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Unlimited fines for breach of fire safety regulations

Gateley Legal

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The Government has announced further measures to strengthen fire safety following on from the Grenfell tragedy.

These measures are the consequence of the Fire Safety Consultation which took place last year to inform the Government work on improving fire safety. The Government received feedback from over 250 stakeholders with an interest in building and fire safety, including residents, Responsible Persons and enforcing authorities. 

In particular, the recently announced proposals will:

•    Introduce unlimited fines for anyone breaching Fire Safety Regulations under the Fire Safety Order or for anyone caught obstructing or impersonating a Fire Inspector.

•    Improve the quality of Fire Risk Assessments and competence of those who complete them. 

•    Ensure that the vital Fire Safety Information is preserved over the life span of all Regulated buildings. 

•    Improve co-operation and coordination amongst people responsible for Fire Safety and making it easy to identify whom they are. 

•    Strengthen the role of guidance issued under the Fire Safety Order so that failure to follow it may be considered in Court Proceedings as evidence of a breach. 

•    Improved engagement between building control bodies and fire authorities in reviewing plans for building work. 

•    Require all new flats above 11 metres tall to install premises information boxes. 

Comment

The imposition of unlimited fines for breaches of the Fire Safety Order is a significant step change in the context of fire safety enforcement. To date, the sentencing of fire safety offences has been outside the remit of the Sentencing Guidelines for breaches of Health & Safety Legislation and fines historically have been considerably lower following prosecution than in connection with other Health & Safety related offences. This looks set to change with the most recent proposals from the Home Office, which will clearly support a tougher approach by Courts when sentencing Fire Safety Offences. 

If there are any issues which you would like to discuss further?

If there are any issues which you would like to discuss concerning Fire Safety, Health & Safety or the new proposals from the Government concerning the Building Safety Bill, our expert regulatory and business defence team is on hand to help. 

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