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Body-worn cameras used to monitor cladding remediation projects

10 December 2023

INSURANCE COMPANY AXA UK is providing body-worn cameras for contractors so that they can record essential safety work transacted on those buildings containing flammable cladding and insulation. The recordings will provide detailed information about materials used, together with evidence of working practices and site management for the areas being refurbished.

The danger of flammable cladding was, of course, highlighted by the Grenfell Tower tragedy in Jun 2017. Some of AXA UK’s customers’ properties now require remediation to make them safer and more resilient to fire.

A lack of records of the materials used in the construction of multi-occupancy buildings like Grenfell Tower sets a huge challenge in identifying those that are affected and what needs to be replaced. Flammable insulation and poor workmanship can be hidden beneath external cladding, while evidence of what work has been carried out has often been impossible to trace once completed and the appointed contractors have left site.

Dougie Barnett, director of customer risk management at AXA Commercial, explained: “We’ve decided to use this technology in order to record evidence of the remediation work and securely store it in the cloud for reference. Our business resilience team has been capturing videos of commercial risks in this way for the past three years for underwriters to review, so it made absolute sense to extend this practice to these building remediations. Underwriters can now clearly see what has been done when they assess risk and provide a quote with confidence.”

Barnett added: “We are funding this initiative to protect our customers and ensure the work is carried out to the required standard using the correct materials. We’ll also have evidence of how protection systems such as sprinklers and alarms are installed. Weekly video capture will supplement our regular visits to individual sites. When the work is completed, it should result in the remediated buildings representing an improved risk, which will have a positive impact on policy premiums. Ultimately, it’s important for everyone involved in the process to have a clear view of what’s happening.”

Direct liaison

AXA UK has chosen to use Motorola Solutions’ VT100 body-worn cameras for responding to incidents. The video can be live-streamed if required such that contractors can liaise directly with AXA’s risk engineers.

All records are stored using secure cloud technology, ensuring that any material captured cannot be edited or otherwise tampered with. This technology is trusted by the UK’s Emergency Services and law enforcement organisations across the globe. Those working on building remediation projects can wear the cameras on their person so there’s no need to down tools to film or take photos.

Fergus Mayne, country manager for the UK and Ireland at Motorola Solutions, observed: “Body-worn cameras are proving to be an increasingly useful tool across a variety of industry sectors and use cases. By providing an objective record of events, which can be easily captured, stored and used, body-worn cameras are helping organisations to operate more effectively and provide genuine value to their customers.”

AXA UK is actively supporting customers whose properties have been affected by the cladding and insulation issue. The insurer is keeping premiums as low as possible despite the increased risk associated with these buildings.

Where buildings are renovated, AXA UK has honoured its commitment to reduce premiums in order to reflect the reduced risk.