This is relevant for any service you engage to help you manage your portfolio. As we already mentioned in ensuring competency, you don’t need any formal experience to pass exams and become a Fire Risk Assessor. This means that many suppliers can start up quickly and operate from a bedroom office. To be clear, we are not knocking entrepreneurial spirit or even competition as that keeps us sharp and these small, owner run businesses form a crucial part of the sector but you are managing hundreds if not thousands of buildings in your portfolio and you need to be sure that whoever you award your business to can fulfil your obligations.
Managing a portfolio is a constant battle and tough enough anyway, choosing a partner to outsource some of your statutory compliance to should not add to that stress but reduce it.
Your partner should have the reputation and infrastructure behind it that makes things easy and gives you confidence that you are not passing an issue but inheriting a headache.
When you call the office line, will there be someone there to answer?
Who supports you on an ongoing basis?
If the person who sold the dream originally, is doing the Fire Risk Assessment, raising the invoice and managing the account, I would suspect that you are going to run into some issues at some point in the relationship.
When choosing your partner do some basic checks;
How long have they been trading?
How many assessors do they have on the ground and what is the geographical footprint they cover?
Check their web site, are there case studies and testimonials? If so, are they in your sector and even with your competitors?
Who are your points of contact in Sales, Account Management, Operations, Finance?
Can they demonstrate and articulate how they will take this key task and deliver to timelines and within budget constraints?
Finally, how will they report progress and provide feedback on issues?
Undertaking a project of works, across a large portfolio of diverse buildings is difficult and demanding. Getting the right person, to the right place, with the right access information and the right contact details, at the right time and date takes many hours of planning. The assessment is probably the smallest part of that chain of events but having the right infrastructure and reputation allows you to take one of the important tasks off the “to-do” list and be confident that the work is being done to a high standard and sympathetic to the ebbs and flows of your business.