Procuring a Fire Protection Specialist

Five important considerations for procurement managers when contracting a fire protection specialist

When it comes to fire protection equipment and systems, it can be challenging for procurement managers of national organisations. Not only do they need to consider the safety regulations in each state and territory, but they also need to ensure the equipment and systems are regularly inspected and maintained so they perform as intended in the event of a fire emergency.

Both legal, safety and ethical elements make it crucial in selecting a fire protection provider that has relevant operational experience, technical expertise, and licences. Without proper credentials, compliance can be compromised and in the event of a fire, lives and property put at risk.

Here are our top 5 considerations managers should take note of.

  • Price versus compliance: With a whole list of regulations to comply with, achieving fire safety compliance can be costly in the short-term. However, when it comes to selecting a fire protection provider, it’s risky to appoint a contractor based on price alone as it can mean compromising compliance and best practice process that can put the business at risk of penalties. Fire safety breaches can also result in indirect costs such as personal liability and damage to a company’s reputation or brand.
  • Consider the legal implications of compliance: When selecting a fire protection company, consider how negligent practices can impact the organisation and the risk that non-compliant fire systems can have on the business. An investigation into a company’s regulatory operations, prosecution, a conviction by settlement or by trial can be very costly in terms of representation and penalties, not to mention causing a huge reputational issue for the business. Cutting compliance is simply not worth the risk and procurement managers are encouraged to review their compliance programs by undertaking a fire safety audit and upgrade their protection process accordingly. Always work with a reputable fire protection company that holds appropriate public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance.
  • Ensure providers are adequately resourced and qualified: with an increasing number of start-up fire protection businesses entering the industry, the challenge for procurement managers when selecting a fire service provider is to ensure these businesses are adequately staffed and hold the appropriate qualifications. While a new wave of start-ups may help to keep the industry competitive and fluid in delivering service to customers, the increasing level of compliance can put small scale fire protection businesses under pressure, causing them to cut corners and in turn, compromise compliance.
  • The importance of visibility: For national organisations with multiple sites, having full visibility around the compliance requirements for each site is very important.  That’s where having a real time online portal to keep track of national compliance requirements for individual sites can ensure nothing is overlooked. Support for ongoing fire safety compliance can be undertaken in conjunction with a preventative maintenance program which is helpful for national clients who have many sites to manage.
  • Fire risk management and mitigation: When it comes to fire risk assessments, companies should not cut corners by failing to address any faults or non-compliance recommendations. Not being compliant puts lives at risk and there are serious implications in the event of a fire emergency if it is proven the company did not have compliant fire safety equipment and systems in place.

As more buildings return to occupancy after being vacant due to COVID-19, there has never been a more important time to ensure fire systems in buildings are compliant. Buildings must continue to be inspected and maintained to ensure they are operating in accordance with their design intent and purpose.

If your business is looking to address fire protection, Wormald has decades of experience in helping building owners, managers and landlords meet their fire safety obligations. For further information contact Wormald on 0800 4 WORMALD.