Why is this important?
Simply put, many providers of Fire Safety consultancy will use their assessments to write their own cheques.
The worse thing is, you will be signing them!
An assessment is an opportunity to visit your portfolio and identify issues or hazards that could lead to loss of life or significant risk to the occupants of that building.
Protecting lives, you and the business should be the starting point and the primary focus for any provider and not the last thing they think about.
Many potential partners will use this opportunity to identify the upsell and that is the most important reason why there are there.
The new fire alarm, the extra extinguishers, additional signage. All of this costs money and in many cases is totally unnecessary.
If you are dealing with an independent supplier, who stands to gain nothing financially from the advice given, then you can feel confident that when an independent recommends signage or a new extinguisher, you really do need it.
If your supplier is recommending a course of action and finishes the conversation with a “oh, we can do that” or worse, does the work and sends the bill, we would be asking for clarification and assurances.
Many of the non-independents will undercut the prices of key assessments and strategies as a loss leader as they are confident that profits will be made due to the recommendations outlined in the reports they provide.
Fire Safety can be full of ambiguity as many things are but by using an independent consultant service, you can be very confident that the recommendations they make are what you need.
A great example of this is Fire Extinguishers. We see countless buildings with needless over provision which is compounded by the fact these all need an annual service contract. You could be hit with the double whammy of paying for something you do not need and then paying yearly to look after the thing you don’t need.
Ask your provider what other services they offer?
If you can see that these may conflict or offer them an opportunity to use the situation to their advantage, tread carefully or seek alternative advice.
Ask your potential partner to break down their revenue streams for you. It is highly likely that if they make a high percentage of their annual revenue on service and maintenance of fire equipment then the assessment, they are carrying out is a means to an end as opposed to the main reason for their existence.