Managing Building Maintenance

Workmen and contractors can unintentionally set off automatic fire alarm systems by conducting work such as welding and using heating appliances, mowing and landscaping, and cleaning (steam and air blowers) and pest fumigation etc.

Check that all tradespersons who enter the building are conversant with (and have preferably signed) the building trade work policy.

Workers must all ensure they;

  • have hot work permits
  • cover detectors that could be affected by heat / smoke / dust
  • isolate zones/detectors that could be affected by heat / smoke / dust;
  • are aware of their liability
  • have permission to access/work in the building.

Strategies

  • Brief workers, contractors, and maintenance staff on how to work in the building with alarms and how the alarms work.
  • Introduce work permits that detail strict alarm isolation procedure to be adopted before any work is carried out on the premises.
  • Explain why and how the fire alarm detectors have to be isolated before starting work.
  • It may become necessary to cover detectors to avoid particles building up in the detector but note it is an unacceptable practice to cover them with plastic bags.
  • Nominate a person as a safety watch while the fire alarm zone is isolated.
  • Explain Essential Safety Provisions (ESP) purpose to all contractors.
  • Explain the role of the MFS Fire Communication Centre.
  • Explain the consequences of what will happen if an unwanted alarm activation occurs and what your business policy is for payment of a chargeable alarm.
  • Establish who is responsible for reinstating the alarm system upon the completion of work.
  • Make sure particular care is taken over the use of grinders and gas equipment as gases may drift to other non-isolated zones in the area - this could involve installing automatic closing doors for use in confined areas.
  • Ensure workers or contractors do not cut any fire alarm cabling.

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