Government warns of unlimited fines for breaches to fire safety regulations

Building owners could encounter unlimited fines in the wake of Home Office announcement concerning new measures intended to bolster fire safety.

The new measures, announced on 17th March 2021, have been revealed as part of the government’s response to the Fire Safety Consultation and will come into effect as part of the legislation in the Building Safety Bill.

The Home Office said: “these 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”.

The measures aim to boost the quality of fire risk assessments, reinforce the competence of those who complete them and improve how fire safety information is managed throughout the lifetime of a building.

The government has disclosed 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 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 11m tall to install premises information boxes.

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.”