ASSA ABLOY advises industry and practising professionals on fire safety liability

ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland is advising all practising fire safety professionals on the importance of properly certified hardware and training following warnings from experts in fire safety law that they may now be deemed responsible for any breaches.

Liability for fire safety breaches is being increasingly pushed down from building owners and occupiers to those that have been consulted, assessed and advised on the appropriate fire safety solutions for a site. Should these products fail to perform as expected during a given episode then those professionals will be held accountable, and could potentially even be prosecuted.

ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland believes that this issue will be a real game-changer for the industry, with safety and security consultants, architectural ironmongers and merchants all set to be deemed responsible.

Only recently, a representative from leading law firm Russell Cooke LLP cited a growing trend for building owners to hold suppliers responsible for a lack of suitable fire risk assessments and the use of inappropriate materials and products. Back in 2014 – and for the first time ever – a risk assessor was sent to prison for nine months for a breach of Health and Safety rules. It’s abundantly clear, then, that accountability surrounding fire safety will fall to the supply chain more and more in the future.

David Hindle

David Hindle

David Hindle, head of door control sales at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, explained: “We believe this issue will increasingly affect the entire industry. From architectural ironmongers that might be selling product with little or questionable certification through to merchants providing hardware that might not be fit for purpose and consultants potentially not carrying out the right risk assessments for their clients, the liability for fire safety in buildings will fall to professionals in the industry. After all, they should be the experts on this matter.”

Hindle continued: “It’s therefore vital that all of these groups have the right accreditations in place to meet these demands. Relevant schemes include Warrington Certification’s FIRAS Installer Certification, BM TRADA’s Q-Mark Fire Door Installation and the Guild of Architectural Ironmongery’s diploma. It’s also vital that architectural ironmongers, merchants and consultants have a comprehensive understanding of the legislation covering fire safety matters in and around buildings, such as Approved Document B, BS EN 1634 and BS 476. Only by combining this specialist industry knowledge with recognised accreditation can professionals truly hope to advise on and specify the best fire safety products.”

In conclusion, Hindle asserted: “We predict that we’ll be seeing many more instances where professionals will be held accountable for any breaches around fire safety. As a result, it’s critical that those present throughout the supply chain ensure products are certified and that they have the correct training and qualifications to be able to advise their customers on the most appropriate fire safety solutions.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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