New clients – gotta love ’em

New clients

New clients – our joy. Of course, hanging onto our clients is a top priority, but getting on-board with new clients is pretty exciting too.

As we explore the new site and discover the Essential Safety equipment, joy can turn to anxiety, even gloom. Concerns arise if we find the baseline data is elusive and documentation seems non-exitant. How did this place get built? Or what information did the previous service provider use? (if we have replaced an earlier contractor).

What about the complete AS1901 Part 1 dossier on Fire doors (see below); compiled initially by the manufacturer then added to by the installer – this is meant to be given to the owner and held on site. If this can’t be made available to us we have to provide a quote to research and investigate with the various parties. What if the builder or Original Equipment Manufacturer are no longer in business? Since testing of Fire doors is a destructive process we can’t investigate your doors to prove they are fire doors, if no such indicator exists in the first place.

For one new client recently we rang the manufacturer of the Fire Doors – identified from the tag information available on some of the doors. This is helping us to understand the practices and mechanisms actually in use. Thus, we can more clearly identify the weaknesses in the intended process (although most of these weaknesses are largely anticipated in the AS code, which explains some of the steps the code lays out.)

What we learned from the Fire Door manufacturer

They sell a door and frame, as specified, complete with closers, latches, Drop-down door seals (DDS). The Door serial number which appears on the door tag is used by them as a cross reference to the details of all the fittings supplied for that particular door, so there are no manufacturer’s details, models or unique serial numbers observable on the door fittings themselves.

The builders install the door and fittings in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions and prepare a Statutory Declaration stating they have done so. The manufacturer may or may not attend the site to check the details. The manufacturer then issues the AS1901 door and frame tags, for the builder to affix.The tags include year of manufacture and a unique serial number. The manufacturer may never see how the tags are affixed.

The tags may be issued in stages, depending on the overall project construction schedule, or delays for example, if gaps round some doors don‘t initially comply. So the unique serial numbers in a building need not continuous.

These manufacturers expect that a spot checks of these details is part of the due diligence activities of the Registered Building Surveyor who authorises the Certificate of Occupancy.

What we should find when we first get to site

Once the building is ready for tenants or new owners to move in, the building or facility manager sets up systems for maintenance of the Essential Safety equipment. This generally calls for a maintenance contractor, or a number of maintenance contracts where more specialised equipment is installed, eg HVAC, fire pumps, lifts, etc.

We can help you with this contract set-up stage, of course, and we can subcontract specialist equipment contractors if required.

Drawings

Drawings showing the location of all your safety equipment helps us to find all your equipment quickly and without chance of over-looking some items. For example in-duct smoke detectors in the air conditioning can be tricky to spot in an initial walk-around. The drawing of Essential Safety Equipment is probably not the same drawing used to show Evacuation routes for building occupants. The Essential Safety Equipment layout drawing requires considerably more detail than your Evacuation drawings, details which would clutter up the Escape route drawings and render them useless..

Equipment dossiers

We need lists of your Essential Safety equipment, their location and type. (eg. all Emergency lights, fire doors, firewater valves)

For more complex or unusual equipment we also need access to your maintenance manuals. Often the Operating and Maintenance instructions produced by the manufacturer comes as a combined manual.

In the absence of ready made equipment lists we need to generate our own asset list from scratch for your premises. THis allows us to discharge our responsibilities in a comprehensive manner. This is typically a time-consuming and potentially wasteful activity. It is prone to omissions and confusion, generally requiring a number of iterations and repeated visits. We can’t include for this in our quote, if we ever want to win any work. This phase can be well beyond initial site familiarisation, which is always expected. Inevitably we must seek compensation if we find it must be done. Without comprehensive asset lists and equipment details we can’t meet the AS1851 maintenance requirements. And if you change maintenance contractor, the new incumbent has to scavenge what they can from the previous “unsatisfactory” contractor. Or repeat the whole process.

Do we want to do this?

Do we want to spend lots of time hunting down all the far flung or hidden safety equipment on your site, and document all the relevant details? Then negotiating how this is to be paid for?

No we don’t.     It’s simply not the best use of your $.

How can we help?

We’d like to help you know what information you most probably do have somewhere.

Give us a ring on

 1300 134 971

 

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