New online service to track remediation of high-risk buildings

A new government service to hold building owners to account for remediation works has been launched.

Under the new Leaseholder and Resident Service, those living in tower blocks will have access to updates on the status of their building’s application to the government’s Building Safety Fund. This will help leaseholders to understand where their building is in the process.

The service is designed to speed up the process of removing unsafe non-ACM cladding from the highest risk buildings, forcing building owners to be more transparent, and exposing those who have failed to take action to make their buildings safe.

This is one of a number of steps announced by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities earlier this month to apply pressure on industry and protect leaseholders from unnecessary costs and delays.

Minister of State for Building Safety and Fire, Lord Greenhalgh said: “It is unacceptable that four years after the Grenfell tragedy innocent leaseholders are still living in buildings with unsafe cladding.

“Building owners are responsible for making their building’s safe, and we will no longer allow them to shirk from their duties and hide behind processes and corporate loopholes.

“Everyone – including leaseholders – has a right to know what is happening with their building and to live safely. [This] launch is a key step in providing them with both the service and the peace of mind that they deserve.”

In his landmark Building Safety reset on 10 January, the Secretary of State announced that leaseholders would no longer pay for the fixing of unsafe cladding, with building owners and industry footing the bill instead.

While the majority of building owners are already engaged with the Building Safety Fund, a £5.1 billion fund targeted at remediating unsafe non-ACM cladding on residential buildings 18m and over, a minority have yet to come forward and provide building information, leading to unnecessary delays and costs for innocent leaseholders.

Under this new service, a unique code will enable leaseholders and residents to track the progress of their building’s application through an online service, with information updated monthly. This will enable leaseholders to keep track of their building’s application and help apply pressure on their building owners if action is needed.

Leaseholders will receive a unique code from their building owners and are encouraged to contact owners if they do not receive their code, or if they have any further queries on the status of their building’s application. Many residents will also receive their codes directly from government.

To maintain the pace of building remediation and ensure the Building Safety Fund is further targeted at the highest risk buildings, the Secretary of State is currently reviewing the wider programme ahead of the next phase of funding, expected early this year.

 

This is valid as of 27th January 2022.

A new government service to hold building owners to account for remediation works has been launched.
Under the new Leaseholder and Resident Service, those living in tower blocks will have access to updates on the status of their building’s application to the government’s Building Safety Fund. This will help leaseholders to understand where their building is in the process. The service is designed to speed up the process of removing unsafe non-ACM cladding from the highest risk buildings, forcing building owners to be more transparent, and exposing those who have failed to take action to make their buildings safe. This is one of a number of steps announced by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities earlier this month to apply pressure on industry and protect leaseholders from unnecessary costs and delays. Minister of State for Building Safety and Fire, Lord Greenhalgh said: “It is unacceptable that four years after the Grenfell tragedy innocent leaseholders are still living in buildings with unsafe cladding. “Building owners are responsible for making their building’s safe, and we will no longer allow them to shirk from their duties and hide behind processes and corporate loopholes. “Everyone – including leaseholders - has a right to know what is happening with their building and to live safely. [This] launch is a key step in providing them with both the service and the peace of mind that they deserve.” In his landmark Building Safety reset on 10 January, the Secretary of State announced that leaseholders would no longer pay for the fixing of unsafe cladding, with building owners and industry footing the bill instead. While the majority of building owners are already engaged with the Building Safety Fund, a £5.1 billion fund targeted at remediating unsafe non-ACM cladding on residential buildings 18m and over, a minority have yet to come forward and provide building information, leading to unnecessary delays and costs for innocent leaseholders. Under this new service, a unique code will enable leaseholders and residents to track the progress of their building’s application through an online service, with information updated monthly. This will enable leaseholders to keep track of their building’s application and help apply pressure on their building owners if action is needed. Leaseholders will receive a unique code from their building owners and are encouraged to contact owners if they do not receive their code, or if they have any further queries on the status of their building’s application. Many residents will also receive their codes directly from government. To maintain the pace of building remediation and ensure the Building Safety Fund is further targeted at the highest risk buildings, the Secretary of State is currently reviewing the wider programme ahead of the next phase of funding, expected early this year.   This is valid as of 27th January 2022.

Employees suffer serious burns at vehicle service centre

A commercial vehicle servicing and repair company has been fined after two workers suffered serious burns when flammable brake cleaning fluid ignited causing a fire.

On 27 March 2020, two employees used brake cleaning fluid to clean the grease from the walls of a vehicle inspection pit in the workshop. Shortly after they had finished cleaning the walls there was a loud bang and the entire wall of the pit where the brake cleaner had been applied became engulfed in flames.

One employee managed to get out of the pit and ran to help his colleague whose clothing had caught fire, pulling him out of the pit and extinguishing the flames. Both employees received burns to their hands and legs. One sustained 60% burns and had to undergo an emergency surgical procedure to relieve the pressure from the swelling which involved cutting either side of his shins on both legs and  his left knuckle going down to his wrist. He subsequently underwent five skin graft operations on his left hand and both legs and spent six weeks in hospital.

The HSE investigation into the incident, which occurred at STA Vehicle Centres Ltd in Starley Way, Birmingham, found that the company failed to carry out a risk assessment to consider whether it was possible to eliminate or reduce the risk. They had not considered replacing the dangerous substance with another non-flammable substance or using a different work process. Jet-washing, a safe alternative, was already in use at the company’s other site.

The employees were not aware of the increased risks associated with using flammable fluid in a poorly ventilated area nor the need for appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn.

STA Vehicle Centres Limited of Halesfield 22, Telford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 6 (1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. They were fined £28,000 and ordered to pay costs of £926.17.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Charlotte Cunniffe said: “Employers should ensure flammable materials are used appropriately and provide training for employees in their correct use. This incident could have easily been prevented.”

 

This is valid as of 2nd December 2021.

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Property management company fined for fire safety failings

A property managing agent has been ordered to pay more than £80,000 for safety failings which “exposed a potentially large number of people to risk of death or serious injury from fire.”

London Fire Brigade inspectors found serious fire safety defects during two visits to a five-storey building on Danbury Street in Islington, which is managed by Eurolets (UK) Limited.

An Enforcement Notice requiring the company to address the concerns was issued following a visit in 2016, which was subsequently sufficiently complied with. However, a later visit then found similar defects to the previous inspection.

The building consists of more than 40 self-contained flats let out to tenants and the inspections revealed deficiencies including:

• combustible material near the entrance to the premises

• lack of fire extinguishers and signage

• doors wedged open

• holes within the walls and a non-functioning fire alarm.

Eurolets was charged with 10 separate offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and the company entered guilty pleas to all charges.

The judge found that the company fell far short of the appropriate standards and there was serious and/or systemic failure within the organisation to address risks.

The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Paul Jennings, said: “The combined effect of the deficiencies was that if a fire had started, there was a risk of an uncontrolled spread of heat, and smoke and flames affecting the whole premises, coupled with the only means of escape being overcome with smoke.

“In sentencing, the judge made it clear that she increased the fine because of the large number of residents that had been put at risk by the company’s lack of action to address concerns.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case, which is thanks to the hard work which is done every day by our fire safety inspectors. It should also serve as a warning to property managers that we will take action where people are not taking their responsibilities seriously.

“There’s no excuse for leaving people’s safety to chance, especially when information is so readily available to those with responsibility for safety in buildings to understand what their duties are and ensure they comply with the law.”

Charges and penalties

Eurolets was charged with the below offences, entering a guilty plea to all. Failure to:

• take general fire precautions

• have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment

• ensure appropriate fire arrangements

• ensure exit routes were clear and unlocked

• ensure appropriate fire safety measures in place and conveyed to employees and residents

• maintain and ensure fire safety equipment

• provide employees with sufficient fire safety information

• provide adequate safety training

• ensure adequate structural compartmentation.

• A further charge in respect of combustible items in the second inspection

Eurolets was ordered to pay a fine of £60,000 on the first charge (with no separate penalties for the remaining charges), a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £20,000. The total of £80,170 is to be paid over 10 months at a rate of £8,000 a month.

 

This is valid as of 1st December 2021.

A property managing agent has been ordered to pay more than £80,000 for safety failings which “exposed a potentially large number of people to risk of death or serious injury from fire.”
London Fire Brigade inspectors found serious fire safety defects during two visits to a five-storey building on Danbury Street in Islington, which is managed by Eurolets (UK) Limited. An Enforcement Notice requiring the company to address the concerns was issued following a visit in 2016, which was subsequently sufficiently complied with. However, a later visit then found similar defects to the previous inspection. The building consists of more than 40 self-contained flats let out to tenants and the inspections revealed deficiencies including: • combustible material near the entrance to the premises • lack of fire extinguishers and signage • doors wedged open • holes within the walls and a non-functioning fire alarm. Eurolets was charged with 10 separate offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and the company entered guilty pleas to all charges. The judge found that the company fell far short of the appropriate standards and there was serious and/or systemic failure within the organisation to address risks. The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Paul Jennings, said: “The combined effect of the deficiencies was that if a fire had started, there was a risk of an uncontrolled spread of heat, and smoke and flames affecting the whole premises, coupled with the only means of escape being overcome with smoke. “In sentencing, the judge made it clear that she increased the fine because of the large number of residents that had been put at risk by the company’s lack of action to address concerns. “We are pleased with the outcome of this case, which is thanks to the hard work which is done every day by our fire safety inspectors. It should also serve as a warning to property managers that we will take action where people are not taking their responsibilities seriously. “There’s no excuse for leaving people’s safety to chance, especially when information is so readily available to those with responsibility for safety in buildings to understand what their duties are and ensure they comply with the law.”
Charges and penalties
Eurolets was charged with the below offences, entering a guilty plea to all. Failure to: • take general fire precautions • have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment • ensure appropriate fire arrangements • ensure exit routes were clear and unlocked • ensure appropriate fire safety measures in place and conveyed to employees and residents • maintain and ensure fire safety equipment • provide employees with sufficient fire safety information • provide adequate safety training • ensure adequate structural compartmentation. • A further charge in respect of combustible items in the second inspection Eurolets was ordered to pay a fine of £60,000 on the first charge (with no separate penalties for the remaining charges), a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £20,000. The total of £80,170 is to be paid over 10 months at a rate of £8,000 a month.   This is valid as of 1st December 2021.

Homeworkers warned of increased fire risk

London Fire Brigade’s latest advice comes as the weather gets colder and people continue to work from home.

Portable heaters – such as halogen heaters – are one of the most common alternatives people use to keep warm, particularly if they are spending a lot of time in one room and want to avoid switching on their central heating.

Fires caused by these types of heaters can have devastating consequences – and they are not an unusual occurrence, as the Brigade says it has attended more than 1,200 of them in the last five years. Firefighters are concerned that homeworkers, confined for most of the day to their spare room or office, may be tempted to use these heaters more this year.

There have already been 160 heating-related fires in London this year, with 26 people suffering injuries as a result.

Homeworkers tempted to use a portable heater should be aware of the dangers. Common causes of heater fires are people using the heaters to dry clothing or leaving things too close to them which then catch light. They can also be started by things like nearby paperwork and, in a worst case, could even catch light to a person’s clothes, bedding or blankets if they are too close to the heater.

Fires involving heaters have a high mortality rate and, sadly, portable heaters have been the cause of 14 fatal fires in London in the past five years. Almost 200 people have suffered injuries from these types of fires since 2017.

Those with mobility issues using unsafe heating methods are also more likely to sustain a fatal injury.

The Brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: “Temperatures have noticeably fallen in recent days, and while we know we are a long way from real winter weather, people are still spending more time at home and we believe heaters will soon be switched on in homes across London to take the chill out of the air.

“We would urge people to take extra care if they are using additional heating appliances to stay warm as there is a very real risk of people being injured by heater fires.

“Fires involving heaters can be easily prevented if people take some sensible, common-sense precautions.

“Steps like keeping flammable items, such as curtains, blankets and furniture well away from heaters can make all the difference. It’s also important not to sit too close to them, especially if you’re likely to fall asleep, as there is a risk of serious burns, and make sure they are turned off and allowed to cool properly before being moved or put away.”

Firefighters’ tips for using portable heaters safely

• Make sure heaters are well maintained and in good working order

• Check that your heater isn’t on a recall list – there have been many fires in the past year due to heaters that have been recalled

• Never install, repair or service appliances unless you are a competent professional yourself. Make sure anyone who does is a registered professional

• Don’t take risks with old heaters – if it’s sparking, wires are loose, or if it’s showing signs of damage, replace it with a new one or get it tested and repaired by a qualified electrician

• Keep heaters well away from clothes, curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes

• Always sit at least one metre away from a heater as it could set light to your clothes or chair and cause you serious burns

• Before attempting to move your heater, turn it off and allow it to cool first

• Gas heater cylinders should be changed in the open air. If you have to change them indoors, make sure all rooms are ventilated and open the windows and doors

• Never store cylinders in basements, under stairs or on balconies and get empty cylinders collected regularly

• Halogen heaters can be cheap to buy, but it’s important to buy from a reputable seller as our Fire Investigators have also attended serious fires caused by non-compliant/counterfeit heaters

• beware if you have children or pets in case heaters get knocked over or covered up, leading to overheating and a fire.

 

This is valid as of 12th October 2021.

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Fire safety concerns in commercial property as incidents see 46% rise

Commercial properties left vacant or unattended throughout the pandemic are likely to have deteriorated over time, creating increasingly hazardous environments. Recent data has revealed that, despite a decline in fatal fire related incidents since 2011, there has been an increase in incidents attended proving that many properties still don’t have the correct fire safety measures in place.

Commercial property fires saw an increase of 46% over lockdown, and whilst facilities are now likely occupied as businesses reopen, experts say fire safety measures should continue to be enforced to mitigate risk. Without the correct fire safety measures, not only are facility users, the property itself and surrounding areas in danger, but those responsible may be at risk of serious fines and prison sentences.

MSL Property Care Services has warned businesses of the top causes of fires and details how to prepare properties to help reduce fire related incidents:

Top causes of commercial fires
❯ Electrical and Lighting Fixtures

Issues, such as faulty fuses, loose connections, overloaded circuits, and defective wiring can all lead to fires breaking out within commercial properties. It’s important to have regular professional checks of wires and fixtures, especially if you suspect a hazard.

❯ Heating systems

When used over prolonged periods of time or left unused, heating systems can be at risk of faults, leading to overheating and consequently fires. It’s essential that systems are regulated, switched off or set to timers before leaving the premises along with ensuring that they are inspected regularly for any faults.

❯ Exposure to Flammable Materials

Exposure to flammable sources, such as cladding, chemicals, spray paint, alcohols, and foil increases the risk of a fire outbreak. Whilst many facilities and businesses will consciously and carefully store flammable materials away, some materials cannot avoid exposure. Here, it’s important to assign a facilities management professional to assess materials, such as cladding and wood throughout the property.

❯ Cooking Equipment

Kitchen apparatus is the biggest cause of fire breakouts within commercial properties, with kitchen appliances equating for 41% of all fires on average. Whilst restaurants are most at risk, many businesses have cooking appliances on the premises, such as microwaves, toasters and kettles therefore it’s important these are all tested for safety.

According to Jeremy Harrison, Managing Director of MSL Property Care Services: “The Fire Regulatory Reform (2005), states that those responsible for fire safety, can include various personnel such as the property owner, landlord, employer, occupier or facility manager, and it’s crucial that those people are educated on fire safety for the premises. The correct training and safety plans should be in place, and businesses should consult professionals where needed to ensure the safety of all occupants”.

Mitigating fires

• remove fire hazards

• invest in safeguarding inspections to ensure that any fire hazards are identified and mitigated. These checks should be routinely carried out and implementing them within your planned maintenance schedule will ensure this happens

• update your fire safety plan

• regularly revaluating the property, both internally and externally, is important so that the correct measures are put in place should a fire break out. It is also crucial that all staff and other facility users are aware of this plan

• implement training

• all regular facility users should have fire safety training before occupying the property. Should your safety plan change, the responsible person(s) should carry out this training again

• install or update your fire safety systems

• fires can spread at rapid rates, so installing fire safety systems, such as fire alarms, sprinklers, fire doors and extinguishers is a key. It is just as important to implement regular checks, which can be carried out by facility professionals to ensure these are working correctly.

 

This is valid as of 21st September 2021.

Commercial properties left vacant or unattended throughout the pandemic are likely to have deteriorated over time, creating increasingly hazardous environments. Recent data has revealed that, despite a decline in fatal fire related incidents since 2011, there has been an increase in incidents attended proving that many properties still don’t have the correct fire safety measures in place.
Commercial property fires saw an increase of 46% over lockdown, and whilst facilities are now likely occupied as businesses reopen, experts say fire safety measures should continue to be enforced to mitigate risk. Without the correct fire safety measures, not only are facility users, the property itself and surrounding areas in danger, but those responsible may be at risk of serious fines and prison sentences. MSL Property Care Services has warned businesses of the top causes of fires and details how to prepare properties to help reduce fire related incidents:
Top causes of commercial fires
❯ Electrical and Lighting Fixtures
Issues, such as faulty fuses, loose connections, overloaded circuits, and defective wiring can all lead to fires breaking out within commercial properties. It’s important to have regular professional checks of wires and fixtures, especially if you suspect a hazard.
❯ Heating systems
When used over prolonged periods of time or left unused, heating systems can be at risk of faults, leading to overheating and consequently fires. It’s essential that systems are regulated, switched off or set to timers before leaving the premises along with ensuring that they are inspected regularly for any faults.
❯ Exposure to Flammable Materials
Exposure to flammable sources, such as cladding, chemicals, spray paint, alcohols, and foil increases the risk of a fire outbreak. Whilst many facilities and businesses will consciously and carefully store flammable materials away, some materials cannot avoid exposure. Here, it’s important to assign a facilities management professional to assess materials, such as cladding and wood throughout the property.
❯ Cooking Equipment
Kitchen apparatus is the biggest cause of fire breakouts within commercial properties, with kitchen appliances equating for 41% of all fires on average. Whilst restaurants are most at risk, many businesses have cooking appliances on the premises, such as microwaves, toasters and kettles therefore it’s important these are all tested for safety. According to Jeremy Harrison, Managing Director of MSL Property Care Services: “The Fire Regulatory Reform (2005), states that those responsible for fire safety, can include various personnel such as the property owner, landlord, employer, occupier or facility manager, and it’s crucial that those people are educated on fire safety for the premises. The correct training and safety plans should be in place, and businesses should consult professionals where needed to ensure the safety of all occupants”.
Mitigating fires
• remove fire hazards • invest in safeguarding inspections to ensure that any fire hazards are identified and mitigated. These checks should be routinely carried out and implementing them within your planned maintenance schedule will ensure this happens • update your fire safety plan • regularly revaluating the property, both internally and externally, is important so that the correct measures are put in place should a fire break out. It is also crucial that all staff and other facility users are aware of this plan • implement training • all regular facility users should have fire safety training before occupying the property. Should your safety plan change, the responsible person(s) should carry out this training again • install or update your fire safety systems • fires can spread at rapid rates, so installing fire safety systems, such as fire alarms, sprinklers, fire doors and extinguishers is a key. It is just as important to implement regular checks, which can be carried out by facility professionals to ensure these are working correctly.   This is valid as of 21st September 2021.

Fire Safety Bill receives Royal Assent

Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the Fire Safety Bill, it received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law).

The Bill had returned again to House of Lords for consideration of Commons amendments last Wednesday, in the latest (and final) round of Parliamentary ‘ping pong’.

MPs voted 242 to 153 to defeat an amendment to the Bill, which sought to protect the owners of blocks of flats from passing the costs of required safety upgrades on to leaseholders.

The Bill, which has gone through many rounds of votes, aims to toughen safety rules after 72 died in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in west London.

The new legislation modifies a previous law to clarify that building owners must manage and reduce the risk of fire in their properties. The government was under pressure last week to get it passed before the end of the parliamentary session on Thursday.

Thousands of leaseholders are currently facing large bills to pay for safety improvements, including fire breaks, new balconies, safer doors and sprinkler systems.

Ministers have been defeated several times in the House of Lords while attempting to pass the legislation as the issue of who should pay for additional safety works became a sticking point.

Earlier this year, the government announced a new £3.5bn support package, with ministers insisting no leaseholders in high-rise blocks in England will face charges for the removal of unsafe cladding.

However, critics of the government’s response have argued this will not cover all of the costs faced by leaseholders, which they said have emerged through no fault of their own.

Housing minister Chris Pincher said the Bill “is an important first step in our legislative programme delivering these recommendations and I cannot stress enough… the vital importance of this legislation and the ramifications if it fails as a result of outstanding remediation amendments.”

Speaking at the House of Commons last week, Mr Pincher said there was not enough time to redraft the Bill to both stop leaseholders from footing the bill and address concerns with the existing amendment.

Also last week, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced it has commissioned the British Standards Institution (BSI) to draft a code of practice for assessing external cladding.

Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the Fire Safety Bill, it received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law). The Bill had returned again to House of Lords for consideration of Commons amendments last Wednesday, in the latest (and final) round of Parliamentary ‘ping pong’. MPs voted 242 to 153 to defeat an amendment to the Bill, which sought to protect the owners of blocks of flats from passing the costs of required safety upgrades on to leaseholders. The Bill, which has gone through many rounds of votes, aims to toughen safety rules after 72 died in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in west London. The new legislation modifies a previous law to clarify that building owners must manage and reduce the risk of fire in their properties. The government was under pressure last week to get it passed before the end of the parliamentary session on Thursday. Thousands of leaseholders are currently facing large bills to pay for safety improvements, including fire breaks, new balconies, safer doors and sprinkler systems. Ministers have been defeated several times in the House of Lords while attempting to pass the legislation as the issue of who should pay for additional safety works became a sticking point. Earlier this year, the government announced a new £3.5bn support package, with ministers insisting no leaseholders in high-rise blocks in England will face charges for the removal of unsafe cladding. However, critics of the government's response have argued this will not cover all of the costs faced by leaseholders, which they said have emerged through no fault of their own. Housing minister Chris Pincher said the Bill “is an important first step in our legislative programme delivering these recommendations and I cannot stress enough... the vital importance of this legislation and the ramifications if it fails as a result of outstanding remediation amendments.” Speaking at the House of Commons last week, Mr Pincher said there was not enough time to redraft the Bill to both stop leaseholders from footing the bill and address concerns with the existing amendment. Also last week, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced it has commissioned the British Standards Institution (BSI) to draft a code of practice for assessing external cladding.

Cameron House Hotel – Fatal Accident Inquiry Decision

(Scotland)

Following a thorough investigation and criminal prosecution leading to the conviction of two parties Crown Counsel, on behalf of the Lord Advocate, have decided not to hold a Fatal Accident Inquiry into the deaths of Richard Dyson and Simon Midgley at Cameron House Hotel in December 2017.

The multi-agency investigation carried out by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), West Dunbartonshire Council and Police Scotland was overseen by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

These investigations led to criminal prosecutions in which Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Limited and Christopher O’Malley admitted responsibility for the fatal fire.

The purpose of a Fatal Accident Inquiry is to determine the cause of death and to establish what lessons can be learned for the future in order to minimise the risk of future deaths in similar circumstances.

Crown Counsel are satisfied that the reasons for this tragedy have been established and that the circumstances of the deaths were publicly identified during the prosecution process. The sheriff’s sentencing statements from these cases are published and provide an account of the events of the fire and the failings which were admitted.

In addition, Crown Counsel note that SFRS will engage with the accommodation sector to highlight the investigation and the tragic outcomes from the incident at the Cameron House Hotel and that this approach will be shared with UK Fire and Rescue Services to inform best practice.

In light of these judicial findings and safety review, and the detailed understanding available to SFRS of the events around the fire, Crown Counsel concluded that the public interest would not be further served by an FAI as the purpose of such an inquiry has already been met.

Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit of COPFS, said: “COPFS appreciates the impact the fire has had on the families and friends of Mr Dyson and Mr Midgley and many other people who were at the hotel that night.

“The nearest relatives of those who lost their lives have been provided with detailed reasons for the decision not to hold an FAI and our thoughts are with them at this time.”

 

This is valid as of 4th May 2021.

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Unlimited fines for those who breach fire safety regulations

Building owners could face unlimited fines following new measures being brought in to strengthen fire safety, the Home Office has announced.

As part of the government’s work to ensure people are safe in their homes, these limitless fines will be handed out to anyone caught obstructing or impersonating a fire inspector as well as to those who breach fire safety regulations under the Fire Safety Order.

These new measures, announced as part of the government’s response to the Fire Safety Consultation (see Reports), will come into force as part of the legislation in the Building Safety Bill.

The measures will amend the Fire Safety Order and will include a requirement for fire risk assessments to be recorded for each building and improve how fire safety information is handed over throughout the lifetime of a building.

The Home Office have also announced a further cash boost of £10 million for Fire and Rescue Authorities across England, on top of the £6 million already announced in the Fire Covid-19 Contingency Fund. This will help with additional tasks related to managing the pandemic – such as driving ambulances and assisting at testing and vaccination centres.

Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “Everyone should be safe in the buildings where they live, stay or work.

“Our new measures will improve fire safety and help save lives but will also take firm action against those who fail in their duty to keep people safe.

“Our incredible Fire and Rescue Services have played a crucial role in our response to the pandemic, from assisting at vaccination centres to driving ambulances. That is why we are giving them this cash boost, so they can continue their life-saving efforts.”

Roy Wilsher, National Fire Chiefs Council Chair, said: “The NFCC welcomes the extra funding to support Covid activities carried out by fire and rescue services across England. Firefighters are responsible for administering around 1 in 240 vaccinations to the public.

“We also welcome the government’s response to its own fire safety consultation and the continued investment in fire and rescue services protection work.

“Ultimately, we want to see safer buildings for residents and are committed to working constructively with the Home Office and other partners on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations and other key fire safety policy areas.”

The new measures announced will:

The government intends to launch a consultation on personal emergency evacuation plans this spring to seek additional views on implementing the relevant Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations.

The Home Office intends, subject to the Fire Safety Bill receiving Royal Assent, to lay regulations before the second anniversary of the Grenfell Inquiry Phase 1 Report which will deliver on the Inquiry’s recommendations.

The Fire Safety Bill clarifies that the scope of the Fire Safety Order (FSO) and changes to the FSO outlined above will be delivered through it. The Building Safety Bill will create the first national Building Safety Regulator and overhaul the way buildings in scope of the new regime are designed, built and managed when occupied.

 

This is valid as of 24th March 2021.

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