Checkmate Fire outlines detail underpinning latest ‘Green Scheme’
04 March 2021
CHECKMATE FIRE Solutions – the specialist contractor focused on fire doors and firestopping in addition to risk assessments and compartmentation surveys – has outlined the detail behind the nationwide company’s latest ‘Green Scheme’ that continues its commitment to ethical, sustainable and responsible working.
Already recovering energy from almost all of the waste generated by its myriad site-based activities, Checkmate Fire is now working on bespoke initiatives that will allow the business to ascend what it references as the ‘waste hierarchy’. One of them involves spearheading specific projects to recycle timber fire door products or otherwise re-use them for secondary products wherever possible.
Striving to be an industry-recognised leader when it comes to the environment, sustainability and governance, the business is also looking to carbon offset its entire energy usage or otherwise switch to a completely green energy supply.
Commendably, the company – itself a founder member of the Building Research Establishment’s Fire Protection Certification Scheme and certified to ISO 9001/ISO 14001 standards – is already on target to achieve a fully-electric fleet of vehicles by the end of this year, thereby reducing its annual CO2 footprint by upwards of 98 tonnes. The company’s new set of seven electric vehicles has just been delivered, in fact, and charging points installed at colleagues’ homes.
In conversation with Fire Safety Matters, Checkmate Fire’s chief development officer Gavin Slattery explained: “After taking the decision to ‘go electric’, we then partnered with GoFor Finance for the supply of our new Tesla fleet. GoFor Finance has displayed a can-do attitude in support of our ‘Green Scheme’, delivering an offer that was more than just a ‘rate per month’.”
Elaborating on that theme, Slattery stated: “The partnership adds value to our operational teams by reducing the complexity that would otherwise be realised by having to manage numerous suppliers, instead creating one clear platform for the management of all fleet cars including the existing run-out fossil fleet. We also receive assistance in terms of DVLA checking for our drivers and also the development of a dedicated driver app to ensure that we really take care of our teams and vehicles.”
Electrifying the company’s vehicle fleet undoubtedly represents a huge milestone for Checkmate Fire and chimes particularly well with the Government’s stated aim for all new vehicles to be electric by 2030.
“At first, we were expecting the fleet change to come at a significant cost,” asserted Slattery. “In fact, we were concerned that the costs would perhaps become an overriding factor in terms of adoption. However, taking into account the traditional fossil fuel spend, actual full-life costs mean that the overall financial impact of higher rental outlays will often be offset by the price of fuel.”
He went on to state: “Yes, the switch to ‘all electric’ has cost a small amount more, but far less than we anticipated based on our fleet usage. Further, in the longer term the expanding choice of electric vehicles available will naturally reduce costs as competition in the market steadily grows.”
Importantly, simplifying the offer to a single vehicle model with no upgrades means that the fleet is always fluid. Team members are fully aware that, if their own Tesla is above mileage, they’re expected to swap during the term with a lower mileage and vice-versa.
“If we have a new starter,” commented Slattery, “and need to find them a new vehicle, it’s going to be the exact same model and spec as every other one rather than us being tied to the old-fashioned and somewhat prohibitive car bandings. Ultimately, that equates to a far more productive use of the fleet and lower overall costs.”
Checkmate Fire is really starting to work diligently alongside its many supply chain partners with a view towards not just understanding the environmental credentials involved, but also learning from them in terms of the ways in which the latter are minimising energy usage or otherwise offsetting environmental impacts from their manufacturing processes.
“We’re passionate about making real and sustainable improvement, reducing the impact of the works we deliver and looking after the local environments in which we operate,” continued Slattery. “It’s a constant challenge and, it must be said, sometimes a frustrating one. As the largest independent passive fire protection business in the country, changing an entire fleet over to electric vehicles is a key milestone, but we recognise that there’s more work to be done.”
Recently, one of Checkmate Fire’s key strategic clients introduced the business to the ‘Sustainability School’. This focuses squarely on providing a value-add for sectors through the delivery of expertise, skills and experience in ‘all things sustainable’. “We’ve already learned a great deal about like-minded suppliers and clients and the often-shared environmental hurdles they face,” said Slattery. “We’ll continue to do so such that we can then drive real and tangible improvements in our business.”
At present, Slattery is particularly keen to find circular solutions for the plastics the company uses when it comes to the installation of mastics in firestopping works. Complexities around transport impacts, low-cost consumable goods and high-tech moulding equipment have all created roadblocks along the way.
“Projects take time and input from multiple sources to reach their conclusion,” insisted Slattery. “Sometimes, it’s like-minded clients that kick-start us on that journey. We’re not giving up in our ongoing quest to find solutions to our industries’ biggest environmental issues. We welcome a collaborative approach across the industry to unearth those solutions.”
*Further information is available online at www.checkmatefire.com