H+H Fire

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by H+H Fire's best practice article

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 H+H Fire is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.hhfire.com

1H+H FIRE |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
Founder and Managing Director
Glenn Horton
Caspian Waterfront, Baku,
Azerbaijan
H
+H Fire provide fire engineering advice to a variety
of clients, including construction firms and blue-chip
developers. Glenn Horton founded the company in 2009,
having been in consultancy since 1999 and in the fire service
for 18 years prior to that. Unlike others in their sector, they
support their clients throughout the process of construction,
from design through to post-construction presentations on their
safety features. Glenn tells
The Parliamentary Review
about the
shortage of engineers both nationally and globally and calls for
visa rules to be relaxed to ease this crisis.
I founded the business in 2009 and currently run it with my wife. We have grown
and now have 19 staff, who supply large blue-chip developers and construction
companies with fire engineering advice. Central to our ethos is supporting the
client throughout the process, from design and construction to post-occupation.
This is relatively unique within our industry, and we are one of the few to do this.
Our consultant fire engineers help each client to comply with fire safety legislation,
and during construction, we often visit the site to review the fire safety elements
and whether they comply with the relevant legislation.
The majority of our employees come from a handful of university courses,
specifically centred on fire safety, but also include mechanical, electrical and
structural engineers whom we have retrained. This retraining is usually achieved by
embedding them into a team and allowing them to learn on the job.
FACTS ABOUT
H+H FIRE
»Founder and Managing
Director: Glenn Horton
»Established in 2009
»Based in London
»Services: Fire safety advice
»No. of employees: 19
H+H Fire
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| H+H FIRE
An industry-wide recruitment
crisis
The entire industry is struggling with
recruitment. Following the Hackitt
inquiry, which was established following
the Grenfell Tower disaster, there have
been calls for fire engineers to put
their names on a register, which would
enable them to support, and deal with
the concerns of, developers, building
owners and individuals. The Institution
of Fire Engineers, the industry’s
professional body, registers chartered
fire engineers both nationally and
internationally. Their published register
contains approximately 80 names of
chartered and incorporated engineers
from a total registered pool of roughly
250 chartered engineers worldwide.
There are only a small number of
university courses that focus on this
area, leading to a dearth of available
recruits each year. The quality of these
courses means that these engineers are
in demand across the world, and many
choose to join the fire services if they
stay in the UK. As a small business,
the barrier to recruiting engineers
from outside the EU is significant, and
we would need to sponsor recruits
if we were to access this potential
pool of employees. The financial
and administrative cost of this is an
unwelcome and unnecessary burden
on SMEs in many sectors.
With regard to the work we do, it is
important to change attitudes across
the construction sector. There seems
to be a general lack of understanding
that guidance needs to be read in its
entirety, and cherry-picking certain
bits is not sufficient if regulation-
compliant and fire-safe buildings are
to be constructed. People often fixate
and talk about specific paragraphs,
but the correct approach is to look at
all the requirements and regulations in
order to interpret the true meaning of
each individual section. It is impossible
to pull a single sentence from a larger
document to determine if a building
is or is not safe, in the same way
that you would not solely study the
seatbelts when conducting an MOT to
determine if a car was safe.
Imperial Wharf station,
Fulham, London
We support
the client
throughout
the process,
from design
and
construction
through to
post-
occupation
3H+H FIRE |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
Enforcing regulations to raise
standards
The fundamental problem is the
need for fire safety regulations to
be enforced. Legislation is useless if
it is not followed up by the relevant
authorities, with enforcement action
being taken when appropriate. This
will require a cultural shift in our
industry. As a business, many of our
clients see us as a premium brand, and
while they never enjoy spending too
much money, they want their building
to be safe. Crucial to this cultural
shift will be changing the way we
think about fire safety, viewing it as a
necessity rather than simply a cost to
be borne.
This will benefit developers, as
having to put things right post-
construction is far more expensive
and time consuming than getting it
right in the first place. We endeavour
to highlight this fact, and there is a
developing focus on fire safety in the
construction and insurance sector.
We often receive inquiries through
conveyancing solicitors when assisting
with apartment purchases, asking us
to check the standard of construction
along with the fire properties of the
materials used in the construction of
the building.
As people become more discerning,
they are changing their habits. Some
banks and building societies will no
longer lend on any construction that
contains combustible materials, while
others are taking a much more active
interest in the overall fire safety of
the building upon which their loans
are secured. In some cases, these
checks are being driven by housing
associations and end users, and
we work with clients to prove the
standards of construction of their
buildings, preparing reports and
speaking with occupiers to confirm
that buildings are safe.
Encouraging women into the
industry, and relaxing visa rules
As we look to the future, we are
targeting the continued expansion
of the company. This will include
expanding our workforce to sustain
our growth. It is estimated that
women make up only 9 per cent of the
workforce in the engineering sector;
to combat this, we support the WISE
(Women in Science and Engineering)
campaign to boost recruits. The
obvious way to achieve this is to recruit
women who have been supported
while studying STEM subjects. In
terms of our internal demographics,
we buck the national trend; at one
stage, 40 per cent of our engineers
were female, although currently we
are running at roughly 30 per cent. We
feel it is important to increase these
percentages both for equality and to
boost our market share.
In order to further tackle the
recruitment crisis, I believe a change
in visa rules for engineers is essential.
This would make it easier to recruit
employees from outside the EU.
Irrespective of Brexit, there are not
enough engineers worldwide, and so
to have a visa regime which is a barrier
to recruitment is adverse to business
generally, companies like us and, of
course UK plc as a whole.
As we look to
the future, we
are targeting
the continued
expansion of
the company
DoubleTree by Hilton

www.hhfire.com

This article was sponsored by H+H Fire. 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 Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster