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Instinctively, I feel that using a third party


accredited installer for my fire alarm system should give me the confidence of competence, but I would also assume that it would minimise the chances of false alarm. So why is that important? As far as I can


ascertain, over the past five years the number of false alarms attended by FRSs in England has held steady at 150,000 a year. This equates to 400 every day, and four in the time that you are reading this! That is of course totally unacceptable and is probably unsustainable at a time when the budgets of FRSs, along with those of all public services, are coming under increasing pressures. I have sat on the Building Regulations Advisory


Committee (BRAC) review group for Approved Document B of the Building Regulations (ADB) for more than 15 years – the reviews have been so infrequent that we haven’t had that much to do! But please be assured BRAC reacts well to strong evidence, and I am sure that without too much effort you could commission a meaningful research project that could put this to bed with BRAC.


Should the evidence be strong enough,


I would go one step further and present it to the Treasury – imagine offering a solution that could reduce FRS callouts by 75,000 or 100,000 a year. It would be irresistible and we could then have a model in fire dictated by


the centre, which looks very similar to the police model for intruder detection systems.


Pushing at an open door


I am convinced that with mandatory third party certification, we are pushing at an open door; we have urged BAFE to explore the options for an insured scheme. That will take time to establish, but in truth any conclusion to the current building regulations review is likely to be two to three years away – at least. In the meantime, we are trying to encourage the Home Office, as the guardians of both the FSO and MHCLG – the government department responsible for the building regulations – to introduce a statutory defence for anyone using a third party certificated supplier of goods or services including fire risk assessments. Clearly, this is not as powerful as it being


mandatory, but it is my understanding that this approach could be introduced immediately and could apply to both the FSO and the building regulations alike. If adopted, it could be a very powerful tool indeed. It could save lives as well as homes, businesses and schools. And it could do this now


Jonathan O’Neill is managing director of the FPA. For more information, view page 5


8 MAY 2019 www.frmjournal.com


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