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Library: Guidance Sheets: The Value of Accreditation & Compliance

Introduction
This document aims, in general terms, to give a very broad overview as to the clear benefits of, and reasons for ensuring that your fire detection and firefighting equipment is supplied and maintained by appropriately accredited businesses and done so in accordance with the various guidance, standards and legislation that is applicable.

The reader is also referred to our Guidance Sheet “Effective Fire Fighting: The Economic Argument” which details the very good commercial reasons why having and maintaining an effective level of fire fighting equipment is clearly prudent.

The Main Reason - Peace of Mind
Without the proper accreditation and compliance in place to reassure you, how are you to be assured that things are being done properly?

Without doubt, the main reason why it is a good idea to ensure that there is the proper accreditation and compliance is to reassure you - to give you complete peace of mind.

Legal Requirements – Competence
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (“Fire Safety Order”) applies to the vast majority of businesses. This makes it the legal duty of the Responsible Person to ensure the competence of those who ensure the adequacy of, and maintain the fire detection and firefighting equipment.

One of the surest ways of achieving this is ensuring your suppliers in these areas have appropriate independent UKAS-accredited third party accreditation.

More information on the Fire Safety Order can be found here.

Legal Requirements – “Adequate”, “Suitable”, “Proper”
Much legislation refers to the adequate provision of suitable fire detection and firefighting equipment and its proper maintenance. This legislation includes the Fire Safety Order and much of the other legislation listed here.

Having the equipment manufactured, installed and maintained in accordance with the relevant British Standards helps ensure that it will be deemed to be ‘suitable’ and ‘adequate’ and that it is ‘properly maintained’. Appropriate certification by a UKAS-accredited independent third party further helps guarantee this.

Not having your fire detection/fighting equipment supplied, installed and serviced to the British Standards may therefore be in breach of the law.

Insurance Requirements – Direct Cover Implications
The insurance industry is very heavily committed to the implementation of the various British Standards that apply in this area. Indeed, their trade association, the Association of British Insurers (“ABI”) sits on many committees, is co-responsible for the authoring of British Standards and is heavily affiliated to many of the trade associations applicable to this trade.

Accordingly, a failure to have equipment manufactured, installed and maintained in accordance with the relevant British Standards is likely to be a breach of many insurance policies. Needless to say, where this is a contributory factor, this may well have the effect of invalidating your insurance and resulting in no cover.

Insurance Requirements – Knock-On Implications
In addition to the obvious direct consequences as above, a lack of insurance cover can of course also place companies in further breach of other insurance requirements, legislation and contractual agreements.





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