Protec Fire & Security

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Protec Fire & Security'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 Protec Fire & Security 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

Barrie Russell, chairman and
founder, Protec Fire and Security
Media City, Manchester – where Protec fire detection
and security systems are employed site-wide
Protec Fire and Security Group provide building safety systems
which are designed to save lives and protect property. They
are the largest independent UK-based manufacturer of
fire detection and security products, and celebrate their 50th
anniversary this year. From their head office in Nelson, Lancashire,
they have grown to become a major British manufacturer, now
employing 874 members of staff. Chairman and founder Barrie
Russell expands here.
Our products are now exported around the globe through a network of specialist
trained agents and Protec businesses in the Netherlands, Spain and Australia. Over
the 50 years we have been in business, our structure has evolved to accommodate
the increasing success we continue to enjoy, all the while maintaining a warm and
family-friendly business feel. We achieve this by maintaining a flat communication
structure and a strong team culture which encourages all employees to speak out
at any level. This creates an innovative and dynamic environment, which is reflected
directly in the many industry-leading products and services we offer.
Our family culture is positively reflected in the high retention levels of staff. This is
further strengthened throughout the business as staff gain skills and experience,
especially as they are rewarded with promotion through capability. New staff thus see
the opportunities available to them to develop their career within a successful business.
The key to our success
We constantly strive for excellence in everything we do. Having motivated staff and
a strong yet adaptable structure has been essential to our success.
»Chairman and founder:
»Established in 1968
»Based in Nelson, Lancashire
»Services: Manufacture of
fire detection and security
»No. of employees: 874
»Turnover: £98 million
»ISO 9001 and 14001
»LPS1014, LPS1204 and
LPS1048 accredited
»Largest independent UK-based
manufacturer of its kind
Protec Fire & Security
Highlighting best practice
Our core business is the manufacture
and supply of high-quality life safety
systems, exceeding the standards
of our industry colleagues and
government legislation. Our structure
consists of the following core activities:
»Product design
»Product manufacturing
»Planning and system design
»Supply, installation and project
»System testing and commissioning
»After-sales service and maintenance
Product design
Products are designed by our in-house
research and development engineers,
employing the services of specialists
such as physicists, electronic engineers,
software engineers, mechanical
engineers and 3D designers.
When designing a product, an initial
specification is produced and circulated
to all departments for comment. This
is followed by a group meeting with a
representative from each department
to ensure all design aspects are
considered including its parameters,
ease of manufacture, installation
and commissioning, long-term
maintenance and commercial viability.
Product manufacture
We are proud to be a UK-based
manufacturer in a time when so many
businesses manufacture overseas. We
understand that to continue to be
successful, we have to manufacture
smarter to remain commercially
We do this by reinvesting our profits in
the latest manufacturing technology.
We utilise surface mount technology
(SMT) and 3D automated optical
inspection technology (AOI) to
minimise labour costs while increasing
quality and reliability. Products are
manufactured in an ISO 9001 quality-
controlled environment and certified
by independent bodies.
We believe that designing and
manufacturing our own products
allows us to develop industry-leading
innovations ahead of others, providing
us with a competitive advantage.
Planning and system design
We have a dedicated team of in-
house system designers, and are thus
resourced to effectively carry out site
surveys, plan and prepare concepts
and system designs to the latest
standards along with cost plans and
quotations for the most complex of
integrated systems.
System designs are supported by a
network of Protec regional offices
throughout the UK with experienced
system sales and design engineers,
who provide practical and highly cost-
effective value engineered solutions to
meet specific client requirements.
Support includes directly employed
specialists in areas including fire
detection, emergency lighting, disabled
refuge and fire telephone, voice
evacuation and public address, audio,
intruder detection, CCTV, access
control, custodial works, fixed fire
suppression, portable fire extinguishers,
kitchen fire suppression and sprinklers.
Our system design engineers receive
training competency accreditations
alongside comprehensive in-house
3D automated optical
inspection (AOI) technology
improves quality and
increases throughput
We are proud
to be a UK-
»Fire detection
»Aspirating fire detection
»Emergency lighting
»Voice evacuation and public
»Disabled refuge/fire telephone
»Intruder detection
»Access control
»Custodial systems
»Fixed fire suppression
»Portable fire extinguishers
»Kitchen fire suppression
»Sprinklers and water mist
product training in the features and
functions of our industry-leading
products. Our design knowledge
ensures our designs exceed the
standards set for a given application.
Supply, installation and
project management
As manufacturers, many of the products
we offer are available for direct dispatch
from our manufacturing and storage
facility here in the UK. Products can be
supplied in an open protocol format, for
installation by others, or by our in-house
specialist installation teams.
Our projects department are responsible
for installation and project management
across the disciplines we cover. Works are
controlled by engineering teams on the
ground with support from our network
of regional offices. For major projects,
teams are assembled based on the
specific expertise required for the project.
System testing and
System commissioning is the most
critical process in successfully delivering
a life safety system. These activities are
always time sensitive towards the end
of a building’s construction, and the
process can be extremely complex. This is
particularly apparent with large buildings,
who tend to have complex evacuation
strategies in the event of a fire.
We have a team of over 240 dedicated
and fully trained commissioning
engineers, all directly employed to
ensure that systems are fully compliant,
certified to the relevant standards and
completed on time.
After-sales services and
Our after-sales service ensures that
clients receive the highest level of
customer care, product reliability and
technical support that we have to offer.
At Protec, we don’t just perform the
required functional and operational
tests; our customer service commitment
includes assistance with on-site training
of responsible personnel, and provision
of advice regarding the different
solutions available for modifications
and alterations to existing systems.
We provide all service users with a
national 24-hour, 365-days-a-year
call-out service. With all call centres
permanently manned, our assistance
is only a phone call away. Over 400
of our 874 UK staff are field-based
engineers, who are able to provide
technical expertise and emergency
support when it is most needed.
The future
Our success has come as a result of
our dedicated staff and our ability to
deliver the above processes with minimal
reliance on external resources. Our
structure allows us to offer our disciplines
and processes in a format which
enables a client to select the services
they would like to purchase, providing
them with a greater range of choices.
We are currently focused on recruiting
additional engineering staff into
the industry through retraining and
apprenticeship schemes. We are
presently particularly keen to attract
more female recruits into a traditionally
male environment, and thus change
the sector as we know it.
We provide all
service users
with a national
call-out service
Protec headquarters and
manufacturing facility,
Nelson, Lancashire
»Manchester airport
»Bloomberg European
headquarters, London
»BBC Media City Manchester
»Nova Victoria, London
»Manchester United Football
»Ministry of Justice sites,
»Crossrail, multiple sites

This article was sponsored by Protec Fire & Security. 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