Should insurers be more active in pursuing
information about risks in FM?

Unless you can identify the risks and their implications, you cannot manage their mitigation.

Our speciality is helping clients and their FM contractors know what assets they have, where they are, what systems they form part of and what activities they are supporting. When related to the terms of a contract, this is key information to create an effective local asset management plan.

However, it is astonishing how little reliable information both clients and their FMs have about their facilities. Government departments and health trusts appointing FM contractors who discover the number of assets they must maintain is double what was specified - and in some cases, that is also true of the number of buildings!

Perhaps they perceive the scale of the task is "too hard". They seem to accept the information is poor and, when an incident happens, seek to transfer the risk.

My very limited exposure to insurance suggests Insurers also have has a similar lack of curiosity about what materials have been used to build the facilities they are insuring and the quality of workmanship. I have seen some changes since Grenfell, with insurers asking contractors to provide information about any buildings over 18 mtrs they have delivered in the last ten years. Although this is a major task for a builder, I think the focus was on cladding which is relatively easy for a builder but some of the other fire risk items such as fire dampers in ventilation systems are procured in a package and the as-built records may not include what was installed and where.

Even some PFI hospitals, where there are punitive financial penalties for not updating asset records, don't have reliable records of the fire dampers, the location of each (perhaps 5,000) and when it was last tested. This is a statutory task, made even more serious by financial penalties but it has only recently become a priority item for management.

Recent revelations about the lack of profitability in the sector show why managers trying to keep their jobs will hope no major incident will happen and the ticking time-bomb will be passed to their successors.

However, clients, senior management, shareholders and insurance companies should review their procedures and ensure the information on the facilities for which they are responsible is truly fit for purpose.

ActivePlan’s Asset Information Requirements application, combined with the Asset Information Model provide the means to reduce these risks by specifying the data the building owner really needs, checking it has been provided and making it easy to keep up to date – and find it.

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