This informal CPD article, ‘Why are we not protecting our valuable assets?', was provided by Business Sprinkler Alliance (BSA), established in 2010 as an alliance of fire safety professionals working to protect UK plc against fire.
Why are we not protecting our valuable assets?
The optimistic belief that a fire “will not happen to me” could explain why many businesses are not always considering the real impact of fire and its consequences. They can underestimate the direct financial impact on both the property and the business, and the time it takes to recover from a fire. This all can have an impact on business value over time. A business property that is well-protected in terms of fire protection and safety will have a far greater intrinsic value, yet the ‘market’ does not seem to value this.
Looking at the value of a property, it’s important to think about performance over time. We use metrics, data and evaluations to do this. However, how does this include considering risk and events that may happen, like fire? An EPC rating by comparison is required whenever a property is built, sold and rented and seen as a key indicator of energy efficiency of a building and energy costs. The lack of a rating would be questioned and the value of the property is impacted if the information isn’t provided.
When it comes to fire safety, there are no fire safety ratings of buildings and if fire safety information is not available, this does not always lead to questions. It should do and this is perhaps a more prominent item for certain buildings today. There are moves afoot for selected buildings to have such information through the provision of what has been termed a Golden Thread. However, this needs to spread to a wider set of buildings. Fundamentally we need to be asking how the building delivers fire safety and is protected against such events, and where is the information to support this? This should become a valuable piece of information for any owner and similarly have a negative impact on the value if not provided across all buildings.
For example, if one office block has sprinklers, fire alarms, documented maintenance, plans etc and another doesn’t have sprinklers then the sprinkler-protected building is clearly worth more. If nothing else it has more equipment. The value of that equipment can be seen functionally but it is also an investment in terms of fire safety and protection of the property over time. A sprinkler investment means that if there is a serious fire event, then you're likely to have more of that asset left afterwards. A well-protected property therefore has an intrinsic value.