Checkmate Fire, the supplier of passive fire solutions, appoints a regional manager, amid the firm’s expansion into Scotland. Having previously worked as a quantity surveyor at two passive fire specialists, Martyn Robinson brings over five years’ experience in managing commercial projects. He is set to head up Checkmate Fire’s expansion into Scotland. The firm’s launch into the region comes on the back of consistent year-on-year growth, underlining an outstanding period for the company. It is Checkmate’s fifth regional office throughout the UK. Passive fire protection services Martyn’s new role will involve securing and overseeing contracts across Scotland for the company’s comprehensive range of built-in passive fire protection services. He’ll also be responsible for the medium- to long-term recruitment of contract managers. Commenting on his new position, Martyn said, “I’m looking forward to leveraging my regional experience to launch Checkmate’s operations in Scotland. They have a UK-wide, renowned reputation within the industry and I’ve always admired their commitment to quality, which is well-aligned with my personal values.” Fire-Stopping products The expansion into Scotland is part of Checkmate Fire’s strategy to open offices across the length “I’ll be managing all enquiries from the concept stage, through to delivery. We also have plans set in motion to recruit additional team members, which will ensure our continued growth throughout the region.” The expansion into Scotland is part of Checkmate Fire’s strategy to open offices across the length and breadth of the UK, adding capacity and increasing the ability to serve clients more quickly and easily. Talking about his firm’s growth, Mark Williams, CEO of Checkmate said: “Unfortunately, if you pick up any local newspaper, on any given day, the likelihood is that there’ll be a story about a fire. They can so easily happen, and yet, if a building has the right processes and fire-stopping products in place, they can be easily-managed.” Commercial passive fire solutions “More and more organizations are realizing the vital importance of improving the safety of their buildings, so the demand for our services is always on the rise. We’re here to safeguard people, and therefore our growth can only be a positive thing for the UK public. The move to the north is a natural progression for Checkmate, driven by the national contracts that we’ve secured, so it makes sense to develop our presence in the region.” Established in 1989, Checkmate Fire also has a compliance division which improves building safety and a solutions department which specializes in the accredited installation of residential and commercial passive fire solutions. Its other offices are based in West Yorkshire, Harlow, Swindon and Leicester.
Checkmate Fire Solutions, the passive fire protection specialist in the UK, is relocating its south-east office to larger premises in Harlow as a result of ongoing growth. The Yorkshire-headquartered business has been running its operations across the whole of southern England from an office in Dunmore, Essex. However, with demand for Checkmate’s compliance and third-party accredited installation services increasing, it is now implementing an expansion plan for the region. The first part of the plan will see it move from Dunmore in September 2018 to a bigger site in Harlow, from where it will service its customers in London and the south-east. It will then open a new office base for its operations in the south-west of England the following month. Making workplace and living spaces safer Improved passive fire protection makes workplaces and living spaces safer for everyone who works, sleeps in or visits those buildings, and that has to be a good thing" Mark Williams, Checkmate’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Estate managers and business owners now take passive fire protection more seriously than ever before, so it is natural that so many of them have chosen to appoint Checkmate’s teams of third-party accredited specialists for inspections, installations and remediation work. “We’ve seen orders from facilities management contractors, NHS trusts, universities, housing associations and commercial property owners in the south grow sharply over the past couple of years, so we have had to expand our presence in the region. “This increased focus on fire safety among property managers and owners is not just good for Checkmate, it is also a real positive for the public. Improved passive fire protection makes workplaces and living spaces safer for everyone who works, sleeps in or visits those buildings, and that has to be a good thing.” Providing consultation and inspection services Checkmate's services include passive fire specification consultancy, fire door inspections and fire compliance surveysCheckmate was established in Yorkshire as a supplier and installer of fire stopping in 1989 and has since grown into the UK’s largest passive fire protection specialist. From its headquarters in Elland and offices in Birmingham and the south of England, it now operates two divisions - compliance and solutions. The compliance division helps businesses and public sector organisations to improve the safety of their buildings and meet their legal requirements related to RRO and all other relevant regulations. Its services include passive fire specification consultancy, fire door inspections and fire compliance surveys, complete with associated certification and recertification services. Checkmate’s solutions division specialise in third-party accredited installation of fire stopping, fire doors and fire-resistant glazing in new builds, extensions, refurbishments and sites requiring remedial work. Its fully-trained teams have experience of undertaking complex projects in tall buildings (both residential and commercial), hospitals, universities and schools, industrial and office buildings.
The publication of the long-awaited Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, commissioned by the Government following the Grenfell Tower fire, saw Dame Judith Hackitt propose far-reaching changes that aim to ‘fix the system’ not just problems with specific products. As a renowned supplier of passive fire protection solutions, actively working in the areas of high rise residential buildings (HRRBs), as well as throughout the NHS and care homes, Checkmate Fire was keen to see what measures had been recommended; and in particular whether they would include a detailed and workable set of regulations for fire safety. high-rise residential buildings According to Dame Hackitt, a fundamental issue to date has been an indifference and ignorance which has led to cost being prioritized over safety. In addition to calling for the introduction of a regulator, she stressed the need for cultural change to ensure fire safety measures are considered early in the design process for new builds. At the heart of this report are the principles for a new regulatory framework which will drive real culture change" “At the heart of this report are the principles for a new regulatory framework which will drive real culture change and the right behaviors. We need to adopt a very different approach to the regulatory framework covering the design, construction and maintenance of high-rise residential buildings which recognizes that they are complex systems where the actions of many different people can compromise the integrity of that system.” Dame Hackitt. expert passive fire protection Checkmate Fire CEO, Mark Williams, said: “Those tasked with responsibility for ensuring fire safety in commercial, public and large residential buildings, and compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and Building Regulations Part B, face major issues with fire stopping and fire doors specified and installed during the build process that are critical to the overall safety of the building." "Problems often start during the fit-out stage, when specialist products are typically installed by skilled joiners and general contractors, who are not necessarily aware of the exact requirements for those fire protection measures. Trying to reduce costs by not using expert passive fire protection contractors often results in the right UKAS-accredited products being fitted but in a way that does not meet the requirements for effective compartmentation." fire protection measure "This situation is rarely picked up before handover, in part because work can be self-certified by sub-contractors. With the main contractor then satisfied that the work has been completed by a competent person, Building Control Officers do not check every fire protection measure and fire door to assess whether they are fit for purpose. The end result is that new buildings are being signed off for occupation despite the presence of unnecessary – and usually unnoticed – fire safety flaws.” Key issues identified in the Review included: Ignorance – regulations and guidance are not always read by those who need to, and when they do the guidance is misunderstood and misinterpreted. Indifference – the primary motivation is to do things as quickly and cheaply as possible rather than to deliver quality homes which are safe for people to live in. Some of those undertaking building work fail to prioritize safety, using the ambiguity of regulations and guidance to game the system. Lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities – there is ambiguity over where responsibility lies, exacerbated by a level of fragmentation within the industry, and precluding robust ownership of accountability. Inadequate regulatory oversight and enforcement tools – the size or complexity of a project does not seem to inform the way in which it is overseen by the regulator. Where enforcement is necessary, it is often not pursued. Where it is pursued, the penalties are so small as to be an ineffective deterrent. Fire protection products Even at the interim report stage deep flaws were identified in the current system including a door marketed as a 30-minute fire door failing prior to 30 minutes when tested. This revealed significant concerns around quality assurance and the ability to trace other fire doors manufactured to that specification. As a result, Dame Hackitt made recommendations with regard specifically to products used throughout the lifecycle of a building that have a critical impact on its safety. These include: A clearer, more transparent and more effective specification and testing regime of construction products must be developed. Clearer and more effective product specification and testing – specifically that manufacturers must retest products that are critical to the safety of HRRBs at least every three years, and be subject to independent third party certification. A simpler, more streamlined set of standards relating to testing of products used in HRRBs, and the health and safety of people in and around those buildings. The construction products industry should work together to develop and agree a consistent labelling and traceability system. For HRRBs to have a dedicated duty holder responsible for safety of the whole building, both during the design and construction phase and the occupation phase, and for keeping up-to-date records. passive fire protection systems The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP), of which Checkmate Fire is a member, broadly welcomed the findings; in particular the desire to place a greater emphasis on considering fire safety early in the design process and the suggestion to implement mandatory third-party certification. Mr. Williams backed the ASFP’s position and further emphasized the importance of proper installation and maintenance of passive fire protection measures, along with the benefits of comprehensive record keeping. Mr. Williams further emphasized the importance of proper maintenance of passive fire protection measures He said: “Incomplete asset registers, particularly when it comes to detailing fire doors, are a major frustration for those involved in the inspection of passive fire protection systems. How can any planned inspection and maintenance regime manage the hundreds of fire doors on a site such as a large residential tower block without a comprehensive register?" legionella risk assessments "Implementing a proper inspection and maintenance program is a big ongoing job and one that is difficult to simply add into the mix of competing priorities for the general on-site maintenance team. Safety schemes such as asbestos management, electrical compliance and legionella risk assessments usually involve the use of specialists; shouldn’t maintenance of passive fire protection systems merit the same level of importance and resource?" "Getting your passive fire protection strategy right is paramount; it has been proven time and again to save lives and protect the integrity of multi-occupancy buildings. Moves that will help to persuade – and where necessary, mandate – constructors, property owners and managers to design, implement and maintain the right strategies for their buildings are both welcome and long overdue.”