9 May 2011 by Sonal Ghelani

The Fire Safety Order

The FSO is enforced by the local fire and rescue authority but it must consult the Local Housing Authority before taking enforcement action. Inspectors enforce the provisions of the FSO and have certain powers to require information and to enter premises.

The enforcement actions that can be taken are as follows:

  1. Serve an alterations notice – this is where there is a high risk or the potential of becoming high risk. The responsible person must notify the Local Housing Authority before making any such changes.
  2. Serve an enforcement notice – where it is considered that the responsible person has failed to comply with any provision of the FSO or is dissatisfied with the risk assessment or action taken under it. The notice would specify the steps required in order to remedy the problems.
  3. Serve a prohibition notice – where the use of the premises involves or will involve a risk to relevant persons which is considered so serious that the use of the premises should be prohibited or restricted. This notice can be applied to any or all parts of the premises including the individual flat or unit of accommodation, whereas the other powers under the FSO apply only to the common parts.

It is a criminal offence if the responsible person fails to comply with any of the notices referred to in point 1-3 above and carries a level 3-5 fine on conviction (£1,000 and £5,000 maximum respectively).

The responsible person can appeal to a magistrates’ court against any notice

There is a common law duty of care in addition to the statutory provision to ensure that the property provided is safe. This is to say that all residential properties in England and Wales should comply with building regulations on aspects such as emergency escape, fire doors and emergency exits, passages and escape routes. It is therefore wise to fit smoke alarms and fire extinguishers and a fire blanket. Any fire equipment should be checked annually to ensure it meets the regulations. It is a legal requirement to periodically review the fire risk assessment.

Any property built after June 1992, must have a mains operated inter-connected smoke alarm fitted on every level of the property. With older properties, although there is no such requirement, it is advised that at least battery operated alarms in the property.

If you are unsure of what you are required to do please contact your local fire and rescue authority or the Local Housing Authority for more information.

6 May 2011 by Vincent Billings

Software functionality – can it be protected?

Copyright in computer programs protects the skill and labour of the programmer/designer only in so far as their work is a written work e.g. source or object code.

9 May 2011 by Sonal Ghelani

Fire safety

As mentioned in my previous blog, fire safety is an extremely important issue and is also governed by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO).

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