A private fire risk assessor has been successfully prosecuted by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) for failing to carry out a suitable assessment.

Torquay Magistrates’ Court heard that Craig Richard Stonelake had been contracted to carry out a fire risk assessment at a large restaurant in Newton Abbot.  An inspection of the premises by DSFRS found that the assessment was unsuitable as it did not take into account the lack of adequate means of escape from the premises, lack of suitable fire doors, inadequate fire alarms system, and the presence of unsuitable firefighting equipment.

In addition, Mr Stonelake had also serviced the firefighting equipment at the premises when not qualified or trained to do so and failed to service the equipment to any appropriate standard.

DSFRS station manager Glen Wells said:

‘Anyone offering professional services to a premises, a business or a person has a responsibility and a duty of care to that business or person.  This responsibility is at its highest and most fundamental when that work has the potential to affect the health and safety of people or employees at that premises. In the case of fire risk assessments and the servicing of emergency equipment, failures may unnecessarily expose people to the risk of death or serious injury in the event of a fire occurring.

‘Where that person, with a duty of care, has failed and should reasonably have known that they did not have the requisite training, qualifications or experience for that work compounds that failure. Sadly it would appear that this particular case is not an isolated one.’

Mr Stonelake appeared in court on 25 March and pleaded guilty to breaching s9 and s17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. He was ordered to pay £7,383 towards fines and costs.