Manchester housing developers fined for fire safety breaches

Two housing developers have been fined more than £14,000 over fire safety breaches in student properties in Manchester.
The developers, which are both part of the MCR Group, were prosecuted over standards at the 55-flat building on Grafton Street in Ardwick. Council inspectors visiting the property found a number of breaches of fire safety regulations, including:
• Windows vital for smoke ventilation were obscured by scaffolding
• Insufficient access for the fire service in an emergency
• Lack of external wall fire barriers and self-closing fire doors
• Rear fire escape routes passed through a building site
Both UK Real Estate and Cost Design were fined over the breaches at a Manchester Magistrates Court last week. UK Real Estate was fined £4,750 plus £2,609 in costs, whilst Cost Design was ordered to pay £4,500 in fines and £2,590 in legal costs. Both developers were also subject to £15 victims of crime surcharges.
Councillor Paul Andrews, who is the executive member for neighbourhood services in Manchester, commented on the case, saying:

“The lives of the students were put at substantial risk by those involved with this development. The court has rightly hit them in the pocket. This should serve as a warning to all developers that they need to work with the council to ensure properties are fully compliant with regulations before tenants move in.”