Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Should a smoke alarm be a legal requirement in private rented accommodation?

This question formed part of a nationwide YouGov survey carried out for Cheshire fire and rescue service. Unsurprisingly 93% of survey respondents agreed that landlords in the private rental sector should be legally obliged to provide a working smoke alarm in their properties.

1 in 10 households do not have a working smoke alarm

Very successful public awareness campaigns over the past decade to raise the importance of having a working smoke alarm at home, has lead to a 90% uptake on smoke alarms in homes. However, there are still households which either have no alarm at all or do not test their smoke alarms regularly. Households with no means of being alerted to a house fire are 4 times more likely to die as a result of a house fire than households with a working smoke alarm.

Unfortunately, as great the success is, this still leaves a worrying 2.5 million homes without any smoke alarm protection. The research from the survey revealed that the main problem lies in the private rented sector with 1 in 5 private rented homes that do not have a working smoke alarm. This is double the findings of households in the social housing sector.

Get into the habit of testing your smoke alarm

If you do have a smoke alarm, it is important to test it.

One of our favourite campaigns which we play an active part in here at Fulcher Edwards is the social #testittuesday campaign. The idea behind #testittuesday is to raise awareness of the importance of testing your smoke alarm. To be sure a fire alarm is working effectively – whether it is battery or mains powered is to test it regularly. Ideally every week. No matter how long it is since you have tested your smoke alarm it is never too late to start!

Getting into the habit of testing your smoke alarm on a weekly basis could save your life – never depend on a smoke alarm beeping to inform you of a problem! Test it Tuesday is a great initiative to encourage householders to test their smoke alarms on a Tuesday.

Growing pressure on the Government to make working smoke alarms mandatory

In order to address the area where there is the greatest need, the Government have tabled a motion called the 10 minute rule which if approved will result in a working smoke alarm becoming a mandatory requirement in all privately rented properties.

There is wide spread support from this amongst the rental sector with the British Property Federation being in full support of the motion. In addition, the recently introduced Energy Act 2013 contains a clause which would allow for the motion to go ahead.

Smoke alarm costs

Smoke alarms do not have to be high cost. Simple battery powered smoke alarms with a 10 year battery life are very low cost and equate to around £1.50 per year when spread over the life of a battery. It is very low price to pay for a device that could save lives.

Landlords – know your obligations

Here at Fulcher Edwards, we are very active in promoting fire safety and indeed we have our own team of electricians in South East London who specialise in fire safety systems. We work with many landlords across the private rented sector who take the fire safety of their tenants very seriously.

As a landlord, you will be aware that there are different legal requirements between blocks of flats and houses with multiple occupation as against one property with one family living there. As such, it is not only essential that you are meeting the requirements, but the measures taken must also be effective in the event of a fire breaking out in the different property types.

We work with many landlords installing effective fire alarm systems in London that can be as simple or advanced as necessary. We design a system that will be best suit the needs of your rental properties. This can include advice on where best to place smoke alarm detectors along with the installation and maintenance of them to ensure you as a landlord comply with the current British standards.

And if you have a smoke alarm...

Make sure it works by testing it weekly. It is also worth ensuring the vents around the alarm are kept clear of dust and grime. A quick vacuum around it now and again will ensure your smoke alarm is working at its best.

Never remove a smoke alarm once it has been placed and never remove the batteries or obstruct the alarm by covering it with objects or paint.

If you suspect there is a problem with your smoke alarm – it is important to contact your landlord as soon as possible. Remember a fire alarm is there to protect you from the dangers of house fires. A good working smoke alarm should not bother you on a day to day basis, if it does please inform your landlord.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

How a commercial electrician in London can help your business

Keeping your employees happy is important if you are hoping for increased productivity and decreased recruitment costs. There are also legal requirements for the correct lighting to be installed in workplaces. It is important that when selecting an electrician to carry out work in the workplace or office that they have experience of carrying out such work.

What kind of work is carried out by commercial electricians?

As industrial and commercial electricians, we have over 30 years experience in carrying out commercial electrical work across London. This work can involve anything from PAT testing of appliances to lighting designs and installs. In fact, effective workplace lighting should never be underestimated. If you are a business owner looking to increase productivity in a big way, you need to be speaking to an electrician with commercial expertise.

When is the right time to replace office lighting?

Lighting in the office is more than just ceiling lights. Office lighting can consist of signage, promotional areas and emergency lighting. In hotels and leisure outlets, decorative lighting can make a difference to reception areas, hall ways, conference rooms and any area where customers can purchase goods. However lighting is far more than stylish features. Here at Fulcher Edwards we pride ourselves on creating and installing outstanding eye catching lighting systems. Lighting is essential for employee loyalty, customer comfort and of course energy efficiency and low cost maintenance.

If you haven't given much thought to workplace lighting in recent years, now is a great time to consult a qualified commercial electrician who can advise, design and install a lighting system which has great functionality and looks the part. Old inefficient lighting systems are costly to run and maintain and commonly lead to eye strain and discomfort amongst employees particularly if they work at computers.

What is the big deal about energy efficiency?

There is a lot of publicity at the moment about energy efficiency. Energy efficiency really does have viable benefits that will see your business achieve real savings – that could be invested elsewhere. Lighting makes up around 20% of the average business energy bill, so it is important that your lighting is not costing more than necessary.

Becoming energy efficient does not mean radical changes need to be made. A simple change over from halogen bulbs to LED for example will see instant savings being made.

Keeping up to date with changing technology and better performance

Many of the businesses we work with here at Fulcher Edwards seek cutting edge technology with performance. We specialise in designing and installing lighting and electrical installations that bring current workplace lighting up to date but which also looks good. To this end we ensure that all lighting we install in workplaces and retail units is adequate for the needs and is better designed for performance.

Of course lighting design and installation is much more than just screwing in bulbs. We work with many retro companies such as restaurants, shops and hotels. We often find during lighting upgrades that larger retro fittings are needed to produce adequate lighting for the building.

Where functional lighting is required such as in offices, it is possible to install fewer up to date light fittings by upgrading from old style florescent lighting.

Whatever lighting is decided upon, the aim is for increased comfort and reduced running costs. In turn, leading to increased productivity and consumer spending.

Using the right commercial electrician

To bring your commercial lighting project to fruition, it is important to find a commercial electrician who has the level of experience needed. In fact finding the right commercial electrician for your project will be key to its success. A commercial electrician needs to be able to make timely and helpful recommendations, work professionally and efficiently so as not to disrupt your business.

If you are looking for a 'one stop shop' for your lighting needs, then you need look no further. Our commercial electricians here at Fulcher Edwards will ensure that your commercial lighting design is completed by established, reliable, commercial electricians who understand the needs of your business.