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Special Education Schools Fail Children

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Special Education Schools Fail…… time for the Government to act

Special Education Schools “Fail” Children without having sprinkler systems in place. The essential need for sprinklers to be fitted in schools looking after children with special education needs has been highlighted by the London Fire Brigade in an official response to the Government’s technical review of Building Bulletin 100 (BB100).

The London Fire Brigade said that schools are ‘failing to protect vulnerable children’ from the effects of a disastrous fire by not fitting sprinkler systems within all the new and refurbished special education needs schools.

The statement said, “The current BB100 guidance does not reflect that school buildings where there are significant numbers of children with special educational needs are considered as a medium to high vulnerability risk.

“We want sprinkler systems to be mandatory in new schools and major refurbishments and for guidance to be updated around the evacuation of children with additional needs to take into account their health and safety, and to maintain their dignity.”

Since 2014, 549 fires have started in education buildings with only 13 having sprinkler systems fitted, and, this year alone, 41 school fires have occurred in London with none of them having sprinkler systems fitted.

Dan Daly, assistant commissioner for fire safety, said, “So far this year we’ve been to at least two school fires a week and none of these buildings have had any Fire Sprinkler systems installed.

“Minimising the disruption and impact of a fire is particularly pertinent at special educational needs school where vulnerable children learn.

“We’ve been campaigning for sprinklers in schools for well over ten years and, despite this, we continue to be ignored. “It is time for the government to act.”

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Original Source 

London Fire Brigade 

Landlord Fined Again for Fire Safety Breaches

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Landlord Fined Again….”No regard’ for the Safety of Tenants

A Landlord has been fined again for Fire Safety breaches, serial offender, landlord Jack Collins, has been fined £20,000 after being found guilty of failing to protect the safety of his tenants in ten of his properties.

He was prosecuted by Leeds City Council and appeared at the local Magistrate’s court, charged with a wide variety of charges related to the ‘disgraceful state’ of his rental properties in the Beeston area.

Among a number of offences, Mr Collins was found guilty of  yet again failing Fire Safety, breaches such as failing to maintain a working fire alarm system; failure to ensure a means of escape was kept clear; and failing to keep a proper escape route in good order for his tenants in the case of an emergency situation.

The Landlord fined again for fire and safety breaches was fined £14,000 in February last year for similar offences in relation to two other properties under his ownership.

The Magistrates Panel said: “Mr Collins, you own 10 properties, your business is in housing people and it is quite clear and apparent you are deficient in this role and business.”

Mr Collins was fined £17,500 and ordered to pay the prosecutions costs of £2,446.50 plus a victim surcharge of £170.

He told the court that he had been unhappy with the quality of work from some of his contractors and felt he had to do the work himself, but due to suffering ill health was unable to carry out the works.

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Original sources

South Leeds Life, May 2019

South Leeds Life, February 2018

Care home fined over £100,000

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Care Home fined over £100,000 for ‘Serious’ fire safety failings

A Care Home has been fined over £100,000, the Care Home based in South London has been fined £90,000 plus more than £15,000 in costs after it was found guilty of breaching fire safety regulations, following the death of an elderly woman.

Back in 2015, a fire broke out in one of the rooms at Wood House Care Home based in Tooting, London, killing a 78-year-old pensioner through severe burning. 

The care home was closed shortly after the fire.

After the fire, the London Fire Brigade investigated the venue and found a series of serious Fire Safety concerns. The fire risk assessments carried out by the home were the main concern and it was found to not adequately reflect the premises or the ‘no smoking’ policy, and not considering the specific risk of individuals within the property.

London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Dan Daly said, “The fire risk assessment did not adequately reflect the fact that some residents were at serious risk in the event of a fire.

“There were serious breaches of fire safety and measures to safeguard the wellbeing of residents within the property. These issues could have been put in place easily and quickly and at very little cost.

“Carers need to look at the individual needs of the people they look after and incorporate fire risks into the care planning process.

“A person-centred fire risk assessment is essential. If this had been put in place then this tragic case could have avoided.”

The company who owned the care home, Gold Care Consultancy Ltd, were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.

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Original Source

London Fire Brigade

Government £200 million Cladding Bill

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Government meet £200 Million Cladding Bill……. Covering 150 High-Rise Tower Blocks

Government meet the £200 Million Cladding Bill in a bid to speed up cladding replacement. The Government will spend the £200 million to fund the work for private high-rise residential buildings, ‘eliminating excuses used by some building owners.’

Unsafe aluminium composite material cladding will be removed from more than 150 privately owned tower blocks.

Prime Minister, Theresa May, commented, “It is of paramount importance that everybody is able to feel and be safe in their homes.

“Today I can confirm the Government will meet the £200 Million Cladding Bill, fully funding the replacement of cladding on high-rise private residential buildings so residents can feel confident they are secure in their homes.”

It was alleged that private building owners failed to act, offloading costs to leaseholders, before this government intervention.

Grenfell United and the UK Cladding Action Group have been campaigning to the government since the Grenfell tragedy. They outlined the challenges in getting private building owners to fund the necessary replacements.

Building owners will have three months from the beginning of July to access the new fund.

The same work has already been funded in social housing developments, although there are 23 blocks still awaiting repairs.

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Original Source

gov.uk

New Build Homes ‘Not Fire Safe’

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Investigation…….New Build Homes “Not Fire Safe”

A BBC Investigation has found that some New Build Homes are “not Fire Safe”. Although building regulations require, by law, that new homes are built with fire protection measures some new build homes were found to be “Not Fire Safe”. They were found to be missing or incorrectly installed fire barriers to delay the spread of fire and allow crucial time for escape.

An investigation from the BBC found that some new build Homes are not Fire Safe leaving some Persimmon Homes and Bellway Homes sold without vital fire protection.

Serious breaches were undetected during construction, leaving homes and lives potentially at risk if a fire breaks out.

In some cases, a lack of fire barriers contributed to the spread of flames that have destroyed homes, such as in April 2018 when a fire started from a cigarette being dropped spread to the adjacent houses in Exeter.

A further 650 homes from Persimmon were found in the South West with missing or incorrectly installed fire barriers.

Similarly, after a fire took hold in a block of Bellway Homes flats in Kent, an investigation was carried out that found breaches in every property it checked.

Surveyor and expert witness Greig Adams, who carried out the testing, found poorly fitted fire barriers with voids and gaps around them that would prevent them from stopping a fire from spreading.

“What we’ve unfortunately found is that there are fire breach issues in every house we’ve looked at. It’s a legal requirement that the cavity barriers are to be there. It’s not optional- and with good reason: it saves lives”

Both companies said they are committed to improvement and that remedial works are being carried out currently.

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Original Source

BBC

Could Palace Suffer Same Fate…..

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MPs Warn Palace Could Suffer Same Fate…….

Could Palace suffer same fate? The question being asked, is it possible that Westminster Palace could suffer the same fate as the terrible fire that engulfed Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral? UK Members of Parliament have warned the same could happen to the Palace unless urgent action is taken to address major fire risks.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there were “huge” risks of a fire engulfing the Palace of Westminster. Which generally dates back to the 19th century and some parts dating as far back as 1099.

He added “You see beautiful buildings like that and think of the beautiful buildings we’ve got in this country. If any of those were destroyed in a fire, how would we feel about it?

“The state of the building is very poor in Westminster and a fire risk is obviously huge with a building that has so much wood within it.”

Could Westminster Palace suffer the same fate due to much of the building’s mechanical and electrical systems, such as heating, lighting and power, being installed into the building after World War Two. These should have ideally been replaced back in the 1980s.

Tom Healey, restoration programme director, said “Parliament had taken a ‘patch and mend approach’ instead, to keep systems plodding along despite being way beyond their shelf life.

Labour MP Chris Bryant said, “We have taken far too long already putting our fire safety measures in place.

“Parts of the palace are as old as Notre Dame and we must make sure that every fire precaution is taken as the major work goes ahead. God knows we’ve had enough warnings.”

MPs and peers are due to move out of the Palace of Westminster in 2025 to allow for a major six-year renovation programme. This will bring the site up-to-date, including ripping out and replacing 240 miles-worth of cabling, installing a new sewage system and improving access.

A parliamentary spokesperson said: “Fire safety is a key priority for parliament, and protections are constantly reviewed and updated including at our active construction sites.

“Last year we completed a major programme of works to enhance fire safety measures in the Palace of Westminster, and while this work continues we stand ready to learn any lessons that emerge from the fire at Notre Dame to ensure we do everything possible to protect our people and buildings on the parliamentary estate.”

They added: “Health, safety and wellbeing, including fire safety, will remain the highest priority.”

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Original Source

ITV

Council Fails Fire Safety

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Council Fail Fire Safety with Potentially ‘Serious Detriment’ to Tenants

Gateshead Council Fails Fire Safety requirements, the Regulator of Social Housing has found that statutory requirements across a range of areas including fire safety, asbestos and electrical safety have not been met by Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council.

As a consequence of these issues, the Council has been found in breach of the Home Standard and a correction programme that is currently in place.

As a consequence of the breach, there was the potential for “serious detriment to Tenants safety” after the Council Fails Fire Safety Requirements.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the Council has a statutory duty to regularly assess the risk of fire in properties where it has responsibility for maintenance and to take precautions to prevent the risk of fire.

Up until mid-2018, there was no programme to carry out risk assessments across properties in the area and, although fire risk assessments were carried out on many high-rise properties, they were not carried out in other locations.

Since identifying these issues, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council has been carrying out a programme of fire risk assessments and has developed a programme to undertake the works arising from those assessments prioritised according to risk.

Concluded in the official government document, “The Regulator of Social Housing will work with Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council as it seeks to address the issues which have led to this situation, and will consider what, if any, further action to take in relation to the breach of the Home standard.”

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Original Source

Gov.uk

Landlord fined £50,000

Landlord fined £50,000……….

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Landlord Found guilty of 18 offences and fined over £50,000

A Landlord has been fined £50,000 and found Guilty of poor Fire Safety, after pleading guilty to 18 offences relating to two houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), Lettings of London Ltd has been ordered to pay over £50,000.

The letting agent, based in North London, was found guilty at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court. They will pay fines of £43,000 and £10,000 to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

After council officers carried out an initial inspection of the properties in 2018, a number of deficiencies were found. They concluded that the fire safety equipment in both houses had not been maintained in good working order and now ordered to pay over £50,000 in fines.

There were also no working fire alarms or fire blankets in either property. Self -closers on fire doors were not working and Emergency Lighting was not working. There were loose coping stones and rusted metal handrails on an external staircase outside one of the properties.

Initially, the landlord argued that the properties were in a good state of repair, regularly inspected and that any issues were rectified in good time.

Simone Russell, corporate director at WHBC, said: “This is the second case this year with one of the largest fines we have seen for offences relating to HMO properties.

“These were serious breaches of the law and could have led to severe injury or worse.”

He continued, “Landlords can join our council-run accreditation scheme, PAL, which makes it easier for landlords to understand meet high standards of management practice.”

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Original Source

Welwyn Hatfield Times

Care Home fIned

Care Home Fined

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Care Home Fined for Putting Vulnerable Residents at Risk

Stapley Care Home based in Liverpool have been fined and ordered to pay for a range of fire safety offences.

Several breaches in Fire Safety had put both staff and residents at risk of serious injury or death.

After several Inspections Liverpool Magistrates Court found the Care home guilty of five breaches of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Mr Brian Massie, senior fire protection officer for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) commented on the Courts ruling.

“This care home has approximately 70 residents, some suffering dementia and needing significant support”.

He added ” from 2011 onwards, several inspections of the premises have been conducted and it is clear Stapely Care Home were aware of their duties under the fire safety order.”

The 2018 inspection found the care home had failed to maintain the Fire Alarm system and to a satisfactory standard.

Combustible materials had not been removed and fire doors inadequate, missing the appropriate Fire Safety strips and seals.

It was suggested that a fire could have spread very quickly within the property due to insufficient means of raising an alarm. This allowing the rapid spread of smoke and fire  putting vunerable staff and Residence in significant danger.

Those in charge were also accused of failing to ensure the premises were subject to a suitable Fire Alarm system and maintenance.

Despite District Judge Shaw acknowledging the severity of the offences and ‘risk of harm including death’, as the care home is run by a charitable organisations a very large fine would have a detrimental impact on service users, therfore the fine was set at £6,000.

Following on from this case, Merseyside Fire And Rescue (MFRS) will be conducting a new fire safety campaign targeting all care homes across Merseyside.

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Original Source 

Liverpool Echo

estate agent fined

Estate Agent Fined £50,000

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Estate Agent recieves Large Fine For Fire Safety Breaches

Assim Estate Agent Ltd have been fined and ordered to pay £50,000. The company pleaded guilty of fire safety breaches at St Albans Magistrates Court.

Nick Pace, executive member for housing and community at the council, commented that  “This is one of the largest fines we have seen for this type of offence”

After the Landlord informed Council Inspectors in 2017  that the plans for the property were for it to be either sold or let.  A later Council Officer Inspection of the property in early July 2018 found it being used as a HMO, housing five seperate Tenants. The Estate Agent fined have refused to comment.

Council Officers inspecting the poroperty found it to be in breach of inadequate:

  • fire detection and alarms in communal areas
  • interlinked fire detection to the rest of the property
  • satisfactory means of escape

Furher breaches included no fire blankets, poor lighting and inadequate window handles in any of the communal areas and occupied Tenant bedrooms.

A later inspection of the property in late July 2018 found ‘no work had been carried out to improve’ any of the breaches previously found.

On top of the £45,000 fine, the Estate Agent were further ordered to pay nearly £5,000 in court fees and an additional victim surcharges.

Nick Pace added, “the fine indicates the seriousness of this case and sends out a clear message, that we do not compromise the safety of tenants.”

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Original Source

Welwyn Hatfield Times