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22 February 2017
A fire safety consultant who gave "valueless" risk assessments has been given a six-month suspended sentence and 180 hours of community service, reports the BBC.
Brian Fakir pleaded guilty to 13 charges in relation to checks he carried out at four charity shops in south Wales, which he claimed were "drafts".
Concerns were raised about the St David’s shops after fires broke out at two of the premises, and two similar properties had been destroyed within months of each other.
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service investigated, and found Fakir was paid as a consultant to produce risk assessments for many of the charity's shops across Wales.
It said none of the risk assessments he provided were suitable or sufficient in other premises.
He later pleaded guilty to 13 charges in relation to four premises with the most serious issues.
The court heard people were put at serious risk of death because of poor escape routes, a lack of fire alarms and insufficient precautions to reduce fire and the spread of fire.
Judge Tom Crowther QC said: "Your assessments failed to address the most obvious risks, and it seems to me they were valueless," he said.
"There can be little more frightening than a fire in a building.
"Those of us who work in the crown court have seen its consequences."
He added that the fact that someone could set themselves up to provide advice about fire prevention with no formal qualifications was "jaw-dropping".
Will Lloyd, FIA's Technical Manager, comments: "This article only confirms that people who carry out fire risk assessments need to have experience and be qualified in fire risk. The best way to ensure this is to ensure that they are third party certified. All FIA Fire Risk Assessment members are third party certified"