As procurement teams in the industrial, construction and mining sectors continue to streamline operations and rationalise suppliers, cost and efficiency are becoming the key drivers behind the purchase of fire protection systems.
While these are important considerations, this should never be at the expense of life safety.
Effective procurement of a fire protection provider involves a careful and consultative approach to establish the best fit for your organisation.
As a shared responsibility, it is essential that all those involved in fire safety (including procurement departments, health and safety teams, and on-site management) invest in quality fire protection solutions.
Appointing a reliable and quality fire protection provider requires careful consideration of a number of factors, including those set out below.
1. Does the contractor hold appropriate insurances?
Always work with a reputable fire protection company that holds appropriate public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance. The Fire Protection Association of Australia’s (FPAA) Providers of Choice are bound by a Stringent Code of Practice that requires insurance cover for public liability and professional indemnity
2. Does the provider hold all necessary state/territory and federal licences?
Licences vary between states and territories and unfortunately, there are some providers in the industry who do not hold all the necessary licenses. It is important to address this during the procurement process. Always select a fire protection provider that holds all required state and federal licences or certifications, and whose staff are suitably qualified in all practicing activities.
The FPAA has introduced its Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS), which provides professional recognition to technicians for their training and competency. Wormald has committed to accrediting all of its inspect and test technicians under this program and will move its business toward FPAS Recognised Business status.
3. Can they service my operations in every state or territory?
For Australia-wide businesses, using a national fire protection provider can help to centralise processes, minimise inconsistencies and capitalise on economies of scale. Look for a fire protection provider with a wide branch network, that has a presence in every state and territory your business operates in.
4. Can they demonstrate strong local expertise?
Fire safety is heavily regulated and it is the responsibility of every organisation to comply with appropriate legislation and Australian Standards. The national building code, Australian Standards, the principal workplace health and safety regulations in each state and territory, and state and territory legislation governing the maintenance of fire protection systems are central to fire safety.
Failing to comply with these can compromise safety and result in hefty fines. It is important to work with a fire protection company that demonstrates a strong understanding of local and national requirements in relation to regulatory audits, compliance codes and reporting.
5. How do they manage reporting?
Coupled with vigilant human management, smart reporting technology can make it easier and faster to keep track of fire protection systems and maintenance systems, especially for those businesses with sites located across different states and territories. Reporting systems such as Wormald Connect, an online portal that provides real-time visibility and 24-hour access to fire service calls and inspection data, can help to centralise fire safety maintenance and ensure every site is compliant. In addition to Wormald Connect, Wormald offers key account management to provide customers with one point of contact.