Fire Risk Assessment ignored costs firm £100,000 plus costs

The managing agent of a block of flats in London has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay almost £13,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaches of fire safety law.

Douglas and Gordon Ltd pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at Southwark crown court on 29 June. The leasehold owner of the premises in Gloucester Terrace, Paddington, Atomlynn Ltd, was fined £33,000 after pleading guilty to one offence under the Order and ordered to pay costs of £6,440.

Following a fire in one of the flats, London Fire Brigade carried out an audit of the communal areas. Officers found a number of fire safety breaches which included a failure to install a fire alarm system and a failure to ensure that the electrical intake cupboard was locked.

A fire risk assessment had been carried out but the managing agent and leaseholder had failed to act on its significant findings, said London Fire Brigade. These included the failure to make an emergency plan, ensuring that fire doors were self-closing and installing emergency lighting.

Assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, Steve Turek, said: “London Fire Brigade will continue to take action against managing agents, lease owners or landlords who do not take their fire safety responsibilities seriously. Failure to comply with the law can, as this case has shown, result in a prosecution.”

MD of Safety Management (UK) Brian Gregory commented, "It is vital that Managing Agents don't just tick the box by having a Fire Risk Assessment carried out. We work with our customers to help them implement any recommendations made so that they are compliant with the law. We want to prevent possible damage to our clients property by fire and save lives."

Safety Management (UK) would always emphasise the importance of the management strategies required in such buildings due to the difficulties of evacuation due to residents in bed under medication , infirm or generally mentally unsure as to what to do if the fire alarm activates. It is the experience of our fire risk assessors that can be used to generate an emergency fire action plan that sits within the building and can be used to ensure resident safety in the event of a fire scenario. The ability of staff to achieve an evacuation in line with the emergency fire action plan is also one that should be tested on a regular basis.

If you have questions about fire risk assessment, or for help on any aspect of fire safety, call us on 01524 784356 today.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.


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