“The need for risk management with coordinated fire safety and security is increasing”

18 august 2017

Ulrik Odén is Riskonet’s partner for Northern Europe. Odén operates from Sweden and with his company Oden & Oden he employs a remarkably broad perspective to risk management. “In the field of risk management, we will have to give increasing attention to pragmatic and well working continuity and security, while securing infrastructure, buildings and information. The overlap between these areas is increasing. In these times, we cannot turn a blind eye to the new risks.”

Oden & Oden provides risk management services to organisations in Sweden, Finland and Norway and to a lesser extent, Denmark. “I often work for construction companies on a project basis to identify the risks of a property that is still to be built and for instance propose and develop security, fire prevention and fire-fighting measures. I also look at the risk management around the building project itself. This largely involves the implementation of large, long-term projects such as shopping centres. What happens within the boundary fences of the building site? Where are the risks of injury to people and damage to materials and what can we do to avoid incidents and limit damage? A great many construction firms do not approach risk management in such a thorough manner, but it is very much a growth market.”

Swedish risk management is mature

Ulrik considers Sweden to be a mature market for risk management. “Risk management is growing to have the same mature position in Swedish organisations as quality control. One trend is to use the ISO standards such as ISO 31000 when creating policies and guidelines. In the same way as Riskonet in the Netherlands, I offer consultancy in our region for supporting organisations with practical and policy-related advice.”

Investments; do not forget safety and security

Buildings are to last for many years and the level of protection and protection life cycle cost depends on how they are built. “I not only advise about incorporating fire protection measures into buildings that are still to be built, but I am also requested to offer a second opinion. I then assess whether the measures in the buildings that a party wishes to acquire meet the requirements. For instance, does the sprinkler system meet the requirements and are there any risks which may have been overlooked? Are they suited for fire fighting, given the activities that will be carried out in the property? If the building is leased in sections to international tenants, then I advise on measures that may be important for this target group.” Is the construction and are the materials well-chosen. Do they give an acceptable risk concerning fire and deliberate acts?


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Seeing the overall picture

Naturally, there are engineers that can design these systems and installation companies that can build them, however, “I notice that the added value of a risk specialist clearly lies in being able to see the big picture”, added Ulrik Odén. There are many ways of performing good risk management: I can advise clients about the possibilities for achieving optimum risk management and costs.”

Guaranteeing continuity

These are questions that are certainly important for large clients. “The mining companies that I provide my services to in Sweden have one further concern. Their investments are so huge and they must take account of the likelihood and costs of interruption to their operations. For these companies, guaranteeing continuity is a crucial factor.”

Today’s risks

The client may be both the construction firm and the property developer, investor, insurer or owner. “It’s rarely just a question of managing risks and assessing safety. “I am also being increasingly requested to give an opinion on security”, said Ulrik, who also has been working for the Swedish police. “How do you deal with security when malicious parties such as criminals and terrorists, but also vandals pose a threat? How do you develop a policy on this? In these times, we cannot turn a blind eye to the new risks.”

Ulrik Odén thinks these are a true risk. “Some high-profile industries and sectors will have to take this into serious consideration. Everyone who has well-known and high-profile buildings in their portfolios will have to look at this. In coming years we will be dealing increasingly with security issues connected to protection of buildings, outsourcing and also the protection of data and the sites where data is stored. I have also noticed that production-related IT security is increasingly becoming part of the fields where I provide recommendations. This only makes the work of my risk management consultancy more relevant.”

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