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May 13, 2020

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Contact tracing and COVID-19 director’s briefing

Fire safety

Over 25% of FSO prosecutions involve domestic premises

In his final article reviewing cases prosecuted under the Fire Safety Order, Fire Safety Lawyer Warren Spencer has revealed that over a quarter of all prosecutions brought under the order since 2009 involve an element of domestic living, despite the Order not being intended to apply to domestic premises.

“These figures continue to reaffirm my belief that, despite agreements held between fire services and local Borough Councils in respect of joint investigations and cooperation, predominantly, it is the Fire Safety Order and not The Housing Act that has been used to bring ‘rogue landlords’ to justice” says Warren.

The impact of the Grenfell Tower tragedy can already be seen statistically. In the eight years leading up to 2017, there were 12 prosecutions relating to purpose-built flats, yet in the two years following Grenfell, there were 14 prosecutions relating to similar premises.

“What is most significant to me, is that the Fire Safety Order is about to be reviewed in the light of the Grenfell tragedy, and although the Grenfell fire was responsible for a significant number of deaths, the prosecutions in relation to purpose-built flats account for only 4% of the total number of prosecutions under the Order.

Any review of the Order should, of course, take account of the lessons learned from Grenfell, but it should also take account of the problems that have arisen in respect of premises other than high-rise purpose-built flats, and which account for 96% of all prosecutions and, no doubt, the significant majority of all enforcement issues which have arisen since the Order came into effect in October 2006.”

Warren also added that the statistics should still be treated with some caution, while the recently published Fire Safety Bill “clarifies the position in relation to the often misunderstood responsibilities regarding flat doors in common areas and deals with the cladding issues identified in the Grenfell inquiry.

View the full statistics and access the full article, here.

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