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PSIFebruary2017

PANEL “Would we

PANEL “Would we benefit from having licensed or approved installers in the security industry? YES. I think this would be great idea” 30 (from previous page) scheme may prevent non-approved personnel from carrying out the work but would it stop them? With this in mind, for licensing to be successful and practical, it perhaps should become a legal requirement regulated by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) with consequences for unlicensed persons who install a system. This would bring our industry in line with other regulated services such as Gas Safe Register. Consideration would need to be given to the verification / approval process and the associated costs. Introducing a secondary licensing scheme in addition to current accreditation processes could be costly and difficult to achieve for smaller businesses, establishing an unfair advantage to larger businesses that have the resources (financial and personnel) to achieve it. Stephen Adams - BAFE For many years third party certification of fire and security companies has set the benchmark for the quality design, installation and maintenance of systems. Within that framework it has always been assumed that companies will train and develop staff to provide the best service and up to date skills, supported by a number of excellent training organisations. Whilst there are non certificated companies offering adequate fire and security services, third party certification is the only reliable means of ensuring competence. BAFE has a scheme which assesses and monitors the competence of portable extinguisher technicians which ensures not only that they have a basic level of competence in line with the standards, but also that they have received appropriate training and importantly, refresher training. With the development of new technologies and skills now is the right time for another look at the need for a register of fire and security technicians, especially those responsible for design, commissioning and maintenance. Certainly correct installation is also vital, but there are separate areas in this from the straightforward cable running to complex detector installation which will have to be defined. We should also celebrate the training and development of apprentices, which is being so strongly encouraged now and give them qualifications to which they can aspire. The security industry has for many years had quality third party certification at the heart of the drive to reduce false activations and the initiatives with the Police have had a significant effect on this problem. The fire industry is now considering similar initiatives and we should perhaps consider the quality certification of companies, individual installations and the technicians involved. David Davies - DVS Would we benefit from having licensed or approved installers in the security industry? YES. I think this would be great idea to introduce such a scheme in the near future. The increased use of social media within the security and fire industry means we are increasingly seeing images of poor and not to spec installations that have been rushed, poorly finished and maintained, and this reflects baldly on us all at some point. If we go back to when I trained as a young lad, we had to do a three-year on the job and college based apprenticeship where I was taught everything from conduit work , dressing cables, and even how to clean up after yourself. This instilled a strong work ethic and pride in the quality of the work being performed. Ultimately, the end result is a high quality, well presented, to standard installation, where engineers where extremely proud of their work. I’m sure I’m not the only one who used to stand back and admire a good installation job? Having certified engineers can only be good for everyone,if you’re the customer you will expect your provider to be knowledgable and provide a high quality installation. If you’re the employer you will benefit from high levels of workmanship withless time spent on revisits and most likely, more referral work. As an industry we would benefit from improved knowledge and skills. I think this would make the industry safer, more www.psimagazine.co.uk

professional and attract good levels of engineers into the field. There will always be pressure on costs and to perform more work in less time so I see such a scheme as playing an important role in maintaining minimum standards within the industry. Andy Rainforth - Grosvenor Technology While it is both a laudable and obvious goal for standards of installation to raise over time there is an argument that broader regulation would diminish consumer choice. In the domestic market particularly, given the trend for plug and play connectivity, increasing prices to market (which would be a side-effect of any broadened, mandatory licensing or regulation) would increase the potential for those consumers favouring a lower cost option to adopt a DIY approach thus further lowering standards. Another challenge of compulsory regulation would be that the whole gambit of installers, from odd-job men to top end Systems Integrators would be covered under a blanket of grey, rather than the black and white segregation that exists today. Whatever viewpoint one takes, the question becomes moot when we consider that whatever our preferences, the situation is not likely to change any time soon. Perhaps the real question should be how the professional end of the market better differentiates itself to make the choice more obvious for the business client and domestic user alike. Many installers do a great job of this, leveraging their reputation and brand to win and retain business by clearly distinguishing themselves from the non-accredited competition but I believe manufacturers and distributors need to do more to help. Those manufacturers selling direct to installers could choose to trade only with SSAIB or NSI accredited companies. Distributors could adopt a similar approach, or at least better define what they consider to be ‘professional installers’. Their ‘trade only’ approach doesn’t mean much when they don’t stipulate what trades they will sell to. Manufacturers with too many wholesalers is another problem as the situation becomes exacerbated. Products available to everyone drives prices down and increases credibility to non-accredited installers. Unfortunately, some manufacturers would prefer to chase additional profits rather than promote professional installation companies. www.psimagazine.co.uk Simon Banks - CSL The fire and security industry is already strongly regulated with accreditation and certification bodies such as the BSIA, NSI and SSAIB. Pushing more regulation towards installation companies may add needless strains. Businesses are already stretched with the challenges of technology advancement and an ever increasing skills gap. European standards principally legislate equipment, with many more regulations and documents delving further into procedures and competency. Installers are currently subject to security screening such as BS7858. This British Standard states: “individuals to be employed in an environment where the security and/or safety of people, goods and services, personal data or property is a requirement.” It seems to be more of a question of professionalism and experience which I believe is consistently high throughout our sector. We cannot hide from the fact that we are lacking in skilled engineers to ensure that we have enough skilled labour to install the latest technologies to the hottest standards. Apprentices need to be attracted to our sector and then equipped with the skills outlined within the new government Trailblazer Standard. The new intake joining the industry will not only advance skills and knowledge but also help to develop the standard of progressively complex installations. Increasing installer regulation could take a decade to implement and may distract our (continued over) “Mandating installation companies to adhere to even more regulation could add unnecessary strains. Businesses are already stretched..” 31

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