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New analysis reveals huge cost of fines for fire door fire safety breaches

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New analysis reveals huge cost of fines for fire door fire safety breaches

FIRE DOOR INSPECTION SCHEME (FDIS) Logo

Published by Liz Male for Fire Door Inspection Scheme in Housing

Damaged fire door Damaged fire door

Analysis by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order prosecutions last year suggests that ill-informed or negligent property owners are more likely than ever to receive large fines or even significant prison sentences. Courts are able to hand out unlimited fines and up to two years in jail. 

The most frequent fire door offenders in 2013 were small business owners running rented accommodation above shops and landlords operating houses in multiple occupation.   However, the largest fine issued in 2013 was £50,000 to the owner of Abbey College in Malvern which the judge said had “woefully inadequate” fire safety measures that included “non-functional fire doors in student sleeping areas”.  (source: The Times)

The longest prison sentence was a 15 month suspended sentence given to the owner of a takeaway in Croydon who was found guilty of committing a string of fire safety offences in his premises including no fire doors to the bedrooms on the first and second floors.  Munawar Ahmed was also fined £40,000 and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.  (source: London Fire Brigade)

 

The most tragic case resulted in the death of a seven year old boy in one of many properties without fire doors owned by a landlord in Kettering.  The landlord was jailed for nine months and also ordered to pay £7,500 in costs. (source: Daily Mail)

Other cases included:

  • An HMO landlord in Blackpool who was fined £36,000 plus costs of £7,000 after admitting 10 breaches of the Fire Safety Order including fire doors that did not close properly.  (source: Landlord Today)
  • Fine of £48,000 for owners of a nursing home in Liverpool for putting the safety of elderly residents at risk with various actions including “having wedged-open and defective fire doors”.  (Source: Fire Industry Association)
  • A £12,000 fine for a Blackpool Indian takeaway boss in a case that cited “inadequate fire doors”. (Source: Blackpool Gazette)
  • A four month suspended prison sentence and a £30,000 fine for the former director of a health spa in Clapham for breaking fire safety regulations including having no fire doors on the ground floor and no self-closing doors leading onto the buildings escape routes. (Source: Fire Magazine)

 

Neil Ashdown urges building owners, including landlords, care homes, hotels and hospitals, to use the services of a FDIS inspector: 

“The number of prosecutions we are seeing shows a frightening lack of awareness among building owners about their responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, or RRO as it is often known. Dodgy fire doors are usually just one of many signs of fire safety negligence.

“This matches the experience of FDIS Certificated Inspectors who are now providing professional fire door inspection services to a wide range of clients in England. Thankfully FDIS inspectors are much in demand and are helping to transform knowledge and understanding about the critical role of fire doors and how they can save lives and protect property. FDIS Inspectors can carry out on-site inspections of installed fire doors in existing or new buildings. This is an essential part of any fire risk assessment required by law to be done by a building’s Responsible Person.”

“An FDIS Certificated Inspector will carry out a fully comprehensive inspection of all your fire doors, well documented with recommendations for remedial guidance if called for. This help and guidance is invaluable when compiling the overall risk assessment for the building.”

Inspectors can be found at: http://fdis.co.uk/inspector

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