Sprinkler Best Practices site readied

Thursday, June 1, 2006

SOUTHHAMPTON, Bermuda--Sprinkler contractors looking for a template for a bidding contract, advice about the best software to use to improve coordination from the design stage to the field or examples of how other companies have created a company-wide culture of safety, can find all this and other "tricks and tools of the trade" in a new interactive web site expected to be launched by this fall.
The web site grew out of a 2003 National Fire Sprinkler Association subcommittee that was looking to improve the insurability of those in the industry and a subsequent industry-wide steering committee that produced a 300-page book of recommendations on best practices.
The web site is an attempt to help companies "change their culture, rather than just be a manual on the shelf," said Brian Cullen, executive vice president of TJ Allen Insurance and Risk Management Group. Cullen worked with the steering committee and his company has been contracted to help put the web site together.
"This is not a group of outsiders saying, 'Here are your best practices.' It's insiders unleashing all their talent and proven successes," he said.
Attendees at the NFSA annual seminar, held here April 26 through 30, contributed to web site development. Carmine Schiavone, vice president of business development and communications for Tyco Fire and Building Products, and chairman of the steering committee, challenged attendees to "lend your ideas and support" to the development of the web site and asked contractors to further "consider becoming a beta test site for best practices."
"Best practices are not about mandates and rules," he said, "but about focusing on current challenges that impact profit."
The next day, Schiavone and Cullen led three working sessions where groups of contractors collaborated on questions. The first two sessions drew 75 attendees and the third had more than 40.
When the web site is launched, anyone will be able to access the general information portion, but "when it gets into areas of content drill down and the collaborative portion, our intent is to have it be a membership-based fee-for-service offering," Cullen said.
Funds to support the creation of the web site come from a "sprinkler manufacturer funded program," said David Vandeyar, NFSA director of communications.