East Midlands Housing Association (EMHA) owns a diverse portfolio of more than 230 properties, ranging from sheltered accommodation to assisted living to commercial offices and buildings. It holds full responsibility for the safety and security of these buildings, as well as for its tenants, many of whom are vulnerable and in need of daily support.
Effective management of its portfolio has always been a high priority for EMHA, and in 2008 it decided to appoint a Fire Services Partner. Dene Carvell, Maintenance Manager at EMHA explains the decision:
“Fire safety is of paramount importance to us. We recognised that the increasing levels of regulations, along with the special needs of our properties, meant we needed expert help and advice. When seeking a consultant to assist, we looked for a company who would not only look at the individual buildings, but look at the needs of the portfolio as a whole, and who would understand the problems and concerns associated with managing such a vast portfolio. This led us to appoint Total Fire Services.”
Total Fire Services (TFS) is a leading fire safety consultancy specialising in fire risk assessments and fire safety training programmes. Its Managing Director Darren Baird is an ex-Firefighter and former Senior Fire Safety Manager. He explains how TFS approached the situation:
“The first project we undertook was a full risk profile of each building. We then worked with EMHA to prioritise the buildings according to risk and create a schedule. In three years, we have been able to assess 98% of their properties and initiate an ongoing review process so that EMHA can remain in full control of their portfolio.”
The work undertaken by TFS has resulted in a significant reduction in the risk profile of EMHA properties, and cost savings have been achieved through the efficient deployment of fire alarms, emergency lighting and extinguishers within its ‘general needs’ flats.
In addition, a fire safety training scheme has been implemented to ensure all relevant staff are fully trained.
Dene Carvell adds: “TFS has provided a totally professional response throughout. The assessors work quickly and effectively, delivering Fire Risk Assessments which are comprehensive detailed & easy to understand the content. Working together, we have been able to address over 65% of our risks in just three years, with further works already underway. This has been, and continues to be, an extremely positive relationship and I would honestly recommend them to any prospective clients.”
Dene Carvell – Maintenance Manager
Wythenshawe Community Housing Group are a social housing provider whose structure has created a combined stock of almost 14,000 properties. They now provide housing to more than 20,000 people across the Wythenshawe area in Manchester.
TFS has conducted a large number of fire risk assessments across WCHG that included high and low rise flats, sheltered accommodation, offices, public buildings and cottage flats. The fire risk assessments were conducted under very tight time scales.
Bolton at Home are a registered charity providing social housing. In March 2011 following a vote of support from tenants, they took over the ownership of the houses formerly owned by Bolton Council. Bolton at Home now own and manage more than 18,000 homes in the borough.
“Bolton at Home has consulted with Total Fire Services over the past two years and has formed a good working relationship built on confidence and trust.
Bolton at Home have a number of trained Fire Risk Assessors who have carried out assessments on the majority of our offices and buildings with communal areas, however, the organisation felt that an independent, external audit of those assessments would aid compliance.
Total Fire has undertaken a number of the more complicated assessments on our buildings and has audited the risk assessments already carried out internally. Their assessments are clear and practical, and their advice and support has proved invaluable.”
Karen Jackson – Health and Safety Manager
Bolton’s portfolio consists of some 500 buildings ranging from our civic centre buildings through schools, libraries, care homes and leisure facilities to simple park pavilions.
We have used Total Fire Services for over 3 years and I have personally found them to be eminently competent and professional. I have been trained as a Fire Risk assessor, but acknowledge that my experience is not extensive. It has therefore been necessary to draw on the knowledge and expertise of Darren Baird and his company in areas of complexity or where situations are outside of the normal.
Total Fire has produced many Fire risk assessments on a variety of our properties and I have always found their reports to be robust and fit for purpose.
I am happy to provide a reference for this organisation in respect of their contribution to Bolton Council in helping to maintain a safe environment and minimise fire related risk.
Andrew Lowe – Statutory Compliance and Records Manager
“South Kesteven District Council owns a portfolio of over 6200 properties over a large geographical area of 364 square miles. TFS were engaged to carry out Fire Risk Assessments for the common areas within our flatted complexes and sheltered accommodation.
The timeliness and detail of the FRA’s was excellent as was the ongoing advice and recommendations given by TFS throughout this exercise. I have found their advice very professional, honest and easy to understand. This has given us a clear picture of our stock with regards to fire safety and has enabled us to put schemes of work together where necessary to ensure the continued safety of our residents throughout our district.
I would certainly recommend the services of TFS to any other landlord.”
Stuart Sheardown – Senior Project Development & Improvement Officer
“Cash Converters has worked with Total Fire Services since 2010, and in that time they have proven themselves to be a real asset to our business. As well as delivering highly detailed Fire Risk Assessments for both our retail locations and our head office, Total Fire Services has provided a comprehensive fire training programme for our staff, from the Senior Management Team right through to front line employees.
We’ve also been able to take advantage of their expertise for wider business projects, such as store refurbishments, where based on their advice and feedback we have implemented a whole new process. We even seek their advice when assessing potential sites for new stores.
Total Fire Services are professional, friendly and, above all, true experts in their field. I am delighted with this partnership and look forward to working with Total Fire Services for many years to come.”
Racheal Franklin – Head of HR
“Total Fire Services conducted fire risk assessments on behalf of Leeds United Football Club in January 2007. The conducting of the assessments was as a result of an inspection by the Local Authority Safety Team, where the club’s existing assessments were required to comply with the newly introduced Fire Safety Order and the granting of the stadiums Safety Certificate.
Four companies were short listed and the club felt that Total Fire Services displayed the requisite expertise and professionalism to undertake fire risk assessments for our varied and extensive buildings. Risk assessments were conducted of the stadium, banqueting suite, conference centre, training academy, ticket and management offices, warehouses, Leeds United Shop and crèche.
Following the conducting of this major assessment project, a consultation was provided by Total Fire Services to the club and head of the Local Authority Safety Team. The assessment met all the requirements of the Fire Safety Order and that of the Safety Team enabling the granting of the stadium’s Safety Certificate. All the assessments and resulting documentation were conducted to the highest standards detailing each of the areas in separate bound portfolios.
Total Fire Services are now the club’s appointed competent persons for fire related matters, providing Leeds United with on going advice and support in order to maintain and review the assessments and assist the club in fulfilling its fire safety legal obligations. The fire safety consultants were both professional and helpful. I was extremely satisfied at the quality, time scales involved and their level of expertise and I would have no hesitation in recommending their professional services.”
Barry Mountain, Health and Safety Executive
“The RNCM looked at three companies to conduct a fire risk assessment of all areas of the college to assist us in maintaining compliance with the Fire Safety Order 2005. Following a meeting with their Managing Director Darren Baird it was clear that Total Fire Services displayed the requisite expertise and skills to provide a thorough assessment in keeping with the quality standards expected at the RNCM at a competitive fee.
A full day on site assessment was conducted covering all areas of the RNCM and was produced in a professionally bound document. A consultation was then provided to the Estates team to go through the assessment in fine detail in order for the RNCM to ensure continued compliance with fire safety law. I have found the Company to be very professional and thorough and would have no hesitation in recommending their services.”
Dean Griffiths, Head of Estates
“Due to internal resource issues we at Chessington World Of Adventures were struggling to meet our commitments of having “suitable and sufficient” fire risk assessment for all of our buildings and Rides on site.
Meeting the challenge of maintaining our continued commitment to having “suitable and sufficient” fire risk assessments in place for all of our buildings and Rides on site required us to search for a competent third party supplier who could deliver our needs at a reasonable cost; we interviewed a number of companies, finally choosing Total Fire Services Ltd as the preferred supplier.
TFS have just completed the project delivering 71 fire risk assessment documents, the assessment process started Mid May and was concluded Mid August, this was a mammoth task that required a knowledgeable and diligent approach. Total Fire Services Ltd have not only delivered but exceeded our expectations. The competency of the assessor and auditor assured that the final assessments meet all the requirements of our regional fire officer and via the subsequent action plans, will ensure a safer environment for all at Chessington World of Adventures.
As part of the assessment service TFS will also undertake any negotiations on our behalf with the Fire Services should any queries regarding the assessments arise.
Because of the unique and partnering approach demonstrated by the company I have no hesitation in recommending Total Fire Services Ltd should you have similar fire risk assessment needs. Given the service we have received from TFS I also feel compelled to recommend this company to the rest of the Merlin Entertainments Group.“
Kevin Bainbridge, Head of Safety & Technical Services
What they say
"Due to internal resource issues we at Chessington World Of Adventures were struggling to meet our commitments of having "suitable and sufficient" fire risk assessment for all of our buildings and Rides on site. Meeting the challenge of maintaining our continued commitment to having "suitable and sufficient" fire risk assessments in place for all of our buildings and Rides on site required us to search for a competent third party supplier who could deliver our needs at a reasonable cost"
Kevin Bainbridge, Head of Safety & Technical Services[mc4wp_form]