London Fire Brigade

Company fined for serious breaches of fire safety at hotel

05 March 2010

A company that owned a Bayswater hotel has been ordered to pay over £21,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to serious breaches of fire safety legislation following a prosecution brought by the London Fire Brigade.

Malfax Investments Limited admitted six offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Sentencing occurred on Wednesday 3 March 2010 at Westminster Magistrates Court.

The Averard Hotel on Lancaster Gate, W2 3LH was inspected by fire officers on 8 April 2009. The officers found a number of fire safety failings including inadequate fire detection and alarm system, problems with the external means of escape and inadequate and defective fire doors. As a result of these deficiencies the officers issued an enforcement notice on 17 April detailing the issues and when they needed to be completed by.

The company disclosed a fire risk assessment that was prepared in January 2008. It detailed a number of failings and advised steps they needed to take to address them. Malfax Investments Limited failed to act on the findings and implement any of the actions required to ensure peoples safety in the event of a fire occurring.

The hotel closed shortly after the enforcement noticed was issued.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order places a duty on the 'responsible person' for the premises (the person who controls the premises e.g. a owner /landlord/employer) to carry out a fire risk assessment, take appropriate measures to minimise the risk of fire and implement general fire precautions to protect people in the premises if a fire occurs. The assessment and the fire precautions must be kept under review by the ‘responsible person’.

London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation, Steve Turek, said: “The general public should feel safe from fire when they are staying at a hotel and the responsible person must make sure their premises comply with the regulations. All premises owners and operators must undertake a fire safety risk assessment. Although this was completed in this case, it is no use if the responsible person does not act on its findings.” 

Notes for editors

For more information about the RRO please visit http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/RegulatoryReformOrder2005.asp.

The biggest change under the RRO is that fire risk assessment and a duty of fire safety care was introduced for most premises and replaced fire certificates for those premises that previously required them (factories, offices, shops, railway premises, hotels and larger boarding houses). If you are an employer or have control over a premises (known as the ‘responsible person’) then you are required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment and act on its findings.