When you manage a large, diverse portfolio that covers a wide geographical area consistency of provision across that portfolio can become a massive headache. That is the problem our customer via Insterserve FM, The DVSA, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency was suffering when we first met.
Once you have more than one property this can become an issue. The properties may be next door to each other, but if you send two different assessors from potentially two different companies to complete a Fire Risk Assessment, the chances are they will see things differently. One example of this was around the Fire Training and Fire Evacuation policy that the customer had in place. In one building, an assessor picked up that the staff hadn’t undergone adequate fires safety training which rendered the occupants unable to correctly use the Fire Extinguishers to put out the fire. However, under the same estate for a very similar building type, another assessor had noted that the policy in place was immediate fire evacuation meaning no firefighting equipment (FFE) training was required. This left the customer in some cases paying for training that really wasn’t required or worse, wondering which was right and which was wrong.
When we took over the portfolio and Fire Risk Assessment’s for the customer the most important thing we implemented, was the scoping meeting. This is a meeting that we carry out with all our customers, before we have even entered a building. A great scoping process can save an immense amount of uncertainty and fear and ensure consistency across your entire portfolio.
It is an opportunity to get complete clarity of the customers expectations. A customer may be expecting to see certain things carried out as part of the FRA that are either not required or bespoke requirements, these can then be discussed and either removed or added.
When you have properties that cover all the nations of the UK, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it is highly unlikely that the one assessor will jump in a car and complete 100% of the assessments. This scoping process and the following internal communication to multiple assessors ensures that it is like having one person carrying out the assessments. In addition, as an extra layer of consistency, here at Riskmonitor we allocate one Quality Validator to oversee the project. As part of our BAFE accreditation we are expected to carry out up to 100% quality control and validation on a portfolio. There can be some sampling for low risk, small buildings, carried out by the same assessor, but in the majority of instances, our validators will audit 100% of assessments carried out.
The DVSA have over 1000 buildings dotted around the UK that require assessments and they now are able to ensure that all of these buildings have consistency in the provision of FRA’s. One less headache for Neil/Karen to worry about, here is what they have to say…