FDIS reveals million pound problem with faulty fire doors

Fines for faulty fire doors have reached almost £1million already this year, according to new research by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS).

Reviewing every news report it could find of prosecutions under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order since the start of this year which included references to faulty or missing fire doors, FDIS found 45 published prosecutions so far in 2015, covering all parts of the country and many different building types.

FDIS calculates that more than £951,000 in fines and costs has been imposed by the courts in these cases, targeting private landlords, business owners and care home managers after they had failed to install or maintain adequate fire doors.

In addition to the large number of fines given, many defendants were also handed down suspended prison sentences, typically three to eight months or longer. For some of the worst offenders, prison was deemed to be the only suitable option to deter future would-be offenders.

The majority of prosecutions seen by FDIS (58%) were of landlords who let out HMOs (houses in multiple occupancy, often bedsits, flat-lets and shared houses). Often letting agents were included in the fines too.

About 16% of the cases reviewed involved pubs, restaurants and takeaways. The majority of these prosecutions resulted in either a suspended or immediate prison sentence.

There were also a number of cases which involved nurseries or care homes – buildings which house the most vulnerable. In the majority of situations these were either put into special measures, or closed down altogether.

Kevin Hulin, FDIS manager, said:

“A million pound problem is actually likely to be much, much worse – we are just looking at the cases that get reported in the press. But we continue to see such ignorance of fire door safety, and this puts our property and lives at risk, and the lives of the fire service personnel who work to protect us.

“The level of fines imposed also pales into almost insignificance when one considers the real cost of fire – the consequential loss to business, the disruption to local communities, especially when educational facilities are severely damaged, and the impact on housing shortages, to name but three.

“After 10 years of the Fire Safety Order legislation, there really should be no excuse. Every building owner and landlord should be inspecting the fire doors in their properties, or calling in a qualified professional to do the job properly.”

FDIS has published the litany of fire door horror on the Storify website, and is continuing to build its dossier of dodgy fire door stories.

Theodore Firedoor, the FDIS mascot and part of its ongoing marketing campaign on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, has also started #FireDoorFriday to publish each week’s worst example of fire door neglect.

You can see the Storify page at:
https://storify.com/Theodore_Fire/fire-door-prosecutions-in-2015

Theodore Firedoor can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

The Fire Door Inspection Scheme is currently providing more than 700 building owners, facilities managers, property agents and other professionals with online learning leading to a Diploma in Fire Doors, and a route to becoming a certificated fire door inspector.

FDIS inspectors help those with legal responsibilities for fire safety to ensure the safe functioning of all their fire doors.

Find your local FDIS inspector at: http://fdis.co.uk/inspector