With our working days being a little quieter than usual, now is the perfect time to get to know each other better. This is why at Twenty4 Fire and Security, we will be profiling different members of the team over the coming weeks, giving our readers an insight into who we are, our experience and what makes the brand a success.
Today, we fire (pardon the pun) a few questions at David Baldwin; one of the Directors of the business.
What made you start Twenty4?Starting my own company has always been my goal. Back in my first year in this industry as an Apprentice I knew that one day I was going to start my own business.
First of all, I needed to learn as much as possible. For the first 6 years I continued as an Engineer gaining experience in many different systems. Then, the next move was to be an Engineer for a much smaller company. I stayed there for a further 4 years which gave me a great opportunity to work closely with the owner and gain some experience with the day-to-day running of the business. Then, it was time to go it alone, well as a subcontractor, offering installation of various systems for other fire and security companies. This was a big move and I gained experience in managing the basics of running a business, negotiating costs, accounting, developing procedures and soon after employing a member of staff.
Then in the summer of 2014 myself and Alex, who had been working together as subcontractors, decided to merge and launch Twenty4. Having a business partner had never really crossed my mind but myself and Alex are completely different people and both have very different strengths.
Six years on we are a very different business, we’ve come a long way. We work with some amazing staff and clients and I look forward to the years to come.
What is your role at Twenty4 and what do you enjoy about it?My role at Twenty4 has changed over the years.
When you start a business, you have to be everything from sales, installation, design admin, accounting to marketing. As the business grew, we were able to employ staff specialised to cover specific areas. My current role along with the general running of the business is carrying out Fire Risk Assessments for our clients. This is something that I have been doing for a number of years and it is now at a point where we will be looking to take this position on a permanent basis.
What are the key services Twenty4 offers?We offer a wide range of fire safety, security and compliance services at Twenty4. Some of the most popular are:
- Professional Fire Risk Assessments
- Fire Alarm Maintenance
- Emergency Lighting Maintenance
- Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
- PAT Testing
- Disabled Refuge Maintenance
- Disabled Toilet Alarms Maintenance
- Nurse Call Maintenance
- Fire Door Retainers
- Fire Door Inspection
- Staff Safety Training
- Fire Marshal Training
- Intruder Alarm Maintenance and Monitoring
- CCTV Maintenance
- Access Control Maintenance
- Hearing Induction Loop Maintenance
- Electric Gates/Barrier Maintenance
- Automatic Doors and Turnstiles Maintenance
- Safety Sign Compliance Survey
- Asset Management Tool
What makes Twenty4 different from the other fire and safety businesses in Wales?We are very different from our competition. We are primarily a multi-service company but we are able to offer a much wider range of services than our competitors. We aim to be a one-stop-shop for all fire safety, security and compliance services. We have our own in-house passive fire protection specialists to offer fire stopping, fire doors and certification.
We also boast fire systems specialists to offer design, supply, installation and aftercare of all types of fire safety systems. This is in addition to security systems specialists to again offer design, supply installation and aftercare of security systems. We also specialise in compliance, offering fire risk assessments, training and have over 170 online health and safety video courses for both managers and staff to utilise.
When it comes to fire safety, what is the most common fault you find at commercial properties?We carried out a fire safety survey a few years ago and what surprised us was how many companies failed with their fire safety obligations. What became clear was that most managers and business owners were just unsure of what their responsibilities were. This wasn’t just small businesses; these were also large corporations with dedicated facilities and health and safety departments. Plus, this isn’t always down to cost. Some of the businesses were massively overspending on fire safety but at the same time not covering the basics.
In my opinion, if you are a business manager or business owner and you want to take control of your fire safety obligations, step one would be to appoint a qualified fire risk assessor to carry out a fire risk assessment of your premises. This will give you a clear step-by-step guide into areas your business needs to improve on. Then, they can also identify areas you could be overspending. We have also developed a free fire safety audit tool for businesses to use to highlight their current fire safety situation.
When security homes, what is the most effective equipment in your opinion?Domestic CCTV systems are becoming more and more popular and are great for improving home security, but my advice is to start simple. Start by trying to think about how a burglar would think when targeting your home. Are there any easy access points, like windows left open? Maybe the side gate doesn’t have a lock or maybe there are things on show that may be attractive to a burglar?
Start by making things more difficult for them - lock the windows, lock the gates, the garage, remove expensive items from view, close the blinds etc.
The next step for me would be to install a professional alarm system and I would highly recommend the system is monitored. This doesn’t have to be expensive and like us, there are companies that can offer flexible payments for these systems.
Tell us about the SmartplanThe Smartplan was developed by us in 2016. We wanted to create a simple maintenance package for businesses that covered a wide range of services. The format is very simple - we combine a number of maintenance and compliance services that a client needs into one simple annual package and split the payments into smaller monthly payments.
This allows clients to be confident that they are compliant, they are only paying for what they need and it also reduces the impact to their running costs.