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Who is the ‘responsible person’?

 

Fire safety technology – such as smoke control systems – is designed to save lives and protect property in a fire. The Regulatory Reform (2005) Fire Order, often known as the RRO, governs the legal responsibility to ensure these systems are suitably maintained in order to do their job properly if and when called upon.

The RRO lays the obligation for ensuring this maintenance takes place at the feet of someone it describes as the ‘responsible person’ – someone who will end up heavily fined or even in jail if the legislation isn’t given its due regard.

But who is this ‘responsible person’? The chances are it isn’t your fire alarm provider or your health and safety contractor. If you’re a building owner or facilities manager, it could well be you…

In the RRO, “responsible person” is defined as:

  1. a) in relation to a workplace, the employer, if the workplace is to any extent under his/her control
  2. b) in relation to any premises not falling within paragraph (a):

the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him/her of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or

the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking

To further confuse matters, there are other ways of defining the responsible person as laid out in, for example, the government’s own fire safety guidance:

  • an employer
  • the owner
  • the landlord
  • an occupier
  • anyone else with control of the premises, for example a facilities manager, building manager, managing agent or risk assessor. The Fire Safety Order also applies if you have paying guests, for example if you run a bed and breakfast, guesthouse or let a self-catering property.

So if you fit the descriptions above, you may actually be the ‘responsible person’. If there’s more than one responsible person, you have to work together to meet your responsibilities, but generally it’s important that the correct person is identified and his or her responsibilities laid out clearly.

In many cases, this translates to a building’s facilities manager. The duty of care to generate and operate fire risk assessments is all part of the modern FM’s remit and we find in many cases they appreciate the subtle difference between fire alarms, sprinkler systems and smoke control systems.

Government guidance goes on to state that as the responsible person you must:

  • carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises and review it regularly
  • tell staff or their representatives about the risks you’ve identified
  • put in place, and maintain, appropriate fire safety measures
  • plan for an emergency
  • provide staff information, fire safety instruction and training

You can see how vital all these duties are, which is why we’d always recommend subcontracting to a trusted, suitably-accredited supplier who will understand the technology and legislation, aiding you with that burden of responsibility as the ‘responsible person’. Unfortunately, we’ve seen plenty of instances of smoke control systems being compromised by maintenance undertaken or commissioned without proper technical or legislative understanding.

 

About Brakel Airvent

Brakel Airvent is the UK’s leading provider of whole-life service to smoke control systems.

The company – based in Cardiff, south Wales – specialises in planned preventative maintenance, emergency repairs and cost-effective refurbishment packages that are staged to minimise financial impact and disruption to building users. It has a national network of service engineers and in-house CFD and fire engineering expertise to ensure its solutions are up to the important task of saving lives and protecting property, in line with legislation such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

www.airvent.co.uk

About smoke control

A legislative requirement, smoke control systems are activated when a fire breaks out in a large building. They remove hot, hazardous smoke or compartmentalise it to allow for clearer escape routes and easier fire fighter access.

Many systems have multiple purposes including natural cooling ventilation or fume management.

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Government framework win for BW: Workplace Experts

BW has been awarded a position on the government framework agreement for the Southern lot of the Government Hubs Fit-Out Framework. One government department to use the framework will be HMRC; their current estate of 140 offices will be re-orientated into 13 modern regional centres. This is a 4-year framework that covers the South of the UK (South of Peterborough and Birmingham inclusive) for projects with a construction value of under £25m.

Anthony Brown, Sales and Marketing Director at BW, says: “Alongside the City University framework, this appointment further underpins our determination to secure several significant formal frameworks, taking the BW business to the next level.”

Driven by innovation and characterised by transparency, personality and fit out expertise, London-based BW brings a commitment to delivering defect-free fit out and refurbishment projects to London and the south of England. Visit wearebw.com to view some recently completed projects, our externally facing team and some recent company news.

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Boat firm lets Energy Management take the strain

Steve Retford from Energy Management LLP is proud to announce that popular holiday boat hire company Sally Narrowboats has renewed its contract with the Wiltshire-based company after achieving savings of over 10 per cent on its energy usage in the last 12 months.

As well as powering a 26-strong fleet, Sally Narrowboats offer a full repair and maintenance service for passing traffic on the Kennet & Avon Canal at its dry dock facility in the picturesque Bradford-on-Avon Marina.

Sally Narrowboats General Manager Mark Fraser says seeking external help in energy management has brought about noticeable benefits to the company, and not just financial.

“Thanks to the energy efficiency measures put in place by Energy Management, we have reduced our energy usage by 10.3 per cent over the last year.

“Energy Management assisted us with some upgrade works in our office space and in the workshop and warehouse as well as helping us negotiate the best possible deals with energy suppliers.

“Originally, we had standard light bulbs installed in high-level fittings that constantly needed changing and were troublesome to get to because of their location. We’ve since had LED lights fitted, which have a five-year lifespan, and less time is now spent on maintenance.”

Energy usage can amount to a third of a company’s overall bills, yet, in the experience of Energy Management CEO Retford, an engineer with over 25 years of industry experience, there are obvious areas where savings are achievable.

For example, as many as one in five invoices seen by Energy Management over the last two decades have been found to be inaccurate. These errors typically can result in an increase of 3-5 per cent of business energy bills.

“Invoice validation is one of our core services. Whether it’s down to inaccurate meter readings, wrongly applied correction and volume factors or CCL and VAT charges, customers often pay more than they should for their energy.  Our invoice validation service uses a thorough invoice-checking system that shines a light on any errors, so that action can be taken to recover any overcharges as quickly as possible.

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SICK’s Visionary Camera Takes 3D Images in a Snapshot

SICK has launched the Visionary-T,  its first robust, industrial imaging camera to capture high-resolution 3D data with a single ‘snapshot’, whether the object is stationary or moving.

The SICK Visionary-T uses high-resolution Time-of–Flight (TOF) technology to achieve superior quality 3D imaging for vision applications.  Unlike 3D vision systems based on laser triangulation, the 3D image is captured with one shot of light, without the need to profile a moving object.

While single shot imaging systems have already been introduced for consumer applications, the IP67-rated SICK Visionary-T is designed for 24/7 industrial use in rugged conditions.  The camera therefore offers an affordable alternative to high-end 3D vision systems so that manufacturers and machine builders can integrate 3D imaging into intrusion detection systems for building security applications, for example in museums and art galleries.

Explains Neil Sandhu, SICK’s National Product Manager for Imaging, Measurement, Ranging and Systems:

“The Visionary T builds up a detailed and accurate real-time 3D image of fixed or moving objects with excellent results regardless of angle, surface finish, material or shape of object. The Snapshot technology means it is not necessary to design a system in which either the camera or the object must move across a laser line to create a triangulated image.

“In a single shot, the Visionary T combines different aspects of the light scattered by the object to build up a detailed picture of shape, distance, reflectivity and object depth.  Our trials have shown that the single shot method performs well, with less false imaging than can occur with some of the other commonly used methods, and lead to far more reliable results over a wide range of conditions.”

The SICK Visionary-T uses Time-of-Flight measurement of a light signal between the device and the target for each point of the image. The CCD/CMOS imager develops a pixel matrix, with each pixel containing depth and intensity information.  The camera is designed to capture more than 25,000 distance and intensity values to create real time 3D images at up to 30 frames per second.

Available in two different models, the SICK Visionary-T CX delivers raw data as depth, intensity and confidence values without any post-processing or reduction for in-house processing and program formulation, while the Visionary-T AG outputs filtered data in formats pre-selected by the integrator, OEM or other user. Likely to be used primarily for robot related tasks, typical data handling includes axis manipulation, parameter configuration, polar, scalable height integration time and different filter types.

Easy to mount, either on a vehicle or frame at the optimum angle for operation, the SICK Visionary-T is fitted with an industrial standard API connector for easy communication of the 3D data for evaluation on an external computer. Data can be read or recorded either directly via SICK’s SOPAS interface or via API for matlab, java or C++, and the SICK Visionary-T is compatible with SICK’s IDpro platform for integration with other SICK vision and sensor devices.

For more information about the SICK Visionary-T, please contact Andrea Hornby on 01727 831121 or email andrea.hornby@sick.co.uk.

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22% of Employees Admit to Changing Fluorescent Tubes at Work

Findings even though concurrent survey suggests that more than half of employees surveyed don’t know how to change one

A recent survey of 1,000 people by online fluorescent tube retailers Lamp Shop Online has revealed that nearly a quarter of office workers have changed a fluorescent tube at work, even though they don’t know how to do so safely.

Faulty or dead fluorescent tubes in the workplace can cause health issues such as headaches, migraines and eye strain, which can cost businesses millions of pounds each year.

Poor lighting can also put employees at risk of trips and falls, as well as reducing staff productivity. Many business owners are unaware that it is their responsibility to maintain the lighting in the workplace, so the burden often falls on employees.

The survey also showed that 58% of employees don’t actually know how to change a fluorescent tube, which presents a serious safety issue.

Faulty or dead fluorescent tubes in the workplace can cause health issues such as headaches, migraines and eye strain, which can cost businesses millions of pounds each year.

Poor lighting can also put employees at risk of trips and falls, as well as  reducing staff productivity.

Falls and trips due to inadequate lighting could lead to employers being sued, as failure to take responsibility for implementing the correct lighting at work may be illegal in some circumstances.

Rob Holroyd from Lamp Shop Online comments: “The results of the survey are worrying as employers are not taking responsibility for the lighting in their building, which is a key maintenance issue. The Health and Safety Executive states that employers are responsible for maintaining lighting in the workplace, so employers could actually be breaking the law by not stepping up and looking after their lighting.

“Employers need to regularly assess and maintain the lighting in their premises to ensure employees don’t have to take matters into their own hands and put themselves at risk.”

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Press Release: Star Players join BW

BW: Workplace Experts has recruited a number of high profile industry professionals to further strengthen the BW team these are:

Dale Harding – Commercial Director

Alan Sandell – Project Director

Clive Yorath – Contracts Manager

Pete Flynn – Contracts Manager

Dale Harding, previously the Managing Director of OD Interiors is appointed as Commercial Director of BW’s Core team, working closely with Peter Nagle in his new role as Operations Director.

Dale has over 25 years of experience in the fit out and refurbishment sector, with companies such as Mansell, Overbury and Mitie Interiors.

Dale Harding, Commercial Director at BW comments: “ I am delighted to be joining BW at this exciting next stage of its  development. I have watched this dynamic business go from strength to strength and I am excited to be part of its continued success.”

Alan Sandell joins from Overbury in the position of Project Director. Alan began his career as a carpenter, quickly progressing through the management structure to work on a number of high profile projects in both construction and fit out sector in the retail, education, leisure, media and commercial sectors.

Alan Sandell, Project Director at BW says: “I am looking forward to pursuing the extensive opportunities presented by BW, It is a fantastic opportunity to share the wealth of knowledge and experience gained. I share the companies values and principles to deliver to the highest standards with in the industry.”

Clive Yorath, previously Construction Director at Citysq Ltd will join BW as Contracts Manager. Clive has vast experience in the industry managing large projects across many sectors including high quality (end-user) residential, heavy structural commercial office refurbishment, Cat B office fit out and Grade listed offices. 

Clive Yorath, Contracts Manager at BW says: “When I left Citysq, I intentionally took time assessing a number of different businesses in the market and I was overwhelmed with BW’s authentic vision for the future of the business. There is a buzz about BW in the market and the progressive thinking behind that is palpable when you are with the team.”

Pete Flynn has also been appointed as Contract Manager at BW, moving from Overbury, he is Chartered Builder and Chartered Civil Engineer with over 30 years of experience in the sector. Pete Flynn is delighted to join the equally experienced management team at BW, he says: “The BW team is very focused on delivering a great customer experience and journey with exciting plans to grow BW’s market share significantly in the next few years. This is a great time to join this dynamic and exciting business.”

Visit wearebw.com to view some recently completed projects, our externally facing team and some recent company news.

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Barclays backs national expansion of facilities management business

Saltire Facilities Management Ltd, a leading provider of central heating and electrical services across Scotland and the UK, has secured £2m of funding from Barclays to drive growth plans and streamline business overheads.

The Bellshill based company provides central heating installation and maintenance services for local authorities and the private sector. The Barclays deal, which saw the company bought out from existing shareholders, will finance further development of Saltire’s business plans to bolster its growing client base.

Saltire Facilities Management is led by Finance Director David Weston and Managing Director John Reynolds and employs over 300 engineers. In addition to installation and maintenance offerings, customers benefit from a 24/7 support line, emergency call-out service and professional certification, with all services designed to be safe, cost-effective and sustainable.

This transaction is the latest in a series of deals from Barclays supporting businesses across the country via its SME fund. Launched in June 2016, the £500m fund provides access to capital for businesses across all sectors with turnover up to £25m and reflects Barclays’ commitment to fostering a positive environment for Scottish enterprise to thrive.

The deal between Saltire Facilities Management Ltd and the bank was led by Corporate Development Directors Malcolm Crawford and Jennifer Doran.

David Weston, Finance Director of Saltire Facilities Management Ltd, said: “As our business continues its success, it was important that we partnered with a bank which could help make our short and medium-term goals a reality. The local Barclays team showed a clear understanding of our business and structured a compelling funding package for us.”

Malcolm Crawford, Corporate Development Director for Barclays in Scotland, added: “Our SME fund is a tailor-made offering for organisations like Saltire Facilities Management who wish to grow, diversify and develop their businesses.

“The company has a strong track record of success and continues to identify new avenues of trade. The management team has a strong desire to evolve the business and we will work closely with them to help achieve those ambitions.”

 

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

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New telephone pod brings peace of mind

In response to the trend for enclosed private areas that facilitate individual headspace and support increased focus and privacy in the workplace, Boss Design has widened its popular range of telephone pods to include TP4.

TP4 provides a much-needed place to concentrate and deliberate, and is ergonomically a better solution for short-term periods of focused work. Incorporating an integral shelving option, this latest pod provides the ideal area to make private calls and encourages creative and individual working – all vital for a more productive working environment.

Commenting on this latest addition, Sales Director, Oliver Ronald, says: “Lack of privacy and noise are two of the biggest gripes of the open plan office. Our popular range of telephone pods not only help eliminate distractions, they are designed to meet the needs of the multi- workplace.

“TP4 goes one step further in providing the perfect getaway space to ‘drop in’ to or make a private call, by offering a short-term solution to focused working that many offices can’t provide. It also leaves meeting rooms free for larger groups that need the space,” adds Oliver.

TP4 is PIR operated, featuring single LED down lights, LED extrusion in the square tile and LED sheet tiling – enabling the whole panel to be illuminated – to support close, accurate working. Exterior wooden cladding options, together with an extensive choice of fabric bands and white, red and green occupancy lighting, all contribute to the optimum look and feel of this model. Furthermore, the pod may be personalised to suit individual business needs and branding.

Alongside TP4, Boss Design offers three other telephone pods. Whilst TP1 provides the perfect getaway space and offers the ideal solution for individual privacy, TP2 comes complete with a shelving area to place working or personal items, and is perfect for short periods of headspace. TP3 incorporates all of these features with the added option of personalising the space with branding or other designs.

Contact:
Boss Design: +44 (0) 1384 455570 Boss Design London Showroom: +44 (0) 20 7253 0364 www.boss-design.com

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Schools benefit from SPIE’s Energy Management initiatives – saving over £1 million in energy costs during first four years.

SPIE UK is delivering a high quality Facilities Maintenance (FM) service to over 70 schools in the UK across numerous private finance initiative (PFI) contracts. Located in the catchment areas of Scotland, Liverpool, Wirral, Salford, Manchester, Halton and Kirklees, West Yorkshire, these schools feature a range of facilities with energy management and improvement a priority. Already in the fifth year of 25-year term contracts, SPIE has saved many of these schools over £1 million in energy costs. These savings can be attributed to a bespoke, remotely managed energy monitoring and Building Management System (BMS).

SPIE combines energy performance and system controls, delivering a proactive approach that’s co-ordinated with our central team of engineering and energy experts. This expertise supports our operational teams at each facility, with Facilities Management (FM) services extending right across these diverse contracts – often covering infrastructure and asset management including caretakers, swimming pools, engineering systems, energy monitoring and building management systems. Our engineers work alongside a central team of energy experts to provide clients with proactive energy specialists who carry out daily checks, adjustments and problem solving across many of the school buildings. This information is then used to change or modify system operations accordingly to improve building energy performance, whilst also setting targets for future improvements.

Moreover, by closely aligning energy monitoring with BMS operations, our team can log performance, establish trends and quickly identify any operational issues that need to be resolved.

Many of the PFI school contracts also feature a range of performance management reporting and benchmarking tasks, carried out by our Central Engineering Team, working closely with our local maintenance teams. These include water consumption data collection, energy and water use analysis, weather monitoring, target setting, meter reading and ‘in use’ analysis reconciliation, as well as BMS monitoring & scheduling, plus site visits for audits and reviews of systems and buildings.

Sustainability-related benefits are being delivered across these PFI contracts, with improvement plans resulting. One contract in particular, representing eight high schools and a primary school, has saved 384 tonnes of CO2 over a two-year period (2012-14). This is the equivalent of a standard car driving nearly 900,000 miles.

There’s so much more that has yet to be achieved, including better connectivity to off-site monitoring, integration of expertise and reinvesting energy savings into new facilities. Our latest innovation features a plant refurbishment service that will improve life cycles, increase efficiency and minimise cost/operational disruption.

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The air that I breathe

Dave Carson from P-Wave says that although washrooms play an essential part in our health, comfort and wellbeing, all too often they fail to reach the required standards; but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Hollies, and later Simply Red – though we won’t talk about that – had a hit containing the lyric “Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe…”. I’ll be honest and admit I’m pretty sure they weren’t talking to about washrooms, but you could be forgiven for thinking they may have been given the unpleasant aromas that envelop all too many of these facilities. Sometimes visitors really are left gasping for breath after taking a ‘comfort’ break.

A facility’s washroom is rarely neglected – and often there will be inspection records or even customer feedback buttons to prove it – but unfortunately they often look and smell like they are a low priority to the buildings management. Even with high specification fixtures and fittings and regular cleaning, the overriding impression can be of an unpleasant pong, making a visit a less than favourable experience.

The power of smell

It is a very subjective topic, but many believe smell to be the most powerful of our senses. Whether that’s true is for better minds than mine to decide, but smell certainly plays an important part in our lives, whether evoking memories or warning of danger. When you are exposed to a bad smell you certainly know about it. This makes getting the washroom experience right vital to the overall impression of your building. Even if facilities are cleaned regularly, a bad smell will give the opposite impression, so the last thing you want to leave people with is a lasting memory of an unpleasant smell.

Given the disproportionate amount of a facilities manager’s time and effort washrooms involve, it’s no wonder that there are many hundreds of products on the market looking to resolve the issue. However, unfortunately many air freshening options just don’t live up to their inventively scented names or last the distance. The right products can beat the smell over a sustained period of time, tackle odour causing bacteria and reduce maintenance issues, such as blocked drains.

Five hints to help tackle nuisance odours

  1. Air fresheners

Perhaps an obvious option when taking on bad smells, but get the right one and it really will improve the atmosphere in your washrooms. Look for products containing strong, pleasant fragrances that can effectively mask bad odours. These can make an immediate and long-lasting improvement. Users should feel welcomed by the scent rather than repelled by an unpleasant stench. As well as whole room air fresheners, look for washroom specific products like toilet bowl clips and urinal fresheners.

  1. Everything in its place

The main cause of bad smells in the washroom is bacteria from urine in drains or splashback on the floor. Once the only way to tackle this was to drop a scented blue block into urinals and hope for the best. However, with new products 95% of splash back can be prevented thanks to new protrusions on urinal and trough screens.

This keeps urine off the floor and grouting where it would soak in and cause a bad smell, even with regular cleaning.

  1. Keep the pipes clear

Debris such as discarded bits of chewing gum or tissue can cause blockages in pipes resulting in slow flowing water or worse blockages and overflows. These can be minimised by choosing urinal or trough screens which can trap this sort of material and stop it getting into the drains.

  1. Get additional help

It’s not just the cleaners who help reduce the smells in washrooms, products which include the right enzymes – or odour controlling ‘good’ bacteria – can help eliminate malodourous ‘bad’ bacteria which feeds on urine. Cutting out the smell at source in this way is far more effective and environmentally friendly using an array of harsh chemicals.

Reduced chemical use has many advantages, not least from a health and safety point of view as there is less danger of spillage.

  1. You get what you pay for

It’s easy to think all products are the same, or that it’s not worth investing in washroom products. I think it’s worth paying that bit extra for quality as it can soon bring its rewards. For example, the best urinal screens will combine a strong air freshener, with splash back control and odour tackling enzymes; removing the need to buy separate products. Top quality products can last a month resulting in cost savings in the longer term and reducing the time spent cleaning the washroom and purchasing products.

…And to love you

Washrooms are crucial in maintaining building users’ health and wellbeing, especially through hand washing. However, a bad smell can put people off using them, or staying long enough to wash their hands properly – with the result that germs are more likely to be spread throughout a facility, with a likely impact on sickness and absenteeism.

The second part of the song lyric mentioned earlier is, of course, ‘…and to love you’. Now I’m not saying a better smelling washroom will make your visitors and staff fall in love with you, but by providing hygienic and lasting solutions, you and your building could certainly go up in their estimation!

www.p-wave.co.uk

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