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Building owners across UK ‘unaware of responsibilities to reduce fire risks’


BUILDING owners across the UK are counting the cost of fires in their properties as they are not fully aware of their responsibilities to reduce potential risks.

This is the opinion of one of the country’s leading cleaning specialists, Hy5 Commercial Cleaning, which is reminding owners of their obligations to implement procedures to reduce fire risks in their buildings.

The Fire Safety Reform Act put the legal responsibility of reducing related risks on the building owner or manager, but Anna Ellwood, the general manager of Hy5, said there was still a lot of unawareness of this as the number of enquiries for industry-required cleaning jobs of kitchen extraction systems doubled in the space of a year.

This spike in enquiries following the revelation that 70 per cent of fires in commercial kitchens start in the extraction systems.

Insurers are now advising building owners and managers to ensure they book industry best practice Building Engineering Services Competence Assessment (BESCA) Vent Hygiene Elite (VHE) TR19 cleaning jobs as insurance companies can only settle payments for fire damage caused by extraction systems if there is evidence that they have been cleaned to industry requirements.

Anna said: “More people than ever before are getting in touch saying their insurer has insisted they need a TR19 level clean to ensure they are adequately covered if the worst should ever happen.

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“There’s a lot of building owners and managers across the country unaware of the Fire Safety Reform Act putting the legal responsibility on to them and that has resulted in many being in the perilous position of not getting an insurance pay out to add to the losses of a fire in their building.

“It’s of paramount importance that extraction systems in all commercial kitchen settings are cleaned to the industry required standards, to reduce the risk of fire and also to protect the owner from being hit massively in the pocket.”

Cumbria-based Hy5 Commercial Cleaning is one of only a handful of companies in the UK with the necessary BESCA accreditation, and its team is warning businesses of the potential dangers of not adequately removing grease from their kitchen extraction systems.

The BESCA VHE has the backing of all major insurance providers across the UK, and the companies will only provide full fire cover to establishments which have been serviced by accredited technicians.

By cleaning the kitchen ventilation system to such a high standard, businesses remove contamination from the cooking processes to significantly reduce the fire risk presented, improve system performance and ensure the surrounding area is well ventilated.

As part of its commitment to adopting the highest standards across its work, Hy5 was recently accredited with the coveted ISO 9001 status. The accreditation is an internationally recognised standard for companies which can prove they have created, implemented and maintained a Quality Management System, ensuring customer satisfaction and improvement is of the highest importance.

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