Tied Pubs - Shackles or Opportunity?

Much is being written about this currently. The commons vote to remove the beer-tie. Some see this as a victory for David against the ruthless Goliath.beer_fire It is alleged the breweries overcharge the franchised landlord by 30p even 50p per pint. What does poor David get for his money?  Well from a basic business point of view there is an existing business to take over, with existing customers; there is a business property, and a home, often at below market rents. There is business support and advice on running a pub.  So on the face of it, David is getting some useful support when starting his business.

We at Safety Management (UK) are not particularly interested in running a public house; however we are concerned about fire safety. The question we ask is whether or not this change will result in an improvement or a worsening of fire safety in public houses?

Well David is better off by at least 30p per pint to start with, although of course we recognise there are other costs involved. Does he service his fire alarm regularly, have his extinguishers maintained and ensure there is adequate emergency lighting in the building? From our experience unfortunately the answer is often, no!  What about staff training? With his new found freedom will David create and deliver his own program? 

Many public houses have significant issues already; not least the living accommodation above without any safe means of exit other than through the pub itself. The Fire Risk Assessments we have come across are often not worth the paper they are written on!

We worry that the material investment in the structure and facilities will reduce, or even cease, in order to increase David's new found profitability.  Now we approach the crux of the point. With reduced investment, reduced focus on safety, how safe will future pubs be? Our family and friends attend these establishments, have a few drinks and probably assume they are safe places to be, but will they be in future?

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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