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Fire risk assessor pleads guilty to 13 charges following significant assessment failings

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) is advising Fire Risk Assessors from across the South Wales area to take due diligence of their legal obligations when undertaking fire risk assessments on behalf of organisations.

A Fire Risk Assessor from Barry pleaded guilty to 13 separate charges relating to failures in carrying out suitable and sufficient fire risk assessments. The fire risk assessment failed to identify serious fire safety deficiencies in a number of St David’s Hospice Care premises.

As a result of two devastating fires at St. David’s Hospice’s retail outlets in Pontypool and Newbridge, an investigation was undertaken by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Subsequently, Business Fire Safety Officers visited over 30 of their premises which identified serious failings with the fire risk assessments completed by Mr. Fakir, showing his lack of fire safety understanding. SWFRS provided overwhelming evidence to the court proving that Mr. Fakir had placed one or more relevant persons, such as staff or customers, at risk of death or serious injury. Mr. Fakir pleaded guilty to all charges laid before the court.

The Judge, His honour Crowther QC, in sentencing Mr. Fakir emphasised the pivotal role of fire risk assessors and their accountabilities. It is not just a paper exercise for businesses and one size doesn’t fit all. Fire risk assessments are fundamental to identifying, eliminating and managing risk within buildings that fall under the Fire Safety Order (2005), whilst ensuring the appropriate fire safety provisions are in place and well maintained.

Mr. Brian Fakir, the defendant, was given a custodial sentence of six months, which was suspended for two years. Mr. Fakir was also ordered to undertake 180 hours unpaid community work at the court hearing today (Tuesday 21st February 2017).

Steve Rossiter, Head of Business Fire Safety for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said, “The court has today sent a strong message to would-be fire risk assessors, that there is a clear expectation that as an assessor, you must be competent at carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment. This means having a good understanding of fire safety requirements, both technically and practically. Suitable and sufficient fire risk assessments are at the heart of ensuring safe buildings and as such holds significant responsibilities.

“SWFRS will continue to work with the business sector to raise the profile and importance of fire risk assessments and where necessary we will not hesitate to apply our legislative powers to hold such people to account as was the case today.”
  
Adrian Hadley, Deputy Chief Executive of St. David’s Hospice Care added, “We were very disappointed with the standard of the fire risk assessments that we had commissioned and were delivered by the defendant. We have since had to invest a significant amount of money on remedial works to ensure that all of our properties comply with fire safety legislation, this has included carrying out new fire risk assessments. We would like to thank South Wales Fire and Rescue Service for all their help and cooperation in this matter.”

SWFRS advises that if your business’ fire risk assessment has been carried out by Mr. Fakir of MB Consultants, you will need to review it. If you have any concerns, please contact your local fire and rescue service for further guidance.

For information relating to the duties required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 visit www.southwales-fire.gov.uk