own practical suggestions for ensuring your systems are cost-effective and reliable.

Duty of Care – Protecting Commercial Buildings from Fire

All fire safety equipment must be maintained as it is classed as life safety essential equipment. Furthermore, we have received notifications from insurers that insurance cover could also be invalidated if regular maintenance inspections have not been carried out. In fact, most insurers will be expecting their clients to continue essential maintenance regardless of their financial position.

Your first responsibility under the duty of care regulations is to ensure that your commercial building remains protected at all times by a working fire alarm system that will set off alerts should any fire signals be detected.

In order to comply with the regulations, it means that the maintenance inspections that would be routinely carried out must still be carried out by the Responsible Individual(s) or other competent individual.

These inspections and any faults, if found, must be reported in the fire log book.  Remember, if these faults are found to have contributed to the cause or consequences of a fire, the responsible individual(s) may be found liable and face fines or imprisonment.

If faults are found, Tecserv UK’s advice is to liaise with your fire alarm maintenance provider and the owners of the building to inform them of the fault and decide the safest course of action.

Building Security

Whilst there is no legal obligation to ensure intruder alarms and CCTV and access control systems are installed or indeed working effectively, there could be insurance implications if the terms and conditions stipulate the requirement for such systems. Also, whilst there are probably few ‘life safety’ consequences that will arise from scaling back on maintenance, there are other business risks to be considered which might cost more in the long run.

Buildings create the opportunity for crime, so please also ensure you carry out a full fire and security risk assessment on buildings on a continuous basis. If you have security alarms, access control or CCTV installed, where possible, we recommend you continue to carry out routine maintenance and inspections to keep them in good working order. The theft or damage to a key asset could have untold consequences on your ability to trade and meet customer obligations and may cost more to rectify than has been saved by cutting back.

Cost Saving Ideas

You are probably feeling that there are very few ways to scale back costs in these areas, but you there are some areas to consider which may help save money in the longer term as follows:

  • Ensure systems are regularly maintained as this will help to ensure you do not have to pay for emergency call outs or suffer interruptions to business operations caused by faulty systems.
  • Talk to your maintenance provider to ensure the tariff you are paying is still the best option for your business.
  • Consider leasing equipment so you have a manageable monthly payment and can regularly update equipment to the latest technology to ensure your system is cost efficient and effective.

If Tecserv UK can help with any further advice regarding the installation or maintenance of fire and security alarm systems for your commercial buildings please get in touch.

Colin Milligan

Colin joined Tecserv UK Ltd in 2010. He has been in the fire and security industry for 30 years + and in that time has held a number of senior positions. His experience helps to bring focus and growth to our sales and marketing strategy by being objective driven and KPI measured.

Posted on: 26 October 2022
Posted in: Advice
Author: Colin Milligan