Fire safety legislation the effect of forty years of streamlining
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Fire Safety Legislation: The Effect of Forty Years of Streamlining. PETE PINNEY. MIFSM GIFireE. In the beginning.

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Fire Safety Legislation: The Effect of Forty Years of Streamlining

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Fire safety legislation the effect of forty years of streamlining

Fire Safety Legislation: The Effect of Forty Years of Streamlining

PETE PINNEY. MIFSM GIFireE


In the beginning

In the beginning...

  • William the Conqueror required all fires to be extinguished at night. The most popular method of achieving this was to use a metal cover that was put over the fire to exclude the air. This cover was called a ‘Couvert Feu’ which in use became ‘Curfew’.


12 th century

12th Century

The first recorded attempt to legislate for fire safety...

The Mayor of London laid down that houses in the city were to be built of stone, thatched roofs were not permitted, and party walls were to be of minimum height and thickness.


13th century

13th Century

A disastrous fire in London, where an estimated 3000 people died, led to all alehouses being governed on their construction. Other requirements were made in connection with bakeries and brew houses.

During the summer months a tub of water was to be made available in case of fire.


14th century

14th Century

During the 14th century a move from central hearths to a position against an outside wall began, however it was not until the end of the century that chimneys came into use.

As these were usually made from hollowed out logs the hazard became worse!


15th century

15th Century

The 15th century saw timber chimneys outlawed and the first Act of Parliament relating to fire which made provision for fire prevention, fire fighting and penalties against persons causing fire in Scotland.


17th century

17th Century

  • The Great Fire of London started in the early hours of 2nd September 1666 at the end of a long dry summer and after burning for 4 days had destroyed five-sixths of the city.

  • Although only 6 people died it was a national disaster and London acquired its first complete code of building regulations and the means for its implementation.


Fire safety legislation the effect of forty years of streamlining

1666

On September 13th King Charles II issued a proclamation...

The walls of all new buildings were to be of brick or stone.The main streets were to be widened to prevent fire spread.


18th century

18th Century

  • The Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act came into being in 1774.

  • This Act listed buildings into 7 classes with thickness of external walls and party walls laid down for each class.

  • The Act also included provisions with the maximum area of warehouses. London boroughs were to appoint Surveyors and...

  • "every parish should provide three or more proper ladders of one, two and three storeys high, for assisting persons in houses on fire to escape therefrom"


19 th century

19th Century

Things start to ‘hot up’...

  • Formation of the Edinburgh Fire Engine Establishment in October 1824.

  • The 1844 Metropolitan Building Act, which was based on the Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act 1774.

  • The 1847 Towns Improvement Clauses Act and the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act (construction of roofs and walls, and the purchase of fire engines).

  • In 1850 the Burgh Police Actrequired that party walls be carried through to the roof.


19 th century cont d

19th Century –cont’d

  • In 1858 the Local Government Actgave urban authorities the power to make building bylaws.

  • In 1861, a fire in Tooley Street, London burned for two days and cost the insurance companies over £2m.

  • Section 36 of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act of 1890 followed the inquest on the 1887 fire at the Theatre Royal, Exeter, in which 186 people died.

  • The Factory and Workshop Acts of 1891 & 1895 saw the introduction of the first control of means of escape in case of fire from factories.


20 th century

20th Century

  • A fire in a textile factory in Queen Victoria Street, London on 9th June 1902 cost the lives of 8 girls resulted in new powers under the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1905to require works to be done to certain existing buildings to ‘facilitate escape’.

  • Following a fire in February 1956 at the Eastwood Mills, Keighley, in which eight people died, the 1961 Factories Act placed the responsibility for certifying means of escape on the Fire Authority and not the District Council as provided for earlier.


20 th century1

20th Century

The ‘stable door’ saga continues...

  • June 1960 in a fire at William Henderson and Sons department store in Liverpool, ten people were killed resulting in the fire certification sections to be added to the 1963 Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act- the clauses being modelled closely on the 1961 Factories Act.

  • Fire authorities given greater powers over club premises in the 1961 Licensing Act following the Bolton Top Storey Club fire in May of that year. In this fire nineteen people died.


And finally we get to the last 40 years

...and finally, we get to the last 40 years...

  • A fire at the Rose and Crown Hotel, Saffron Walden on Boxing Day 1969 where 11 people died and a number of people were injured whilst escaping was one of a number of hotel fires which gave added impetus to the passing of the Fire Precautions Act in 1971.

  • In 1972, hotels and boarding houses were the first premises to be designated as requiring a fire certificate under the act.

  • Factories, offices, shops and railway premises followed in 1977.


Other notable events

...other notable events...

  • May 11th 1985 at Bradford City football ground - 56 people died and many were seriously injured – TheFire Safety and Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1987.

  • 18th November 1987 at Kings Cross Underground Railway Station – 31 people died - The Fire Precautions (Sub-surface Railway Stations) Regulations 1989 were made under Section 12 of the 1971 act.


Risk assessment finally arrives

Risk assessment finally arrives...

  • The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 and

  • The Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999

  • Made under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972

  • Gave effect to the fire safety requirements of two European Council Directives adopted in 1989:

    • The Framework Directive 89/391/EEC

    • The Workplace Directive 89/654/EEC

      ...the aim of which was to secure minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace.


The 21 st century

The 21st Century...

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005:

  • Came into effect in October 2006.

  • Replaced over 70 pieces of fire safety law.

  • Reforms the law relating to fire safety in non-domestic premises.

  • Replaces fire certification under the Fire Precautions Act 1971.

  • Imposes a general duty on the Responsible Person to ensure the safety of employees.

  • In relation to non-employees, imposes a duty to take such fire precautions to ensure that premises are safe.


The fire safety order 8 years on

The Fire Safety Order - 8 years on...

The ‘Focus on Enforcement Review’ was published by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills in 2013.

Evidence was received from trade bodies, individual businesses and the regulators.


The focus on enforcement review

The ‘Focus on Enforcement Review’

Some positive findings:

  • ‘The need for the Fire Safety Order is understood’.

  • ‘There have been commendable efforts on the part of individual fire authorities working with the Chief Fire Officers Association to encourage consistency’.

  • ‘Businesses gave examples of some good working relationships with fire protection officers’.

  • ‘There are examples of fire and rescue authorities providing effective support and advice through dedicated business support teams’.


The focus on enforcement review1

The ‘Focus on Enforcement Review’

Some not so positive findings...

  • ‘Considerable discretion exists as to how each fire and rescue authority approaches its regulatory duties’.

  • ‘Fire protection departments are given less prominence than operational fire-fighters’.


The focus on enforcement review2

The ‘Focus on Enforcement Review’

  • ‘Insufficient funding allocated to fire protection services’.

  • ‘Whilst fire protection teams may have received training locally, this is not to a national standard or qualification...’

  • ‘...questions have therefore arisen about the capability and training of some fire protection officers’.

  • ‘Some officers are felt to be pursuing an unobtainable zero risk and this has a negative impact on the quality of regulatory activity’.


The focus on enforcement review3

The ‘Focus on Enforcement Review’

  • ‘There is a fundamental difference of approach, between fire and rescue authorities as to how they carry out their enforcement roles - some are willing to provide advice whilst others state it is not part of their role to give advice to companies’.

  • ‘There are conflicting judgements, requirements and advice from fire protection teams, often with significant cost implications’.


The focus on enforcement review4

The ‘Focus on Enforcement Review’

  • ‘Enforcement Notices that failed to explain the precise nature of the non-compliance that officers had identified which simply quoted the aspect of the Fire Safety Order that had been breached but didn’t say where on the site the breach had been observed’.

  • ‘Some individual enforcement officers are applying guidance documents as if they set out legal requirements’.

  • ‘Guidance documents were described by some business respondents as being confusing and conflicting’.


The focus on enforcement review5

The ‘Focus on Enforcement Review’

  • ‘Many small businesses are not aware of their specific responsibilities’.

  • ‘Of those small businesses that are aware of their responsibilities, many pay for the use of commercial risk assessors because they do not feel confident enough to carry out a fire risk assessment themselves’.

  • ‘Fire protection officers and industry specialists told us that the competency of some of those carrying out risk assessments on a commercial basis is questionable’.


Conclusions

Conclusions?...

My view...

  • It seems that, in many cases, both enforcers and the enforced are struggling to adapt to the demands of risk based fire safety legislation.

  • If fire safety standards are not complied with and enforced – lives are at risk.

  • Fire Safety inspectors should receive centralised training to improve quality and consistency.

  • ‘In house’ safety practitioners should receive better training and support.

  • External consultants should be 3rd party accredited.


Conclusions1

Conclusions?...

My view...

  • With ever dwindling resources, fire and rescue services will not be able to maintain existing standards – let alone improve them.

  • Prosecutions have increased considerably since the introduction of the FSO - some with heavy fines and some custodial sentences.


Result

Result?...

Starved of resources, the Fire & Rescue Services have been forced to change their attitude to enforcement.

BEWARE – NO MORE Mr NICE GUY...

Thank you for listening,

Any Questions??


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