MP Vince Cable has discussed with the Fire Industry Association (FIA), a new business to his constituency, the importance of fire safety and addressed the delicate issue of cowboy contractors and the potential hazards that they could instigate.
During his visit to their Hampton office, Dr Cable affirmed both his personal concern and that of the government that the fire protection in buildings is a life safety item and cowboy contractors could therefore be bringing serious dangers to the industry.
It is important to get it right at the front end, to ensure fire safety equipment is up to professional standards, Dr Cable said.
The FIA, a not-for-profit trade association, plays a leading role in ensuring fire safety and promoting the professional status of the UK fire safety industry. The company provides advice to anyone who needs it regarding fire safety in the UK and offer training courses on the latest technical and legislative topics for those working with fire safety.
Currently no legislation is in place that forces companies in the fire safety industry, such as fire alarm and sprinkler system providers and maintainers, to prove their competence by certification schemes such as those provided by third parties including BAFE or LPCB. Dr Cable asserted the governments keenness to have the appropriate quality of fire protection installed in buildings.
Graham Ellicott, CEO of the FIA said, Fire protection companies should be third-party certificated which means independent scrutiny of their work. Companies should prove their competence.
Dr Cable agreed that the work of fire safety contractors should be of the highest quality and said, The government is looking at how industry can do more to help with this matter.
Martin Duggan, General Manager of the FIA, said insurance companies could do a lot more for the fire industry sector and referred to the insurance company used by the FIA when they moved into their new office.
They provided us with a long detailed list but recorded nothing specific on fire equipment, or anything about third party certified contractors. Insurance companies are key stakeholders in ensuring fire safety in buildings and therefore should be playing a bigger part in the industry, Mr Duggan said.
Since an estimated 70 percent of new buildings are built in some form or another with government money, Mr Ellicott argued the government could take a lead in ensuring fire safety equipment is up to scratch by putting strings on the capital, such as proof of quality of products and installation.
Dr Cable highlighted the value that is placed on fire safety and said the government is looking at what can be done to ensure fire safety standards are adhered to.