87% of your fire and smoke doors are probably non-compliant!

Sign saying Coroners Court

In 2008, a study by R Doleman (see below) found that 87% of 160 audited fire and smoke doors were non-compliant with over 935 failure items!

Robert, thank you for your study because it proves what we’ve been thinking for a long time: some contractors are just not up to the job.

A key question for anyone employing service providers and by extension their contractors, sub-sub-sub-contractors etc, is are they “competent” persons? If not, the ramifications ……. could be severe, with loss of life, criminal negligence and financial hardship, adverse media attention and social stigma.

Based on his study, Robert makes some critical observations (page 50).

  • The degree of current maintenance service providers do not comply or understand the application of the relevant codes and standards.
  • The level of expertise held by the external contractor performing the audit appears to have a level of knowledge with regards to the standards and auditing process below that required to perform the auditing, as stated within AS 4655:2005, (our emphasis)
  • The fire industry although self regulating appears to be ineffective in maintaining compliance. (This is changing with recent moves to formal accreditation.)
  • No government licencing and certification requirements that would creating (sic) an industry of people suitably qualified for the role they performed.

So, even though the study was carried out in 2008, we believe the findings are valid today,

  • not all contractors are competent
  • not even all auditors are competent
  • lack of licencing is a major problem allowing unqualified persons to enter the industry.

A direct issue for property owners in NSW is that under the requirements for submitting the Annual Fire Safety Statement, “The owner must also provide a written opinion that the person or persons chosen are competent to perform the fire safety inspection.” i.e. the owner is responsible for ensuring the maintenance person is competent.

So how do you minimise contractor competency risk? Take a look at our How to for some help.

Thanks and citation

Doleman, R. (2008). A study of compliance in aged care facilities with regards to Australian Standards 1851:2006 maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment section 17. Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses_hons/1021

and my thanks to Paige Han Huipin, a post graduate at the University of Melbourne who pointed me to this thesis.

If you think this task is overwhelming, get in touch.

Nigel Dalton-Brown, GAICD, AMIIA, MBA

Managing Director, Chair, Speaker, Lecturer, Author

Nigel is the Founder of Strytex and has been presenting and writing on Goverence, Obligational Awarenss, Risk Management and Compliance administration (GORC) since 2010.

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