Landlords and other responsible persons including property managers and agents could face unlimited fines if they break new regulations under the Fire Safety Order.
The Home Office announced today (17 March) that the new regulations will amend the Fire Safety Order to ensure people are safe in their homes. The 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.
Formed as part of the government’s response to the Fire Safety Consultation (available here), the new measures would come into force as part of the legislation in the Building Safety Bill.
The new measures are intended to:
- Improve the quality of fire risk assessments and competence of those who complete them.
- Ensure vital fire safety information is preserved over the lifespan of all regulated buildings.
- Improve cooperation and coordination amongst people responsible for fire safety and making it easier to identify who they are.
- Strengthen enforcement action, with anyone impersonating or obstructing a fire inspector facing unlimited fines.
- Strengthen guidance issued under the Fire Safety Order so that failure to follow it may be considered in court proceedings as evidence of a breach or of compliance.
- Improve the 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.
The Fire Safety Bill is still subject to formal approval, and the Home Office intends to lay regulations before the second anniversary of the Grenfell Inquiry Phase 1 Report which will deliver on the Inquiry’s recommendations.
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.”
Roy Wilsher, National Fire Chiefs Council Chair, said:
“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.”