Limitless fines for breaches of Fire Safety

19 March 2021

The Government has this week announced a raft of new fire safety measures to be introduced through the Building Safety Bill, first produced in draft in July 2020.

Principal among these measures is the ability for limitless fines to be issued for breaches of fire safety regulations under the Fire Safety Order and to anyone who is caught obstructing or impersonating a fire inspector.

This is just one of a raft of new measures which are being implemented following the Government’s Fire Safety Consultation which took place in 2020 and received feedback from over 250 stakeholders including residents, Responsible Persons and enforcing authorities.

Other new measures the government is seeking to introduce will include:

  • improving the quality of fire risk assessments and competence of those who complete them;
  • ensuring that vital fire safety information about a building is preserved for the lifespan of all regulated buildings;
  • improving the cooperation and coordination amongst people responsible for fire safety, making identification of relevant people easier;
  • strengthening guidance issued under the Fire Safety Order so that a failure to follow the guidance may be considered in court proceedings as evidence of a breach or of compliance;
  • improving the engagement between Building Control Bodies and Fire Authorities in reviewing plans for building work;
  • requiring all new flats above 11 metres tall to install premises information boxes which contain the plans of the building, the fire safety manual and a description of the building which can aid fire safety, rescue and evacuation from compromised buildings.

These new measures will be in addition to the creation of the first national Building Safety Regulator with the overall aim of changing the way buildings within the scope of the new regime are designed, built and managed when occupied.

Read our most recent update on the related Fire Safety Bill here.

FURTHER INFORMATION

If you have any questions or concerns about the content covered in this blog, please contact a member of the Regulatory team.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hannah Eales is a barrister in the Regulatory team.  She is an experienced advocate and a regulatory, health & safety and criminal law specialist.  Hannah has a particular expertise in fire safety law having prosecuted on behalf of fire and rescue authorities nationally as well as representing individuals and corporates facing prosecution for breaches of the Fire Safety Order in the criminal courts.  Hannah is experienced in advising property owners and managers on compliance with fire safety legislation and regulations.  She has a broad practice, also acting both for regulatory bodies and representing those who appear before them, as well as prosecuting and defending in the criminal courts.  She regularly advises on all aspects of criminal, health & safety and regulatory law.

Sophie Bolzonello is an associate, Australian Qualified, in Kingsley Napley’s Regulatory department.  Sophie specialises in advising regulated professionals on compliance, in investigations and in respect of enforcement action. She also advises regulators on policy, governance, prosecutions and litigation.

 

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