Increased fire risks in sleeping accommodation
As demand for property continues to grow, the number of mixed use properties which include residential accommodation is also on the increase.
However many of these buildings were never designed to be used for residential accommodation and their fire protection design and systems may not be sufficient to protect occupants.
Awareness and reaction times are greatly reduced during sleep. If the correct fire safety measures are not in place occupants may be subject to a much higher risk of death or injury in the event of a fire. Fire safety in these types of buildings often requires consideration of a more complex range of risk factors due to the variety of property types and occupancy profiles. Specialist advice may be required to understand what is required to comply with legislation.
Despite the heightened risk levels, compliance has often fallen short of what is legally required. Lack of compliance not only puts residents at serious risk, but also leaves those responsible for the property vulnerable to prosecution.
In an attempt to improve safety levels response the authorities are now turning their attention to this sector and are imposing heavy penalties for those who fail to meet their compliance requirements.
There have been several prosecutions in the news recently, highlighting the consequences of failing to comply.
The borough of Barnet alone has handed out fines of over £220,000 to rogue landlords since the start of the year, the latest being a £25,000 fine for a landlord who risked tenants lives by failing to install smoke detectors, fire resistant doors and did not have gas or electric safety certificates for his HMO.
Another recent case involved the owner of a guest house being fined £24,000 after pleading guilty to eight charges for serious breaches of fire safety regulations. Including:
- Inadequate fire protection for fire escape routes
- Combustible storage material within the fire escape route
- An inadequate fire warning system
- No fire risk assessment
- No firefighting equipment
- A failure to comply with the requirements of a Prohibition Notice
If you are responsible for properties which contain sleeping accommodation and would like to discuss your fire safety measures why not give us a call on 0845 058 9999 our team of fire safety specialists will be happy to help.