Holborn fire highlights how vital emergency evacuation & business continuity plans are!

holborn fireThe fire which started as an electrical fault in a well maintained Victorian tunnel beneath the Kingsway on Wednesday 1st April burned until the Good Friday.  This fire damaged an eight-inch gas main, which ruptured further fuelling the fire resulting in flames and smoke coming out of manhole covers in the road above.  Modern technology proved itself in the use of infra-red images of hot spots from the National Police Air Service helicopter and live images in the tunnel using the Met Police’s explosives robot.

It caused about 5,000 people to evacuate from various buildings and roadways in the area and is estimated that approximately 100 businesses were affected as well as thousands of tenants.  UK Power stated that over 3,000 people were affected by the power outage that for some continued until Good Friday.

Although the London emergency services and UK Power Network, National Grid and local councils acted together very successfully to contain the fire and extinguish what could have been a disaster for London, it is a warning to all London’s businesses and managed properties to have plans in place to protect the occupants, their property and businesses.

What should be in place?

Firstly a Fire Risk Assessment followed by a Fire Emergency Plan; these ensure that all the risks involving possible fires have been identified, with control measures (either in place or planned) and a plan of how everyone’s safety will be ensured.  The Emergency Plan may have total evacuation, partial or to stay put until the Fire Brigade decide otherwise and importantly tested to be usable.  This is the responsibility of the person ultimately in charge of the building to make sure this is in place.

Secondly, what happens if the ‘event’ continues on for days, weeks or months?  This is where the Business Continuity Plan comes into play.  Scenarios such as this fire are planned out with business responses that enable the business to continue functioning until everything is restored.

If you do not have these in place for either your business or a managed property (with more than one dwelling) then you need one – call Jane for advice on 01279 810125 or email her at janep@dmgdelta.co.uk.

For details regarding our H&S services that we offer to clients then please click here.

Heat Network Regulations 2014

Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 – Fines are Imminent

These Regulations were introduced in December 2014 to provide regulation to a previously unregulated market place. Heat Suppliers (this could encompass Developers, Landlords and Managing Agents depending on the arrangements in place) have the responsibility to notify the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) about schemes

The scope of the regulations is extensive and we only provide a brief explanation on selected elements of the Regulations, focussing on metering and billing requirements. This we feel is particularly relevant as there are a considerable number of schemes where the metering technology is not delivering the expectations of the consumer and the need to receive regular and accurate charges for their energy usage.

The regulations require a meter to be installed to measure the heat, chill or hot water supplied from a district heat network to a building occupied by more than one final customer. Further, from 31 December 2016, separate metering is required for each final customer (unless it is not cost effective and technically feasible to do so – which need to be determined in accordance with schedule 1 of the regulations).

If a building is only occupied by one final customer then a heat supplier must install a meter to measure the heat, chill or hot water supplied, unless it is not cost effective and technically feasible to do so (again, this will need to be determined in accordance with schedule 1 of the regulations).

An exception to the above position is in the case of a newly constructed building supplied by a district heat network or where a building supplied by a district heat network undergoes “major renovation” which relate to the heating, cooling, ventilating, hot water or lighting services of that building. In those circumstances, the installation of meters to measure each final customer’s consumption of heat, chill and hot water is mandatory. A “major renovation” is regarded as where the total renovation cost of the “building envelope” (the integrated parts of the building which separate the interior and exterior) is more than 25{5ed8de397284fff0890b09705fecba98ee6912fd827c1533831814a9e337cd61} of the value of the building (excluding the value of the land).

If a heat supplier determines that the installation of meters is not cost effective and technically feasible then alternative measures need to be considered – such as the installation of heat cost allocators and thermostatic radiator valves. Where there is no meter, the cost effectiveness/feasibility must be re-assessed every 4 years.

Where meters are installed, the heat supplier must ensure that bills and billing information for the consumption of heating, cooling and hot water by the final customer are (1) accurate, (2) based on actual consumption and (3) compliant with the principles set out in Schedule 2 of the regulations. Schedule 2 requires information such as current energy prices, consumption information and contact information for organisations which provide information on energy efficiency measures to be provided with the bill.

Clearly, if bills are being produced without accurate metering information then they will not be accurate, based on accurate consumption nor compliant with the principles set out in schedule 2. If this happens after 30 April 2015, this will be a criminal offence, which may result in a fine upon conviction of up to £5,000.

The result being that, where a development is failing to provide accurate consumption data at a consumer level, then the Heat Supplier will be in breach, subject to criminal proceedings and a fine if convicted.

If you would like more information on this then please contact us on 01279 810100.

Are you using a competent Gas Safe company?

Gas is fundamentally unsafe yet used all over the UK in both domestic and commercial premises, but over the past 26 years the Regulations, Registers and best practices have improved, reducing the number of gas related incidents and more particularly the number of fatalities has fallen dramatically.

gas safeIn an effort to make gas safe the Gas Safe Register was created, it is not a voluntary register – all gas engineers have to be registered! CHECK the register for your Gas Engineer – it could be a life you save! www.gassaferegister.co.uk and click on the yellow text to check either a Business or an Engineer.

All of DMG Delta’s Gas engineers are Gas Safe registered, in various skill bases to ensure we have the skills to match our Client’s expectations and needs.  As a company we are registered with Gas Safe (registered number is 23956), which means that our management system is annually audited by Gas Safe.  We have passed this year with no non-conformities or recommendations identified, although we have made improvements to the system as part of our continuous improvement programme.

Using a Gas Safe registered contractor for your gas appliances and plant rooms not only ensures that you are compliant with the regulations, but also that the work undertaken will be completed by a very competent person who has undergone formal training in specific skill sets, leaving your premises safe and your equipment functioning longer due to excellent maintenance.

With over 30 years’ experience as heating engineers in both the domestic and commercial environment, DMG Delta Ltd is a company that really beats your expectations when it comes to plant room and domestic servicing, as well as installation work in the London area.  We work actively with you to make sure that your gas installations are and remain compliant and safe.

Keeping residents warm this winter

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With colder weather setting in and the chance of freezing temperatures this winter, one thing every Managing Agent needs to get right is heating. The demand on boiler plant and district heating rises as outside temperatures drop. Small faults can become big problems and older plant can struggle to cope. Yet residents in apartment blocks need reliable heating and hot water. So how can expectations be achieved?

The most important step is to put in place a regular maintenance schedule, tailored to the building. This planned maintenance helps prevent problems arising and prolong the life of assets such as boiler plant. By identifying and resolving issues before they happen, fewer call-outs are required which in turn cuts down costs, reducing residents’ bills.

Much of the older blocks have their original distribution systems. These are infrastructure items that need careful monitoring but are often forgotten.

Companies like DMG Delta, which specialise in block maintenance, work 24/7 to ensure that there are no surprises when it comes to winter heating. When problems are identified the company’s engineers are fully qualified and equipped to fix them first time in the majority of cases. This saves Managing Agents the time, hassle and cost of second and third visits.

As well as ensuring effective heating, buildings must comply with increasingly complex regulations. It’s critical that sites are serviced by fully compliant gas engineers, authorised to complete the necessary checks and issue the all important paperwork that shows that Managing Agents have met their legal obligations. With this kind of back-up, you have the reassurance that your engineers will know the latest rules, no matter how often they change. Engineers at DMG Delta are qualified to provide this service. Employees, quality and health & safety are fundamental so that the service residents and Managing Agents experience is what they’d expect and more.

Whilst technical excellence is a vital aspect of a high-performing maintenance service, of equal importance is the provision of a friendly help desk. Does your help desk really know you and your building and provide a maintenance service that exactly matches your needs?

Even with the best preventative work, problems can arise with heating and boiler plant. We advocate that 24 hour emergency support is a feature of all maintenance contracts. For our clients, an engineer is generally on site within a 2-hour time frame. This is a rapid response because when it comes to heating, we believe Managing Agents and their residents shouldn’t have to wait a moment longer. But not every maintenance company can react as quickly. So check your maintenance company’s approach and key performance indicators to see if they can get close to matching up.

Electricity - Friend or Foe?

In today’s age everyone has a house full of electrical gadgets, equipment and tools. We might hear folk moaning about the gadgets, especially when they plug2 stop working, but all in all we really are reliant on electricity – life without it would be hard!

There is no doubt that in the home electrical faults are the top cause of fires, which is the opposite of fires at work (this is because at work equipment and circuits get tested – at home they generally are not).

During 2011/12 there were 37,601 accidental fires of electrical origin and 244 deaths! Of this 11,954 were cooking appliances, 2,899 electrical supply, 1,083 washing machines and tumble driers, 767 lighting and 475 dishwashers!

What is not available is the number of fires caused by chargers overheating, there is certainly records of these being the cause of some fires.

I hope we all know the dangers of electricity and no-one has any of these culprits in their home – if you have then get rid today!

Faulty PlugEven extension boards are unsafe – quote I heard the other day – they are supposed to be a temporary solution not a permanent one! If you are going to have an extension board in situ for a length of time then make sure it is fused, and perhaps even surge protected into an RCD socket.

If you find a fault at home, but more especially at work then unless you are employed as a qualified electrician then you must not attempt to repair it! Either call an electrician or take it to the dump.

If you do see someone experiencing an electrical shock then you need to know what to do. The electricity will have found a route through the body to ground – don’t add yourself into this circuit!

DO NOT touch the person until you are sure the electricity is off, otherwise there will be two casualties.

Use something that is not conductive (a wooden broom would be good), to move the electrical items away from the person.

If they are conscious take them to hospital (even when they say they don’t need to), as electricity will track through the body until it finds ground. This could mean going through the heart – there may not be any pain or other symptoms but the organs could still be burnt.

If they are not conscious call 999 or 112 as this will be an emergency!

Overloaded Plug

Home safety is as important as office safety! 
Don’t get paranoid about electricity,
But do make sure you have control measures in place,
And know what to do to make your family safe!

DMG Delta - Site Surveys

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When an opportunity is received at DMG Delta we offer you a free site survey, carried out by one of our highly qualified and knowledgeable members of staff.

The site survey is part of our opportunity process that we feel is beneficial not only to us, but also to you!

When attending site our member of staff will record down full details of all assets on site, they take a full overview of the plant room and note any causes for concern.

A standard site survey will take between 1-2 hours dependent on the size of the building and the complexity of the plant on site, this also gives us the perfect opportunity to meet with the client direct and any on site staff e.g. Porters.

Once we have undertaken the site survey we can then compile an accurate and detailed proposed maintenance program for that site. If we feel that there are any projects works required, for example – boiler replacements then we can also issue you with a quote for these works.

Our aim at DMG Delta is to prolong the life of your assets on site, and we believe that providing you with a bespoke planned maintenance program is the first step in achieving this goal.

For further details, or to arrange your free site survey then please contact us on the following telephone number – 01279 810100.