Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Aico is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

National Sales Manager
Aico headquarters
Aico is the UK market leader in domestic fire and carbon
monoxide protection. Throughout its history, it has led
the way in providing innovative solutions and achieved
numerous industry firsts in fire and carbon monoxide life safety
products. Aico’s ethos, which is focused on education, quality,
service and innovation, has provided the foundation for continued
growth and the delivery of safer homes in a turbulent and
challenging environment. National Sales Manager Steve Trafford
tells the
more about the workings of the company.
In addition to supplying high-quality alarms, of which we supplied 4.5 million in
2019, our ethos led to the 2009 launch of our complementary training initiative for
professionals within the fire, gas, electrical and compliance industries to facilitate
learning and a more unified approach. This modular training scheme has now
developed and expanded into a CPD-accredited training programme encompassing
legislation, regulations and technological advancements to facilitate the sharing of
best practice within the aforementioned industries. Our training scheme is being
further expanded with the incorporation of an online community-based platform
encouraging learning, development and networking between professionals, to
discuss and provide solutions to pertinent issues.
The approach to fire protection is changing
New legislation and regulatory updates have had considerable impact upon our
operations, primarily the 2019 amendment to the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987.
This change in legislation in Scotland has come in direct response to issues raised
»National Sales Manager:
Steve Trafford
»Established in 1990
»Based in Oswestry, Shropshire
»Services: Domestic fire and
carbon monoxide protection
»No. of employees: 68
Highlighting best practice
in matters of fire protection, with a
proposed two-year time constraint and
requirement for all properties to have
an interconnected fire alarm system.
The alarm system will comply if
interconnected wirelessly or via
traditional cabling methods and can
comprise either mains-powered or
battery-powered alarms, providing
they have a long-life, tamper-proof
battery. The legislative requirements
now stipulate that every property in
Scotland, whether socially or privately
owned, must have adequate fire
protection: smoke alarms on each storey
and in the principal habitable room,
and heat alarms installed in kitchens.
In making this landmark change to the
Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, Scotland
are leading the way in creating safer
communities and providing a benchmark
for the rest of the UK to follow.
The wireless interconnection of alarms
is enabling landlords and social housing
providers to make urgent improvements
in their properties at pace and with
minimal disruption to tenants. Wireless
interconnection between alarms is a
feature that we have pioneered with
our patented RadioLINK technology.
First launched in 2003, this technology
provided the foundation and acted
as a catalyst for the development of
our radio frequency technology, by
moving beyond interconnection and
bringing data to the forefront. Our
alarm system management tool the
SmartLINK Gateway, which is the
latest advancement in this technology,
addresses some of the recent concerns
regarding fire protection, in particular
facilitating the integration of alarm
system data across housing stock.
The revision to the British Standard
BS 5839-6 has also been a positive
change and one of noteworthy impact.
The revised BS 5839-6:2019 laid out
amendments to best practice in fire
alarm requirements across properties
and revised gradings to alarms
themselves, both mains powered and
battery powered.
These new recommendations detail
that in some circumstances, such as
houses of multiple occupancy and
rented housing, properties should now
be equipped with mains-powered fire
alarms that have a long-life, tamper-
proof battery back-up as opposed to
a user-replaceable battery back-up,
which was sufficient previously. The
revision also states that the level of
protection in rented housing should
be increased to cover kitchens and the
principal habitable room.
Resident safety and
challenging the status quo
When discussing challenges within our
industry and with recurring themes of
risk ownership and the golden thread
of business information management,
questions are being asked and debated
around all forms of fire protection and
the associated building management.
As was pervasive within the Hackitt
Review, the need to treat buildings
as complete and coherent systems is
clear. Therefore, the need to have a
platform on which to discuss this and
find a way forward is vital. As a result,
we took action and worked on linking
a vast network of knowledge, with
the common thread of tenant safety
The Resident Safety
Campaign launch at CIH
Housing Manchester
As was
within the
Hackitt Review,
the need to
treat buildings
as complete
and coherent
systems is clear
The Resident Safety
Campaign aims to
increase awareness,
promote best
practice and share
practical advice
at its core, under the umbrella of the
Resident Safety Campaign, which came
at a febrile time for social landlords –
who are Aico’s main stakeholders.
With widely publicised concerns
about safety, trust between landlords
and tenants is at an all-time low, but
communication between the two has
never been more important. It is also
a political priority: in the government’s
recent Social Housing Green Paper,
better communications on matters
of safety was a primary issue. It was
hoped that the campaign could reach
both landlords and tenants, with the
challenge being to start the conversation
and also encourage solutions, against
a changing backdrop of ongoing
investigations and government policy.
Legislative reform
Currently in England and Wales,
requirements surrounding carbon
monoxide are outlined in building
regulations that stipulate that where
a new or replacement fixed solid
fuel-burning appliance is installed, a
carbon monoxide alarm should also
be fitted. This specificity of ‘solid fuel’
is lacking in terms of the applications
to gas appliances, whereas the British
Standard BS EN 50292 recommends
that any fuel-burning appliance should
be covered by a carbon monoxide
alarm, although this is recommended
best practice and not legislative.
This demonstrates the incoherence in
requirements for carbon monoxide
protection. The amendment to
the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987
encompasses carbon monoxide
protection in the provisions set out
in the legislative reform, stating that
a carbon monoxide alarm must be
fitted in any room with a fuel-burning
appliance. This is an exemplary
move in bringing carbon monoxide
awareness to the fore and aligning the
requirements of building regulations
and BS EN 50292 with legislation.
Looking to the future, there is a clear
requirement for the legislative reform
implemented in Scotland to be echoed
in the rest of the UK in order to more
closely follow the recommendations
of the British Standards, because, as
highlighted, there is significant room
for improvement in both fire and
carbon monoxide protection. We will
strive to continue to be the market
leader in home life safety, pioneering
new technologies to cater for
advancements in the connected home,
promote best practice and ultimately
deliver safercommunities.
There is a clear
requirement for
the legislative
implemented in
Scotland to be
echoed in the
rest of the UK
An Aico Expert Installer
trained professional
installing a Multi-Sensor
The flagship 3000 Series with alarm system
management tool the SmartLINK Gateway

This article was sponsored by Aico. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy