25 Mar 2021
Building owners who breach fire safety regulations under the Fire Safety Order will be subject to unlimited fines, the Home Office has announced.
The measures come as part of the government’s response to the Fire Safety Consultation and will be included in the Building Safety Bill legislation currently working its way through parliament.
The fines will also be issued to anyone obstructing or impersonating a fire inspector, according to the Home Office.
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.
It comes amid widespread reforms of building safety legislation in the country. The government’s draft Building Safety Bill, published last summer, proposes a number of changes, including the creation of a Building Safety Regulator, a new Homes Ombudsman and an accountable person for every high-rise building in the country. Alongside the announcement of unlimited fines, the Home Office unveiled a £10m boost for fire and rescue authorities across England, on top of the £6m already announced in the Fire COVID-19 Contingency Fund.
The government said the new measures will:
- 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 co-operation and co-ordination among 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 11m tall to install premises information boxes
Building safety minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “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.”