Cost-Cutting Before Safety

The managing agent of a number of Cardiff properties has been ordered to pay over £60,000 in fines and costs, after pleading guilty to a total of nine charges following breaches of fire safety regulations at a premises on City Road.

Mr Abdul Kowsor was sentenced on the 10th of June 2019 at Newport Crown Court following a successful prosecution by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS).  The court also handed down a sentence of 10 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and ordered Mr Kowsor to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Kowsor was found to have breached nine offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in relation to the property containing seven self-contained flats.

The offences included the failure to maintain working fire alarm and emergency lighting systems.  These measures are essential if occupants are to escape safely in the event of a fire.  Further offences included the failure to keep escape routes clear and a lack of measures to stop fire and smoke from spreading.

SWFRS also discovered that Mr Kowsor had not ensured a suitable Fire Risk Assessment had been carried out at the premises.  The assessment is crucial in ensuing that occupants are kept safe in the event of a fire.

During the hearing the court heard how the fire precautions in the premises were wholly inadequate and in summing up, the judge said Mr Kowsor was “more than happy to place cost-cutting before the safety of occupants.”

Head of Business Fire Safety Department for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Group Manager Owen Jayne said, “Our role is to work with businesses and landlords across South Wales to support them to protect their businesses from the risk of fire.  Many businesses involved in a major fire either never reopen, or subsequently fail soon afterwards.  The fire safety legislation we enforce, known as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, is designed to keep occupants safe.  Where we find breaches of this legislation it is our duty to take action to prevent death or serious injury. The decision to prosecute businesses is never taken lightly, however there was a serious risk to the residents and this was attributed directly to the actions of the individual responsible.  The severity of the sentence reflects the seriousness in which the court upholds breaches of the fire safety regulations.”

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