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
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
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
SECTION 2 : QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FIRE ALARM SERVICE
SECTION 3 : QUESTIONS ABOUT INVOICES AND CHARGES
SECTION 1 : GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT
FIRE ALARM SERVICING (49
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
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
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
Your engineer used his phone to get
advise while he was on site. Does this mean he doesn't know what he's
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
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
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,
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I choose CODRUS as a service provider ?. To find out more about CODRUS Service,
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
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,
happens if I'm not satisfied with my service visit ?.
If you are not 100% happy with a service visit, tell us within seven
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
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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.
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
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
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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.
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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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?).
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
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.
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.
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 ?.
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
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
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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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,
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.
I have someone survey my site before offering me a service agreement ?.
We will be happy to.Call 01296 424605 or email
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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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.