Over 100 public buildings breach fire rules

A fifth of public buildings inspected in Tyne and Wear last year were found in breach of fire safety regulations, figures reveal.

By Federica Bedendo
Monday, 20th September 2021, 10:30 am
Fire safety checks
Fire safety checks

Home Office data shows 104 buildings inspected by the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service in the year to March did not comply with fire safety laws – 18% of those inspected.

These included 26 licensed premises, 24 shops and 16 factories or warehouses.

When fire service inspections are unsatisfactory, auditors cab issue an informal notification, to agree an action plan; enforcement notices, warning that a building breaches the law; or a prohibition notice to restrict or ban access to a building.

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Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service issued 16 formal notifications - including five enforcement notices and eight prohibition notices.

With the number of inspections plummeting nationally due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of audits in the area dropped by 866 to 588.

Nationally, 34,400 fire safety audits were carried out in 2020-21 – down 29% on the previous year.

Matt Wrack, the FBU's general secretary, said: "It is understandable that audit figures have dipped during the pandemic, but any shortfall in inspections needs to be made up.

"This may be difficult, though, with steep falls in the number of fire inspectors in recent years and that is a concern due to the building safety issues that have come to light since Grenfell and the increased number of buildings fire inspectors are responsible for."

Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “Stopping fires before they start is the best way to keep the places where we work and live safe, which is our number one priority.”