Industry research highlights “significant improvements” in life safety maintenance regimes

Comprehensive research conducted by Hochiki Europe shows improvements in building owners and managers’ knowledge of maintenance requirements for life safety systems. A detailed study of European installers carried out by the life safety solutions manufacturer finds that the number of building owners and managers unaware of the legal requirements surrounding life safety system maintenance has halved. The company’s 2015 research found that two-in-five, or 46%, had no awareness. However, that figure has dropped to one-in-five (ie 22%) in the past 12 months.

The study also shows an increase in the number of customers installers visited who have up-to-date fire detection and emergency lighting logbooks. In 2015, two fifths of customers (40%) failed to have an up-to-date fire detection logbook. This figure now stands at less than a third (30%). The number failing to have an up-to-date emergency lighting logbook has dropped even further, falling from over two thirds (67%) in 2015 to under half (48%) in 2016. 

Despite the improvements in these key areas of maintenance, though, the number of building owners and managers experiencing false alarms shows little change, dropping by just 1% from 29% in 2015 to 28% this time around.

Equally, the number of installers encountering buildings where end user customers had changed the use of their spaces, but failed to adjust their life safety systems accordingly dropped only slightly, reducing from just over half (55%) to exactly half (50%).

More worryingly this year, end users failing to update their system correctly was the most common issue life safety system installers found when visiting customer sites.

The Top Five fire maintenance issues encountered by installers in this latest study were:

*Change of building/room use without correctly altering the fire safety system (50%)

*Inadequate logbook records (44%)

*The original system installer didn’t install the best solution for the environment (40%)

*Detectors need cleaning (33%)

*Detectors need replacing (27%)

The Top Five emergency lighting maintenance issues encountered by installers were:

*Broken/faulty lamps (44%)

*Inadequate logbook records (42%)

*Inadequate emergency lighting signage (39%)

*Batteries not charged in emergency lighting units (35%)

*Inadequate lux levels (25%)

Commenting on the survey results, Tracy Kirk (general manager of sales and marketing for Hochiki Europe) told Risk UK: “Our annual study shows a marked improvement among building owners and managers in both understanding and recognition of the need to meet maintenance requirements. This suggests that, as an industry, our ongoing efforts to educate and train those responsible for maintaining life safety systems is proving successful.”

Kirk continued: “That said, we fully acknowledge there are still some serious gaps that we must continue to address. While these latest survey results are encouraging, we cannot be complacent. Ensuring that the legal requirement for keeping up-to-date logbooks is met, that the correct system is in place and false alarms are reduced are all vital when it comes to making sure that people are safe. We will continue to provide training and information that can help our system installers educate even more building managers and owners on the importance of life safety maintenance and the correct ways in which to carry this out.”

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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