Emergency Lights are a vital component of your commercial Fire Safety System and, without proper installation and maintenance, you could be jailed or fined.
It's that simple.
This means it is absolutely vital to choose the right person for the job.
Did you know that, if a fireman enjoys DIY and decides to pursue the commercial installation of Emergency Lights, there's no formal qualification requirement to stop him from doing so.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states only that the individual must be 'competent'... but there's no law to define what competent is!
However, there are specific British Standards that need to be adhered to. If you hire a fireman to install your Emergency Lights and he doesn't conform to these standards, would you be able to identify his critical errors?
This Essex School certainly weren't able to...
Simon Blake, our Emergency Lighting Manager, designed a system for a school in North Essex that had neglected fire safety for some time.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of work needed to be done to bring fire safety up to the required standard.
The school asked for time to ponder on the quote and, in the meantime, looked elsewhere. They found a fireman who quoted only £7,000. With all the financial pressures being endured by schools in the current economic climate, they chose the less expensive option offered by the fireman.
Shortly after, Simon got a call from the Responsible Person, concerned that their Emergency Lights weren't up to scratch.
Sadly, on inspection, the entire job was completely unsatisfactory. The Emergency Lights wouldn’t even come on when the power was cut! The system didn't comply with the law and it was a complete waste of money.
Now imagine the worst. What would happen if staff and pupils were stranded in a dark school during a fire, with no way to see an escape route...
When the Responsible Person tried to get in touch with the fireman to explain himself, he didn’t answer the phone or reply to emails and, without accreditation like NSI Gold, had no higher authority to answer to! The school also discovered that he wasn't even a qualified electrician! Clearly, the wrong choice of installer…
The entire job would need to be started again from scratch by an experienced and accredited installer at the price required to complete the job to comply with the law. This means the whole Emergency Lighting ordeal will cost the school a total of £21,000 - plus all the additional upheaval and stress of having the work done for a second time.
There are two morals to this story. The first being:
Don’t be tempted by the cheap quote! A short term saving seems appealing, but could end up costing you more when the professionals have to fix the botched job!
ALWAYS choose an accredited installer! Not only is it an insurance risk to have unaccredited contractors working in your premises, you could potentially end up with a system that doesn't meet legislation AND could land you in jail if the worst should happen - something that would never happen with an accredited installer.
Unfortunately, this isn't the only fire safety horror story that we have to tell - click the image below to read our entire collection and find out how Blake's came to the rescue.