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Building Products December 2017

COMMERCIAL BUILDING THE CASE FOR RESILIENCE With fire remaining the leading cause of commercial property loss, the consequences for a business can be devastating. Here, Iain Cox, chair of the Business Sprinkler Alliance, highlights how the installation of automatic sprinkler systems in industrial and commercial buildings can significantly reduce the threat to life and the degree of damage in the event of a fire. From disruption to closure It is not uncommon for a fire to result in the closure of a business. It can prove impossible for small businesses and some medium sized ones, to recover from a fire; and evidence shows larger business choose to consolidate operations in other sites, following the loss of a site to fire. Both productivity and jobs are lost in these cases. In either case, fire has an impact on a number of businesses within the supply chain. Companies supplying the fire damaged business will lose business temporarily or even permanently; businesses which depend upon products or services from the fire damaged business have to find other means of supply; businesses surrounding the fire affected business will often have to cease trading for the duration of the fire and sometimes even longer. Nearly all fires in ICBs cause transport disruption, while many also require residential evacuations and school closures. DECEMBER 2017 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 15 Sadly, fires damage and destroy businesses on a regular basis. Businesses that do recover only do so at great cost to their clients, suppliers and their reputation. Fire remains the leading cause of commercial property loss with the Association of British Insurers predicting that UK businesses could stand to lose £10bn between 2010 and 2020 as a result of fire. However, businesses should take note of findings from the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters, which found that 79% of businesses under-insure their property by 20% or more. At the same time, they underestimate business interruption by 50%. Home Office figures show that there have been 22,800 fires in industrial and commercial buildings (ICBs) in the past three years. But the costs of fires in industrial and commercial buildings go far beyond the costs and impacts on individual businesses and insured costs. Fires are the cause of significant economic, environmental and community costs, which are ultimately borne by the taxpayer. Continued on page 16 >>>


Building Products December 2017
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