Articles by John Allam
The fire industry has made it absolutely clear, led by authorized bodies including the BAFE Fire Safety Register, that the current pandemic does not remove the need to comply with any fire safety requirements under the Building Regulations. As we now look beyond the lockdown period, John Allam, Operations Director at Amthal Fire and Security reviews the raft of new proposals demonstrating the Government and industry’s commitment to compliant fire safety and new immediate demands placed on responsible persons. Multi-Occupancy residential buildings Whilst the second phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been put on hold until July at the earliest over coronavirus restrictions, the government has continued its quest to effect change and bring the Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill into legislation. While the Building Safety Bill will ‘place new and enhanced regulatory regimes for building safety and construction products’, both bills aim to strengthen the ‘whole regulatory system’ for both building and fire safety. The Fire Safety Bill will apply to England and Wales, to amend the Fire Safety Order 2005 and seeks to clarify responsibility for reducing fire risk in multi-occupancy residential buildings. The details of the Fire Safety Bill, which has now had its second reading in the House of Commons, includes recommendations of regular inspections of lifts and sprinkler systems for buildings over 11m tall. Quarterly fire door inspections Building owners will now face ‘enforcement action’ from emergency services if they do not manage fire risk Significantly, it also introduces compulsory quarterly fire door inspections, which is a hugely significant development in its own right, to influence an industry where this is no specific legislation that requires fire doors to be checked. The Fire Safety Bill intends to ensure evacuation plans are reviewed, regularly updated and communicated to residents in a ‘form that they can be reasonably be expected to understand.’ And it highlights the importance of individual flat entrance doors, where the external walls of the building have unsafe cladding, comply with current standards. This will play a key part in increasing residents’ fire safety, whereby building owners will now face ‘enforcement action’ from emergency services if they do not manage fire risk in a building’s structure. Improving the fire safety of buildings In addition, the government is consulting with the National Fire Chiefs Council to begin testing evacuation alert systems for high-rise blocks of flats, which could support fire and rescue services’ operational response by alerting residents if they need to escape. The National Fire Chiefs Council to begin testing evacuation alert systems for high-rise blocks of flats The new program will be governed by a Building Safety Regulator (BSR) that will initially be led by Dame Judith Hackitt during the set up phase, who will be tasked with improving the fire safety of buildings. Launched by The RT Hon Robert Jenrick MP Secretary Of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, he cited the new program as taking, “Ambitious steps to further reform the building safety system with the biggest changes in a generation to ensure residents are safe in their homes.” He added: “This new regime will put residents’ safety at its heart, and follows the announcement of the unprecedented £1 billion fund for removing unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings in the budget.” Major regulatory decisions The BSR will be responsible for all major regulatory decisions made at key points during design, construction, occupation and refurbishment of buildings. And such decisions and obligations must be upheld and maintained throughout a development’s life. The new safety case regime will apply not only to new buildings, but also to buildings that are already in use" In Dame Judith’s own words: “When introduced by the new regulator, the new safety case regime will apply not only to new buildings, but also to buildings that are already in use and occupied. If those buildings were built to poor standards in the past, it will not be the case that you can simply say ‘well it complied with building regulations at the time’. The test will be different. The test will be ‘is this building safe to be occupied?’ and, if not, what are you going to do to improve it?’ … People will be asked to think about what they can do, what is reasonable and what is practicable to do in order to improve the safety of a given building.” Regulating the fire safety industry Both Hackitt and the Government want the BSR to be set up in shadow form before the Building Safety Bill becomes law. The plan is to put the bill before Parliament by the autumn, despite the challenges thrown by the Pandemic. The new legislation proposed by Government will undoubtedly ensure that buildings and those that live and work in them are maintained to be fire safe. In the words of BAFE CEO Stephen Adams: “The time is right to help better regulate the fire safety industry to change end user behavior and create a UK that's safer from the devastating effects of fire.” As BAFE further attests, as lockdown measures begin to be lifted, there will be a need for the competent maintenance of fire safety systems/provisions and fire risk assessment work. Fire doors and risk assessments Amthal is working closely with building owners and managers across the UK to deliver the benefits of safer environment This means for those who own or manage residential buildings, will soon be ‘held into account’ if they do not ensure fire safety in their buildings, and the requirements will impact further on costs and resource allocation, for investigating buildings and ensuring compliance. There is a definite sense to be proactive in acceptance of the new impending legislation. But the concern cited amongst building owners is the industry’s ability to undertake the volume of assessments required, given the lack of current lack of specific legislation on specific elements such as fire doors and risk assessments, together with the steep expectations for fire strategy and evacuation plans. Amthal is working closely with building owners and managers across the UK to deliver the benefits of safer environment within a holistic fire safety approach. Working in partnership, means taking the time to understand the implications of the Government’s Fire Safety Bill, alongside the implications of the Building Safety Bill and BSR program. This way, we can ensure responsible persons confidently achieve all operational requirements for the ultimate benefit of residents’ peace of mind.
Amthal is celebrating its 20th birthday with the launch of a specialist logo, dedicated to showcasing its fast-growing, evolutionary journey to becoming a fire and security specialist. Launched in 2000 by close friends John Allam and Paul Rosenthal, Amthal now has over 60 members in the team and operates on a nationwide basis providing design, installation, maintenance and monitoring services across all commercial, public sector and residential sectors. In 2008, Jamie Allam joined the management team to become Commercial Director and created the structure to drive an ambitious growth plan, incorporating all aspects of the business, from operations, through sales and commercial targets. Since 2019, a dedicated Senior Management Team has been created to manage day-to-day operations, including team members from across the business, some of which began their Amthal journey as apprentices. fire and security services We are very excited to reach our 20th anniversary and wanted a special way to celebrate our year" Says Jamie: “Since we opened our doors in 2000, the economy and the challenges our clients face have evolved dramatically and our business has always taken a proactive approach. We have continued on our dynamic journey, transforming the way we work to operate as a total solutions provider for clients, to deliver full fire and security services." "We are very excited to reach our 20th anniversary and wanted a special way to celebrate our year, which reflected our mission, vision and values, both to our incredible team and our customers. The logo was created by providing keywords we associate with Amthal, such as ‘Strength,’ ‘Diversity,’ ‘Understanding’ and ‘Trustworthy,’ alongside recognizing our commitment to smart solutions and latest technology.” advanced electronic fire & security solutions The logo will now be appearing across all social media channels and marketing material, and marks the start of the celebrations through the year, culminating in an anniversary event on Amthal’s actual birthday, 14th November 2020. Independently owned, Amthal Fire & Security is dedicated to satisfying end user needs for security, safety and convenience offering design, installation, service and remote monitoring of advanced electronic fire & security solutions, including intruder, Fire, Access and CCTV systems. Amthal Fire & Security is accredited by the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) and British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE.)
Fire and security specialist Amthal, has welcomed the third generation of the Allam family, to join the business under the company’s successful apprenticeship scheme. Luke Allam, son of founder and Operations Director John Allam, has started as an Apprentice Engineer, working closely with the team to progress seamlessly into the company strategy. Course In Fire Emergency, And Security Systems Says Luke: “Amthal has always been part of my life, and when the opportunity of work experience was presented, I grasped the chance to see what it was ‘all about,’ and understand the commitment of the Allam family to the business. It was clear to see and I had a great time working in such a positive environment that I wanted to stay and learn more, which the Apprenticeship scheme now provides.” Luke will be shadowing the established company services, learning about design, installation and monitoring The Level 3 Apprenticeship course in Fire Emergency, and Security Systems is delivered by a combination of JTL Training college-based classroom learning and ‘on the job’ training, mentored by Amthal’s experienced team of engineers. All works and progress are monitored externally. Luke will be shadowing the established company services, learning about design, installation and monitoring of latest smart solutions, including intruder, CCTV, Access Control and Fire Systems for residential and commercial applications. Decision And Commitment To Amthal John Allam concluded: “Naturally I’m delighted and very proud to welcome Luke on board as the next generation ‘Allam’ joining our family business. Luke joining was his decision and commitment to Amthal after doing work experience in the summer. “We see as parents and as a company supporter of apprenticeships, there has been a significant change in attitudes towards vocational learning. This is reflected in the number of young people that are now choosing to go down this route as their ‘first choice’. Luke was determined from the outset and already making his own mark and identity on our engineering team.”