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Lessons still not being learned when it comes to Fire Safety

Dean Bradford is one of the Contracts Managers for Mila Maintenance and Installation and has a particular interest in the installation of fire safety measures. Having attended BM Trada training courses, he is the company’s appointed specialist when it comes to the installation of fire doors and believes post Grenfell that lessons are still not being learned.

It is really staggering, but even after what has happened there are still those who are putting their head in the sand when in comes to fire safety measures. Mila Maintenance and Installation is an accredited specialist company when it comes to the installation of fire doors, but fire doors only – not fire stops, not other fire prevention measures, just fire doors.

But that doesn’t seem to matter, we are regularly asked if we would take on the installation of other fire prevention works, and we know that other companies who are specialists in for example installing fire stops, are being asked if they can arrange the installation of fire doors.

I can only ask myself, when are the lessons going to be learned? If not now, then when?

Our response to such requests is a polite but firm ‘no’. We are specialists when it comes to installing fire doors and are fully accredited to do so, we won’t touch anything outside that.

But I know for a fact that there are companies involved in other elements of installing fire prevention measures who are taking on full packages and then sub-contracting certain elements – often the installation of doors – to general installers or contractors who are simply not trained or accredited to carry out the works.

It is irresponsible in the extreme and there are no real excuses.

I accept that many landlords struggle for resource, and for specialist knowledge. I also recognise they are under intense pressure to act where fire prevention upgrades are required, especially to address resident concerns. But the approach some bodies are taking is simply storing up trouble for the future. Acting quickly is important, but all landlords have a responsibility to act correctly and a duty to make the right decisions.

There is enough information available now to help those appointing contractors to know who is and who is not qualified to deliver the individual specialist services required, and by now everybody should know that there are no ‘one-stop shops’. I don’t have a problem with anybody being appointed to oversee a full package of fire prevention measures, but it must be on the basis that they can only use specialist accredited companies for each of the individual measures needed.

As a company we take our responsibility very seriously, and so do many others, but there are still some who simply don’t get it when it comes to understanding their duty of care obligations.

I can only urge everybody involved in the installation of fire prevention measures to act in a wholly responsible manner, and as a group of organisations who are specialists in this field we should all share our knowledge, and work together to deliver fit for purpose solutions.

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