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Client Alarm Court case

Vince Payne Head of Fire Safety at Clear

Vince Payne Head of Fire Safety

Thursday, 23rd March 20233 min read

Reason for contacting Clear

The client was in a legal dispute with an alarm contractor following their refusal to pay for substandard and incorrect installations over a long period of time.

The client maintained that incorrect grade and incorrect category alarms had been fitted to their properties.

In many cases a system had been fitted in a setting where such an alarm was not relevant, for example in a ‘Stay Put’ property.

The client had been charged a considerable amount of money for the above service.

Problems/issues identified by Clear

The alarms works had been carried out over a period of at least six years. During this timeframe, there had been significant changes to the relevant British Standards and other additional guidance, resulting in a system which did not reflect the most up-to-date fire protection recommendations.

With an impending court case looming, Clear’s role as an independent and unbiased assessor was time critical.

In addition, Clear identified a complicated interaction between the client’s internal fire management system and contractor management; this had resulted in the delivery of sub-standard fire risk assessments and an absence of any demonstrable audit trail.

The client was at risk of paying out a significant amount of money for unsatisfactory – and non-compliant - works.

The Clear Response

Clear liaised with the various departments / department heads, on behalf of the client, and also attended regular progress meetings.

Clear created a comprehensive, live, online system database which provided the opportunity to include details of each installation, the relating fire risk assessment, comments within the client's management system, the type of system installed and the type that should have been installed. The client had full access to updates as Clear carried out the desktop review which helped to quickly identify and answer queries.

Clear interacted on numerous occasions with the client’s legal team.

Clear provided an overview of fire protection best practice, cross-referencing the application of different British Standards and various additional guidance sources over the years.

End result

Following Clear’s input and the resulting audit trail which provided independent and credible evidence of the alarm contractor’s failings, the case was settled out of court. In addition to proving the culpability of the contractor, the satisfactory outcome represented a major financial saving and negated the need for an extended court case.

The client has subsequently asked Clear to look at a similar issue with a passive fire contractor.



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