Failing to comply with fire safety legislation can be a criminal offence and can lead to significant fines and/or imprisonment. In the unfortunate event that an organisation faces legal proceedings being taken against them we can advise on liability, support with defence and assist with mitigation.
The framework governing fire safety in occupied premises in England and Wales is principally the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RR(FS)O). Its purpose is to govern fire safety in respect of the use and operation of occupied premises. The RR(FS)O places duties on the person (or company) with control; namely the Responsible Person who must identify fire risks and address fire safety.
Those duties relate to carrying out a fire risk assessment, implementing appropriate fire safety measures to minimise risks and to review the assessment. There are separate pieces of legislation that cover fire safety in Scotland and Northern Ireland, The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 respectively which also place duties on persons in control of premises similar to the RR(FS)O.
When a building is constructed and occupied in Ireland, statutory responsibility for safety is assigned by section 18(2) of the Fire Services Acts, 1981 & 2003 to the ‘person having control’ of the building. The person having control is required to take reasonable measures to guard against the outbreak of fire and to ensure the safety of persons in the event of fire.
Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 in Ireland requires employers to carry out risk assessments and to record these in the Safety Statement. A fire safety risk assessment should be conducted. This should include fire prevention, detection and warning, emergency escape, measures for firefighting, provision of sufficient information, training and supervision. Whether you need advice over the telephone or an assessment of your premises, our fire safety consultants and engineers can assist with helping you to ensure your premises comply with the relevant legislation.
The average fine under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 since the Grenfell Tower fire is £27,519, which is more than a third higher than the average fine before the tragedy. Source Warren Spencer:
This shows that courts are taking fire safety offences very seriously. In the unfortunate event that an organisation faces legal proceedings being taken against them (potential prosecution by an enforcing authority such as a Fire and Rescue Service) we can advise on liability, support legal teams with defence and assist with mitigating the impact of legal action.
James Gall was the Lead Fire Authority Prosecutions Officer with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority for 6 years and during that time successfully prosecuted a number of organisations and individuals. James has vast experience with the process of fire safety prosecution as a regulator and as a technical expert consultant. He is well placed to advise on complex prosecution matters.
Enforcement notices are served on a daily basis by authorities enforcing fire safety legislation and require the Responsible Person to remedy matters that are deemed to be a risk to the safety of people. Prohibition notices are served regularly and can either prohibit the use of a building or part of a building. A prohibition notice is generally only served where there is a serious and imminent risk to the safety of people. Being served with a prohibition notice is a significant risk to an organisation as it can have huge financial implications.
Notices can be complex and difficult to interpret without the correct understanding, with remedial works often detailed in a notice being costly. There are sometimes other ways of complying with a notice which can be less costly. We have the technical expertise to identify this and help you. Enforcement and prohibition notices served by a Fire and Rescue Service are required to be placed on a public register operated by the National Fire Chiefs Council (once the appeal period has ended). Customers may not want to engage with organisations which have a poor fire safety record.
We can assist by liaising with the enforcing authority on your behalf to mitigate the impact on your business whilst bringing about an adequate level of safety. Where you feel you shouldn’t have been served with such a notice, we can review this for you and advise you whether you have a right of appeal and support you through the process.
Firecode HTM 05-01 recommends that healthcare organisations commission the services of an independent fire engineer to act as the Authorising Engineer (Fire) for the organisation. The Authorising Engineer (Fire) acts as an assessor, makes recommendations for appointing Authorised Persons responsible for fire safety, monitors the performance of fire safety management and provides an annual audit to board level directors responsible for fire safety.
Firecode expects the Authorising Engineer (Fire) to be a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers (or a chartered member of a similar professional body). James Gall is a Chartered Engineer registered with the Engineering Council and Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers and has significant healthcare fire safety experience working with hospital trusts. During his service with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority he was responsible for Building Regulations, Fire Safety Engineering and legislative fire safety within healthcare premises. As well as having substantial experience carrying out fire risk analysis, he has extensive experience working at a strategic level advising on fire risk management strategies and producing strategic plans to safely deal with fire protection deficiencies, whilst balancing the operational requirements of hospitals.
Our registered address in the UK is:
288 Oxford Road
Company Registration Number: 12207699
VAT number: 353217713
Our registered address in Ireland is:
93 Upper George’s Street
Company Registration Number: 12207699
VAT number: 353217713