Terry celebrates 40 years in the fire and security business

WHEN Terry Fisk entered the fire and security industry in 1979, it was a momentous year which saw Margaret Thatcher become the UK’s first female Prime Minister, inflation running at 17%, the average house price a modest £13,650, the Sony Walkman launched and YMCA become the top-selling hit of the year.

Clearly, much changes in 40 years, and as Terry celebrates 40 years in an ever-changing industry – founding and becoming managing director of the Chelmsford-based Fisk Group along the way – a wide range of businesses continue to benefit from the firm’s family-oriented work ethos along the way.

Terry’s two sons, Mark and Tel, are now directors in the business, having worked their way up, learning the trade as they went. To mark their father’s 40 years in business, they acquired a van similar to the one he started out in and had fresh livery added before arranging a surprise presentation.

Terry said: “Being a family business provides us a huge benefit over our competitors. A key factor is the drive and passion for staying one step ahead of the industry by trialling new technologies and keeping innovation at the forefront of not just the directors’ minds, but throughout all office staff, engineers and the apprentices in training, pathing the way to bringing service delivery to new heights.

“We go into every contract with the intention of a long-term relationship. The company treats the small contracts the same as the largest, providing full information via a dilapidation report resulting in asset verification and as-fitted drawings.

“Our proactive approach is another key factor to long term relationships, providing test results and highlighting issues sometimes before the client themselves know about it via remote loggings.

“In addition, communication is a key part of Fisk Group’s working ethos. This is demonstrated with the depth within the company, and the personnel we employ. Every manager has vast experience in the service industry and have worked their way through the company, just like Tel & Mark. Both have made a significant impact from leaving school, working up from apprentices to directors. Tel is the Ying to Mark’s Yang, bringing a cool head for figures and the direction of the company, with Mark bringing a strategic approach to contracts and technical knowledge.”

Fisk has invested heavily in the latest technology including providing their own bespoke App to all the workforce, which has saved time for admin and gives customers peace of mind when receiving test results.

Accreditations and working practices are always highly ranked within Fisk. The backing from organisations such as BAFE, NSI and CHAS ensure clients can rest assured knowing Fisk has gone through intense auditing. Fisk has recently been awarded ISO45001, something the team has worked hard to achieve.

Fisk work on solutions to protect clients entirely. This includes design, supply, install and maintenance of systems including CCTV, electrical, intruder alarm systems, access control and, of course, fire safety.

A face-to-face understanding of clients’ requirements at the earliest stages of design through to installation, commissioning and face-to-face handover is pivotal to the company’s approach.

Terry said: “The company is proud to have many long-standing relationships with clients based on this approach. Repeat business is key to our success and we enjoy some long-term relationships now in their third decade.”

Fisk Group works in various business sectors, from health & social care, education and local authorities. The company have a wealth of experienced staff with a proactive approach and an eye for attention to detail utilising their qualifications, FIA and City & Guilds with a focus on Life Safety Systems and Security Solutions.

Fisk Group has numerous contracts within the mental health industry, carrying out maintenance and installation works within low, medium and high secure facilities. It has become specialised within this field having started its first relationship back in the early 1990s. It works alongside very vulnerable people, protecting themselves by the use of air sampling systems and Anti-Ligature products.

A valued customer is Chase Farm Hospital near Enfield, run by the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. It’s a newly-built state-of-the-art hospital providing care for generations to come. With eight operating theatres the hospital is fully equipped and Fisk Group was responsible for the full design and installation. Furthermore, the company was tasked to undertake one of the most complex cause and effects strategies that included more than 5,000 devices requiring interfacing with smoke dampers, lifts, smoke clearance systems, fire curtains, intelligent door locks and providing theatre staff with full key switch control of AHUs.

One of the biggest leading causes of fire is faulty electrics, which is why Fisk Group provides clients with a diverse range of electrical solutions and services. Fisk works to the highest industry standards, to ensure that they safely install and maintain electrical systems for an establishment.

For example, it provides electrical installations for commercial property including emergency and security lighting. All their commercial installations are equipped to integrate with their fire safety and security systems.

Access control is also critical. Ensuring property is safe and secure is at the heart of Fisk’s services. Access control systems allow clients to monitor and grant authorised access to the right people, without fear of unauthorised entry. With the latest state-of-the art technology, Fisk, through assessment of need and bespoke design and integration, can provide levels of security that exceed expectations.

An extension to this is Fisk’s CCTV services. The Fisk Group offers solutions as part of its full suite of services, to keep clients’ establishments under constant surveillance. Fisk provides a wide range of products that allow clients to monitor, record and store video security footage.

As well as intruder alarm systems, Fisk provides a suite of fire safety solutions. This includes fire alarms, portable extinguishers, dry risers, smoke vents, sprinklers and suppressions systems, and risk assessments.

It’s been a long and eventful 40-year journey for Terry, for sure. He followed in the footsteps of his father to become an electrical apprentice. He worked on various electrical systems while perfecting his trade. This was the start of working on Life Safety Systems which become Terry’s passion.

In 1979, T. Fisk Contracts was born, starting out in Dagenham, based in a spare room within Terry’s house, and then onto Rainham Essex. Growing the business steadily over the years, Terry decided he required more space and rented a room above a printers in Chadwell Heath Industrial Park, Dagenham Essex.

From 1993 at Unit G12 at Chadwell Heath Industrial Park, Fisk Fire Protection Ltd was formed and the Fisk Fire Group logo was created on scrap paper by the printers who were housed in the unit below. Again, after steady growth and more term contracts won, Fisk Fire was on the move in 1999, this time to a purpose-built office adjacent to Terry’s new home in West Hanningfield Chelmsford.

After outgrowing the West Hanningfield office within just four years, Fisk was on the move again to Baddow Park Industrial Estate Chelmsford in 2003.  After eight successful years at Baddow Park, Fisk finally found a property that suited all of its requirements and purchased Orchard House, Chelmsford in spring 2011 where the company remains today.

Looking ahead, Fisk Group has a number of working goals including increasing the number of apprentices coming through. This will help tackle an industry-wide skills gap and add potential new talent to the workforce. There is also the desire to set in motion the company’s new chapter under the direction of Tel and Mark. The company’s strong standing within the industry gives their founder the confidence, as he celebrates 40 years in business, his sons will be around to celebrate Fisk’s 80th anniversary in another 40 years’ time.