Annual Emergency lighting inspections, why do so many contractors carry out this life safety service for just over the minimum wage? Normally as a loss leader whilst doing something else at the same time? It’s not being done properly.
And they often do it in an hour or less? This means they miss so much and are not complying with the regulations. Or the regulatory fire safety order, which is LAW, and has just been updated in the light of Grenfell, with far harsher sentences and legal responsibilities.
A proper annual inspection involves driving to the site say a minimum of an hour, checking the log books, walking the site to inspect the fittings, anything from 20 mins to an hour to confirm everything, completing the log book then driving back from the site to complete the paperwork, it does not matter if it is 1 light or 40 lights on a small site more than that can take days, it still requires you to identify every light and its location, then shut them down for a minimum of 3 hours then re-energise and re-walk the site to ensure they are all backup and charging before leaving, then complete the log books and sign off the inspection, return to your office and produce the certificate to then be sent to the client.
If done properly this can and does take 8-10 hours to complete on a small system larger ones can take days of work, yet I see it being done all the time for £120-150 per site which is impossible if done correctly.
However, it’s important to note that the practices I am describing are not only unethical but also potentially dangerous. Emergency lighting inspections are a critical aspect of ensuring the safety of buildings, and cutting corners can have serious consequences in the event of an emergency, they are a life safety system and fall under some very strict laws, which have very high fines attached to them for failure to carry it out properly, which includes those people ordering it ensuring it has been done properly now.
With that said, it’s possible that some unscrupulous firms may cut corners during an emergency lighting inspection in order to complete the job quickly and cheaply. Here are some potential shortcuts they might take: and I have seen all of them done over the decades. in the industry
- Not conducting a thorough inspection: Instead of checking every individual emergency fitting and ensuring they’re in working order, some firms might simply visually inspect a few fittings and sign off on the inspection without actually testing them.
- Skipping the three-hour drain down: as I mentioned, a three-hour drain down is required for emergency lighting inspections to ensure that the emergency lights will function for the required amount of time during a power outage. However, some firms might skip this step to save time.
- Not updating the logbook: The logbook is an important record of when the emergency lighting system was last inspected and any issues that were found. Some firms might not update the logbook or may falsify the information in it to make it appear that the inspection was more thorough than it actually was.
- Issuing a fraudulent certification: Finally, some firms might issue a fraudulent certification to the building owner or manager to make it appear that the inspection was conducted properly, and the emergency lighting system is in good working order when it is not.
Overall, it’s important to work with a reputable and trustworthy firm for your emergency lighting inspections to ensure that your building/s and its occupants are safe in the event of an emergency.
If you want it done properly you have to pay for the amount of time it actually takes the case LAW clearly shows that no court will accept a cheap price as an acceptable excuse to not do it properly.
If you want it done properly, please use competent engineers and companies with the knowledge to do it properly, not we can do it for £150 for each site as you’re giving us 100 site merchants.
Go out with them and see what they are doing, and do spot checks on them, safety is not cheap neither are people’s lives but “if you are complaining about the price of safety as your reason to try and get a cheaper cost, then try having an accident and see how much that costs”?
I will remind you that the HSE I believe now charge £ 166 per hour for an investigation and it’s coming out of your pocket, a simple investigation for say 1 week can set you back over £6,640 and if you have multiple sites and they think it’s warranted to investigate because of the shoddy practices they have just found, that can run into tens of thousands of pounds, which is enough to destroy many businesses.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten”.
If you want it done properly come to us and discuss your requirements, it’s common sense to get it done right 1st time.