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E&OE. (c) CODRUS 2019

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Frequently Asked Questions Section 1 Section 2 Section 3

This is an extensive archive of frequently asked questions that is being enlarged all the time. Here you will find answers to most questions you may have about having your fire alarm serviced, about contracts and costs.

To make it easier to navigate, we have split the FAQs page into three subjects: General Service, Questions about the service agreement and Questions about invoices and charges. Because there are so many questions, we have broken each subject down into smaller categories.

If you don't find what you're looking for, check one of the other subjects. If you still can't find what you're looking for, click here to send your enquiry by email. We will try our best to reply to you as soon as we can.

This first section is the largest and deals with general questions about fire alarm servicing. Other sections include :

SECTION 2 : QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FIRE ALARM SERVICE AGREEMENT

SECTION 3 : QUESTIONS ABOUT INVOICES AND CHARGES


SECTION 1 : GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT FIRE ALARM SERVICING (49 Questions)

How many visits a year do I get?

What paperwork / certificates do I get ?

What about a Fire Certificate ?

How do I call out an engineer when the CODRUS office is shut ?

Why should I choose CODRUS as service provider ?

What are the rates for repair work ?

Will you fit equipment that I supply you?

Why do I need to use a fire alarm specialist to service my fire alarm ?

What happens if I'm not satisfied with my service visit ?

What if something you have fitted goes wrong ?

Why do I need a service agreement ?

If I tell you to carry out a repair, will you give me a quote first ?

How long does it take for an engineer to arrive after I've called for one ?

Why did two engineers come to do a job instead of one ?

How experienced are your engineers ?

Do you need specialist tools to service a fire alarm ?

Why don't your engineers replace faulty parts while they are doing the service visit ?

Can the work be done outside of normal working hours ?

Why can't I arrange for a service visit to start at a certain time ?

Why doesn't the new part you fitted look like the old one ?

I've had a new part fitted. What is the warranty period ?

You've said my emergency light needs to be replaced, but when I test it the light comes on. Why was it condemned ?

I've just started a new service agreement with you and your engineer found a faulty item our last company said was OK. What's going on ?

My emergency lights have all started going wrong at the same time. What's going on ?

I had a fault signal / false alarm appear within a couple of days of your engineer's visit. Did he do something wrong ?

Your engineer used his phone to get advise while he was on site. Does this mean he doesn't know what he's doing ?

Can you look after my security system, CCTV or access control system ?

You replaced a faulty detector with a "multiformat" detector. Why not fit the same type ?

My old service provider was taken over by a large American Company. How do I know that if I sign up with you, the same thing won't happen again?

I've never heard of CODRUS : who are you ?

CODRUS is an unusual name. Where does the name come from ?

I've been told I need a detector in every bedroom. Why ?

I'm getting false alarms. What do I do ?

I've had a fire. What do I do ?

I need a fire alarm system installed. What do I do ?

Can I have a copy of an engineer's worksheet ?

When I call CODRUS I can't always get through to a specific person. Why ?

Sometimes I get letters from CODRUS that don't have an individual's name on the bottom. Why ?

How long does a service visit take ?

Why won't your engineer give me his mobile phone number ?

How do I take out a service agreement with CODRUS ?

I need to know if my current system complies with regulations. How can you help me ?

Can I have someone survey my site before offering me a service agreement ?

I have been told to expect a Fire Officer's inspection. What's this ?

I had a quote from CODRUS to have work done. How do I get you to go ahead ?

I've been given a Fire Officer's instruction. What's this ?

Is it true that you actually REWARD customers for "good behaviour". What on earth is that all about ?.

 

How many visits a year do I get ?. The current version of BS 5839-1 allows for either one service and three inspections or one service and one inspection a year. The main difference between the two is whether the system uses wet-cell batteries or sealed lead acid batteries. Some companies wrongly tell their customers they must have four visits, when in fact the vast majority of systems now only require two. Most CODRUS service agreements are based on two visit a year. We also offer a four visit schedule for the same price, should your site still be one of those that require it.

What paperwork / certificates do I get ?. A duplicate copy of each engineers worksheet on completion of every visit, detailing what he has done, what equipment he has checked and what his findings are. An entry in the Fire Alarm Log book for every visit, if one is available and one copy of the service agreement on commencement of the agreement. When a customer takes out a contract with us, we supply a new System Logbook free of charge.

What about a fire certificate ?. We are often asked for this. Fire Certificates used to be issued by the Fire Brigade, not fire alarm companies. This system was replaced in late 2006 by Fire Risk Assessments. This is a living document that should be annually updated and completed by a competent person. British Standards have produced BS PAS 79:2007 which includes a definition of a competent person. Customers sometimes confuse a Fire Certificate with a Commissioning Certificate, Service Certificate or Compliance Certificate.

How do I call out an engineer when the CODRUS office is shut ?. When you sign a service agreement with us you are given a secret telephone number that links you with a secure callout system. You simply call that number outside of normal hours and get through to the engineer on call. You may have to leave a message and he will call you back. For fire alarm systems, BS 5839-1 requires us to reach site within 8 hours if requested out of hours, but we always attend much faster than that. The majority of our sites have around a 2 hour attendance time, out of hours. For extinguishers, attendance time is around three days. If you don't have an agreement with us, click here.

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Why should I choose CODRUS as a service provider ?. To find out more about CODRUS Service, click here .

What are the rates for repair work ?. To find out our current rates for repair work, click here.

Will you fit equipment that we supply you ?. No : sorry. If something goes wrong with it within 12 months, you would expect us to repair or replace it at our expense and there would no doubt be a disagreement over who's responsibility it was. We avoid this by making it policy to only fit equipment we have supplied and tested ourselves, and are happy to give a full 12 months parts & labour warranty on those items.

Why do I need a fire alarm specialist to service my fire alarm system ?. To find out why you HAVE to have your system professionally serviced, click here.

What happens if I'm not satisfied with my service visit ?. If you are not 100% happy with a service visit, tell us within seven days and we will redo it using a different engineer, at no extra cost to you.

What if something you have fitted goes wrong ? . Contact us straight away and we will send an engineer to fix it. If we have any doubts at all about an item we have installed, we will fit a new unit and dispose of the old one. Within the first 12 months of the work being done, these works are all covered by warranty conditional to the system is being serviced by us during that period. After all, if you bought a new car , drove it around for twelve months without having it serviced and took it back faulty at the end of the period, you wouldn't expect the work to be covered by the warranty would you ?. All warranty work is carried out in normal working hours : if not, a charge will apply.

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Why do I need a service agreement ?. To get a full answer to this question, click here.

If I tell you to do a repair, will you give me a quote first ?. Only if you ask for one at the time. Our engineers all carry "On the spot Quote forms", so they can give you a fixed, written quote then and there (but only if you ask for one). Similarly, our engineers all carry Field Price Lists, so if you want to check a price before instructing works, they can show you what it would be. If you instruct us to do the repair, but don't ask for a quote, we will do the work and bill you for the labour, mileage and parts used (as per the terms of the agreement), charged using our rates of charges in force at the time of the work, that you have already seen and agreed to.

How long does it take for an engineer to arrive after I've called one ?. We promise to send you an engineer as soon as practical after your call. For fire alarms, out of hours, the engineer will be with you within a maximum of eight hours, and if the call is made during the day we endeavour to get you an engineer the same day. In practise our attendance time is much faster and the majority of our customers have around a two hour attendance time, out of hours. For extinguishers an engineer will be with you around three days after receiving a request.

Why did two engineers come to do a job instead of one ?. There are certain circumstances in which we are required to send two engineers instead of one. These are usually (a) when an engineer is required to work in a dangerous environment (height,  lifting or other risk), or (b) when the task actually is more than we would expect one engineer to achieve in one day, or (c) when the visit entails the tracking down of a field wiring fault, which almost always necessitates two engineers to do correctly. Occasionally an engineer may be accompanied by his supervisor as part of his annual "in the field" assessment. If this assessment visit is also a chargeable visit, you will only be charged for one engineer.

How experienced are your engineers ?. None of our engineers currently have less than six years experience as fire alarm engineers. We would not consider employing an engineer who had less than two years as a fire alarm engineer already. All engineers must have passed the FIA examinations Unit 1 and Unit 5. Any engineer who undertakes design work or who undertakes the "special inspection" required at the beginning of a new service contract, must also have passed the FIA examinations Units 2 and 3 (advanced system design). Any engineer working on emergency lights must have the M1B certificate from the Fire Protection Association and have been trained at the Fire Service College. Any engineer servicing an extinguisher must have been trained by the FPA at the Fire Service College and have passed the resulting examination, then passing the refresher examination every three years. For more information, see Approvals.

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Do you need specialist tools to service a fire alarm system ?. Absolutely. We have to invest thousands of pounds in buying the specialist tools our engineers must have available to them. Specialist tools for testing smoke detectors as altitudes up to 9.5 metres, equipment for gauging sensitivity, tools for calculating "under-load" ratings of batteries, reprogramming tools and software, laptop computers, etc. The tools are even greater in the engineers workshops where the are permanent test rigs for different detectors and panels, recycling facilities for old detectors and batteries and specialist static-free workstations for testing electronics. We even have thousands of technical records on fire alarm equipment going back as far as the early seventies.

Why don't your engineers replace faulty parts while they are doing the service visit ?. When our engineers visit to service, that's exactly what they are there to do. Suspect anyone who arrives with replacement parts before a service and suspect anyone who says "while I was servicing your system I replaced this and this". You must always be told in advance if we have found anything and you must give your permission to carry out the work before we do it : it's the only fair way for both sides. We couldn't carry all the possible spares for every possible system we come across : our engineers would have to carry tens of thousands of pounds of stock with them in huge (and polluting) van. Under certain circumstances, we have entered into an agreement with a client where they have agreed a repair budget for each visit, where they already have authorised a figure for repairs permitted during a service visit. For these clients, we carry a small payload of parts specifically for their system. The benefit to them is that the repair is completed immediately and for less money than if we had to organise a return visit.

Can the work be done outside of normal working hours ?. Yes. Both service work or repair work can be done at anytime to suit you, although you should remember that the agreement is for normal working hours only. In other words, we can carry out any work at any time but there are additional charges for this privilege.

Why can't I arrange for a service visit to start at a certain time ?. For technical reasons we are unable to offer this facility on standard service visits.

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Why doesn't the part you've fitted look like the old one ?. We ensure that every part we fit is 100% compatible with your system, current standards permitting, but it is not always possible to source an original part from a manufacturer who may have ceased trading 20 years ago, although we do our best to keep older systems going (if it's still working, why replace it?).

I've had a new part fitted. What is the warranty period ?. If we are servicing the system, 12 months from the date of initial installation : full parts and labour warranty (normal working hours only), and only if covered throughout that period by a CODRUS service agreement. If others are permitted to work on the equipment, the warranty ceases on that day.

You've said my emergency light needs to be replaced, but when I test it, the light comes on. Why was it condemned ?. To test an emergency light correctly, you must see how long the battery lasts. It must last 1 or 3 hours (depending on type) without mains. Simply turning off the power for a few minutes does not test it, as many faulty battery packs will keep a lamp glowing for a few minutes before failing.

I've just started a new service agreement with you and your engineer found a faulty item our last company said was OK. How come?Our engineers are very thorough in their testing, but to be fair many companies use slightly different testing routines and we often show up problems previous companies have missed. If you have a query, we are happy to explain exactly why a particular item failed it's test.

My emergency lights have all started going wrong at the same time. What's going on ?. This is called "Cascade Failure" and is not unusual for emergency light installations around 5 years old. Because new units were all originally made, installed and powered up at the same time and because they have all had the same runtime, power surges and number of tests, they will all tend to fail within a few months of each other. To avoid higher costs, realise this is happening early on and have ALL your units replaced in one go : don't have them replaced one by one as this actually costs you more overall. The best plan is to arrange for all you r emergency lights to have their battery packs replaced in groups over a period of five years : this keeps the costs to a minimum. Remember, unlike fire alarm systems that have a designed lifespan of 20 years, many emergency lights only have a designed lifespan of 4 to 5 years.

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I had a fault signal / false alarm appear within a couple of days of your engineer's visit. Did he do something wrong ?. Statistically, an electronic component is just as likely to fail the moment an engineer leaves site as at any other time during the year. In fact, a regularly serviced fire alarm system is more likely to "shake out" a faulty item, in the same way that a regularly serviced vehicle will readily show a faulty component  this is a healthy side effect of regular servicing.

Your engineer used a phone to get advise while he was on site. Does this mean he doesn't know what he's doing ?. Our engineers work in teams, even if they're not physically in the same building. Unlike most fire alarm companies, our engineers see everyone else in their team at least once a day. They are encouraged to keep in contact and discuss their experience and knowledge on systems and sites.

Can you look after my security system, CCTV or access control system ?. No. We are fire alarm specialists. We do also service extinguishers and emergency lights and some more obscure fire equipment, but not general security equipment. However, we can recommend a company with a lot of experience in this field.

You replaced my detector with a "multi-format" detector. Why not fit the same type ?. We always fit the best equipment that is available to us. Multi-format detectors are more reliable and less prone to false alarms. Using them is a part of our efforts to reduce the incidents of false alarms with our customers.

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My old service provider was taken over by some large company. How do I know that if I sign up with you, the same thing won't happen again?. Unlike a lot of other companies, this one was founded by, and is owned by, fire alarm engineers. We are enthusiastic about our company, and ownership decisions are not made by blocks of shareholder votes, or by influential investors who want to see a quick return. CODRUS is family owned and will still be family owned in another 20 years. We view selling up to be selling out.

I've never heard of CODRUS. Who are you ?. Founded in June 1995, we are a UK based, fire alarm specialist company. From our offices in Aylesbury, Bucks we service fire alarm systems in buildings all over the country. We have worked for many Public & Private clients over the years and earned a good reputation for technical competence. We can trace our company's ancestry back to the great fire engineering companies of the 1960's. Unlike many of our competitors, we still operate an apprenticeship scheme, training candidates at our own expense, to introduce new engineers into the industry. These trainees are not permitted to work on fire alarm systems unsupervised until they have passed the appropriate exams.

CODRUS is an unusual name. Where does it come from ?. CODRUS was the last king of ATHENS in ancient Greece, before the coming of democracy. He is remembered for the sacrifice he made to save the lives of others. The story goes that he knew that both his own army and that of his enemy strongly believed a prophesy that if King CODRUS was slain by soldiers of the enemy, his army would win the war. In order to save the lives of hundreds on both sides, he decided to fool the enemy into killing him. He concealed his identity and walked into the enemy camp. He picked a fight with the soldiers, and not knowing his identity, they killed him. Once they discovered his identity, the army feared the prophesy was coming true and withdrew from the field of battle. In this way CODRUS was to save the lives of hundreds by sacrificing his own. 

I've been told I need a detector in every bedroom. Why ?. Your fire officer may tell you that you now have to have a detector in every bedroom, to comply with the new regulations. Depending on the use of the bedrooms, you should prepare for an increased risk of false alarms, but we can fit multi-format detectors that should remove this risk.

I'm getting false alarms. What do I do ?. Click here to go to our False Alarm Procedure document. Print off a copy (it's FREE) and follow the instructions. DO IT NOW.

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I've had a fire. What do I do ?. Call an engineer to site to reinstate your fire alarm and re-commission it (it will need a new certificate). If you want to call out a CODRUS engineer, click here.

I need a fire alarm system installed. What do I do ?. We will be glad to give you a fixed price quote for a fire alarm installation. Click here to email us so that we can contact you.

Can I have a copy of an engineer's worksheet ?. Yes. As long as it was for you that the work was done, and as long as you only request one copy. You were already given a one copy at the time.

When I call CODRUS I can't always get through to a specific person. Why ?. With the advent of the Government's new fair work/life balance legislation, all staff are eligible for flexitime and home-working rights, we can't therefore guarantee you can speak to a specific person when you call our office. There will always be someone there who can help you, though.

Sometimes I get letters from CODRUS that don't have an individual's name on the bottom. Why ?. Sometimes our correspondence comes from more than one person : it may be a composite from a number of people in a department. This practice is becoming more common with us.

How long does a service visit take ?. This is one of those "How long is a piece of string" questions. In practice a small system should take between one to two hours, but the larger the system, the longer it takes. We have some systems that take days to service fully.

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Why won't your engineer give me his mobile phone number ?. Our engineers are forbidden from giving out personal details, which might allow the unscrupulous to circumvent our system, or the well-meaning to create confusion or delay the proper course of works.

How do I take out a service agreement with CODRUS ?. Simply ask for a free offer from us and when you get it, sign both copies and send them back with the appropriate payment. From the moment we receive them, you're covered. If you would like an offer of an agreement, without obligation, click here.

I need to know if my current system complies with regulations. How can you help me ?. Contact our office direct (01296 424605) or email us. Our surveyor has over 25 years experience in fire safety and will happily visit your site and report for FREE.

Can I have someone survey my site before offering me a service agreement ?. We will be happy to.Call 01296 424605 or email service@codrusfire.com

I have been told to expect a fire officer's inspection. What's this ?. A fire officer will inspect your site, inspect your Fire Risk Assessment and produce a fire officer's report. In it there will be a number of things you must do. It's nothing to panic about : fire officers are a helpful lot.

I had a quote from CODRUS to have work done. How do I get you to go ahead ?. If you have a service agreement with us, just say "do It". If not, we will require a written instruction from you to book in the work to be done. Please take note of the lead-in time on the quote : we will not start sooner than that under any circumstances.

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I've been given a fire officer's instruction. What's this ?. A written, legally binding order to get some fire safety works completed. The works must be completed in 30 days or you risk the real possibility of having your premises shut down (yes, that do have the power to do that). Don't delay and don't wait for days getting lots of competitive written quotes : frankly, you don't have time. Get one of two quotes straight away, decide which one you want and give the order within two weeks of getting the order from the fire officer. The contractor will need a lead in time (to book labour and materials) and needs time to complete the works, all within 30 days. If this is your current situation, stop reading this and get on with it : you don't have any time to waste.

Is it true that you actually REWARD customers for "good behaviour". What on earth is that all about ? Customers who pay within the time agreed earn discounts, and customers who consistently honour the terms of the agreement during the year have future increases index linked.