Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants



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Lawrence Webster Forrest
Legion House
Lower Road
Kenley
Surrey
CR8 5NH

Tel: +44 (0)20 8668 8663 Fax: +44 (0)20 8668 8583
E-mail: fire@lwf.co.uk

Breaching Fire Safety Law - Effects, Penalties and Contraventions

Whilst the majority of us are aware that fire safety is a legal requirement, many do not consider what that actually means in reality.  The literal translation is relatively obvious, failure to meet with the legal requirements means you are breaking the law!  However, who is breaking the law and what are the implications.

This bulletin is not intended as a ‘scaremongering’ tactic, but provides some details on the potential implications of not meeting statutory requirements.

Moral

Fire kills.  Whilst this sounds harsh, it is a reality.  Fire can kill not only the occupants / neighbours of a building but can also kill Fire-Fighters who are sent in to tackle a fire or rescue people.  The effects of non compliance when it comes to fire safety can be catastrophic, having a devastating effect on people and potentially communities.

Reputation

Fires are never considered to be good news and in the main have a negative effect on a businesses reputation.  Once more the effect of a fire can adversely effect a number of people.

Financial

This aspect has two clear branches.  Should a fire occur, this will have a negative effect on a business, the extent of this will depend on factors such as the size of the organisation, the type of organisation etc.  Statistics suggest that some business never fully rebuild after a fire.

The second aspect of financial implications is fines for breaches in fire safety.  Similar to other arms of the law, fire safety contraventions can bring with them financial penalties.  In recent times a major high street retailer was reported to have been fined £400,000 plus costs for failing to comply with fire safety legislation.

Whilst such fines are not common, smaller fines are often encountered, and it’s not just large organisations that are focused on, a Public House was recently fined in the region of £16,000 for breaches. 

Responsibilities 

In some instances, occupants do not understand their responsibilities in terms of fire safety and this leaves them exposed, ignorance is no defence.  In terms of responsibility, managers, building owners, Directors, Chief Executives etc must all have an understanding of the responsibilities within their organisation.  It is common that an individual in a senior position is ultimately responsible, however, responsibilities as with any work process can be devolved to relevant persons.  For example, within a chain of retail outlets the CEO may hold overall responsibility, however each store manager may be liable for their own store.  This situation is acceptable as long as the CEO (or appointed person) ensures adequate training, knowledge and experience is in place to assume such responsibilities.  It is clear that a Fire Safety Policy / Procedures document is required to document such arrangements and to communicate the systems in place for ensuring compliance.

Summary

Whilst the majority of organisations have adequate fire safety management systems and fire precautions in place, this is not true of all.  However, it is clear that the enforcing authorities are maintaining vigilance in this area and where appropriate utilising the legislative vehicle to reduce the risk / consequence of fire will be relied upon where necessary.

If you would like to know more – or would like to arrange an appointment with one of our senior fire safety advisers – simply call Peter Gyere, Marketing Director 020 8668 8663.

 

 


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FIRE SAFETY BLOGS

  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & External Water Supplies - Part 24

    In LWF’s fire engineering blog series for Architects and other professionals involved in building design, we have been looking at firefighting and, most recently, the provisions that should be made for the Fire Service to attend and put out a fire. In part 23, we looked at the requirements and recommendations relating to the provision of fire hydrants and we continue from that point in part 24.The original standards for the installation of water...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Access & Facilities for the Fire Service - Part 58

    In LWFs blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 57 of this series, LWF looked at what access and facilities must be provided for the Fire Service attending a fire at a healthcare venue. In part 58, we will continue from that point by looking at the number and location of fire-fighting shafts required in those healthcare...

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  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Insurers & Property Protection - Part 5

    In LWF’s blog series for those professionals who work in facilities management or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at property protection and the role of the insurer. In part 4, some of the history that led to property insurance from fire was given and in part 5, we will continue looking at how different the early insurers could be from what we know today.While the...

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  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & External Water Supplies - Part 23

    In LWFs fire engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at the subject of firefighting. In part 22, we gave information on some of the regulations and guidance documents which deal with the issue of provision of fire hydrants. In part 23, we continue from that point by looking at who should provide them and where they should be placed in relation to the building.

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Access & Facilities for the Fire Service - Part 57

    In LWFs blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 56 of this series, LWF spent time looking at the access required by Fire and Rescue Service vehicles to healthcare buildings not fitted with fire mains. In part 57, LWF will continue looking at those measures which should be taken to ensure the Fire Service has access to...

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Case Studies

The Wohl Neuroscience Institute - Fire Safety, Strategy & Engineering
Key Facts: Client: King’s Clinical Neuroscience Institute Project Manager: MACE Ltd Designers: Devereux Architects/Allies and Morrison Approximate Size: 7,400m2 Description of the Project:...

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General Bulletins

Fire - The External Risk
When we consider fire safety, our focus is normally from within, what can we do to prevent the occurrence of fire and how we can limit its damage.  Whilst this is the correct stance to take, we m...

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Technical Bulletins

Evacuation Modelling - Factor in Human Behaviour
Evacuation of buildings can be analyzed in different ways. Approved Document B (ADB) which provides guidance on meeting the requirements of the England and Wales Building Regulations with regard to fi...

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