Combustible Cladding – Advice from Pitmans Law

Grenfell_Tower_fire_morningIn the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy it is not just the landlords of high rise council tower blocks and those in the public sector who should be concerned about the presence of combustible cladding in their buildings, writes Alan Davies, partner, Pitmans Law

Landlords of hotels and indeed of all premises in the hospitality and leisure industry have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe for all persons who use them and should be proactive in the ongoing compliance with their obligations. They should check the fire safety accreditation and building regulation compliance of any panelling used in their buildings and contact their surveyors or architects for advice.

If their premises contain cladding panels which are found to contain Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) or similar materials, they may not be compliant with the requirements of current Building Regulations guidance. Samples of any such materials can be provided for verification to independent testing facilities such as The Building Research Establishment (BRE).

If the materials are non-compliant, measures would include informing the local fire and rescue service requesting they carry out an urgent inspection and checking of the most recent fire risk assessment for the buildings concerned and considering action to have the panels removed.

In addition, as a matter of good practice, full fire safety checks should be implemented including ensuring that all entrance doors, and doors that open onto escape corridors and stairways, are fire resisting and effective in self-closing. Also check all walls, plant and store rooms to ensure there are no obvious routes for fire or smoke to spread such as holes where pipes and cables pass through walls.

Smoke control systems, including associated fire detection and suppression systems (including sufficient and appropriate fire extinguishers) should be tested to make sure they are operating correctly and if there is no sprinkler system, landlords are recommended to take advice on installation.

Alan Davis

Partner, for and on behalf of Pitmans LLP
D +44 (0)118 957 0300
M +44 (0)788 182 5803

Pitmans Law is a Businesss Partner of the Institute of Hospitality


Drop a dime on food crime with the FSA’s Food Crime Confidential

Do you suspect a business of dishonesty involving food, drink or animal feed? The NEW Food Crime Confidential is a reporting facility where anyone with suspicions about food crime can report them safely and in confidence, over the phone or through email.

Food Crime Confidential is overseen by the Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU), which works with partners to protect consumers from serious criminal activity that impacts on the safety or authenticity of the food and drink they consume.

The facility is particularly targeted at those working in or around the UK food industry. Employees of the hospitality industry are well-placed to provide information which could help the NFCU identify and pursue offenders.

The National Food Crime Unit would like to hear from anyone who has suspicions:

  • that food or drink contains things which it shouldn’t
  • that methods used in your workplace for producing, processing, storing, labelling or transporting food do not seem quite right
  • that an item of food or drink says it is of a certain quality or from a specific place or region, but it doesn’t appear to be.FoodCrimeConfidential

‘Drop a dime’ on suspicious activities: call 0207 276 8787 or email

Anti-terrorist lessons for hospitality managers

Understanding how to Run, Hide and Tell could save lives
Understanding how to Run, Hide and Tell could save lives

Terrorist attacks on ‘soft targets’ such as restaurants, hotels and resorts in Paris, Mali and the Côte d’Ivoire are a stark reminder to the hospitality industry about the need for a regularly reviewed security policy, a business continuity plan and for well-trained staff.

In a recent Institute of Hospitality Insight article, academic and risk expert Alexandros Paraskevas highlighted four key areas in which hospitality organisations and their staff can build their baseline security and anti-terrorism measures.

The key points are:

  • Counter-surveillance
  • Protective measures
  • Active shooter and hostage situation survival
  • Radicalisation (awareness of)

Members of the Institute can access the full article in the February 2016 Insight e-Newsletter in our Publications section of the website.

In the meantime, managers can refer to helpful free resources like NaCTSO’s Stay Safe firearms and weapons attack training materials, which can help managers, staff and the public in learning how to survive a weapons attack. The materials describe what to do during an event to ensure the safety of oneself and others, how and when to alert authorities and how to get to safety.

Attacks on soft targets, like hotels, resorts and concert halls, show that managers in hospitality should continue their good practice when it comes to security but they should also revise their security to mitigate an attack with counter-surveillance and measures aimed at dealing with specific patterns of assault that include active shooters and hostage situations.

Alexandros Paraskevas is professor of strategic risk management and chair in hospitality management at the University of West London

Win customers with top food hygiene ratings

Get support and information to help your business meet food hygiene standards
Get support and information to help your business meet food hygiene standards

I’ll admit it…I do base my dining decisions on a restaurant’s food hygiene rating in its window. My behaviour as a consumer means the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is an increasingly important consumer tool – perhaps more than restaurateurs realise. The scheme helps consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, takeaways and food shops. In Scotland, a similar programme is run by Food Standards Scotland where the hygiene scheme is called the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS).

In partnership with local authorities, the Food Service Authority operates the FHRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the FHIS in Scotland. The schemes encourage businesses to improve hygiene standards because up to a third of the population could contract food poisoning from campylobacter, the most common cause of food poisoning. In addition, foodborne illnesses such as E. coli can be fatal. Who wants to risk their own health or that of their family or friends for a takeaway from a business that isn’t compliant with hygiene regulations?

The FHRS is now running in all areas of Wales and Northern Ireland and in 99% of England meaning more restaurants and foodservice businesses will be in the hygiene spotlight for their winning ratings or substandard hygiene. To ensure your business is one of the winners, find out more about the FHRS and the FHIS at: Food Hygiene Ratings.


Keeping hospitality and foodservice staff safe and well

You’ll often hear about our industry’s focus on customer service, but hospitality managers know that a business can’t function without happy, healthy staff. To help managers address one of the primary health complaints that can affect our industry, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has just released a new guide on Preventing contact dermatitis and urticaria at work. These conditions are as unpleasant as they sound and can make affected individuals’ lives a misery from the conditions’ resulting irritation, pain and inflammation. Often hands are affected and the appearance of dermatitis can make sufferers very self-conscious so there can be mental as well a physical side effects.

Dermatitis and urticaria can affect everyday activities
Dermatitis and urticaria can affect everyday activities and cause physical and emotional damage

According to  the HSE, dermatitis and urticaria are “defined as inflammation of the skin resulting from exposure to detergents, toiletries, chemicals and even natural products, for example, foods. Prolonged or frequent contact with water (often termed wet work) can also cause it.”

Hospitality managers who employ kitchen, cleaning or housekeeping staff, should be aware that these employees may be more susceptible to the conditions, however, the new HSE guide can help managers reduce – and even remove – the causes of dermatitis.

Download and read the guide to find out:

  • the signs and symptoms of dermatitis and urticaria
  • what the law requires from employers
  • how to conduct a straightforward risk assessment
  • how to prevent urticaria and dermatitis from developing using the ‘APC approach’; and
  • where to find further information and support

The HSE provides extensive resources and templates to support all industries in meeting their obligations to keep employees and the public safe. For further information on information specific to the catering and hospitality industry, see HSE.

‘Tis the season to prevent violence in licensed and retail premises with a FREE toolkit

Prevent violence in your hospitality workplace with the free HSE toolkit
Prevent violence in your hospitality workplace with the free HSE toolkit

The holiday season is supposed to be about goodwill, however, what begins as a fun evening can turn ugly when alcohol is involved. According to the UK’s Alcohol Concern “alcohol misuse costs England around £21bn per year in healthcare, crime and lost productivity costs“. The costs can be significantly higher when taking into account the damage to a business’s reputation, insurance and refurbishment costs.

To assist managers, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities have developed an easy-to-use toolkit to help reduce the risk of work-related violence in a licensed or retail premises.

The toolkit provides practical advice and can help managers and owners prevent or control violence by:

  • Tackling work-related violence towards employees;
  • Reducing the risk of violence to customers and members of the public on the premises; and
  • Reducing the risk of crime against a business.

The toolkit contains information on a wide range of possible control measures and examples of good practice that other businesses have found effective.

Find the toolkit on the HSE’s website at: Prevent Violence.

Don’t leave flood resilience to chance: use our new ‘Flood Checklist for Hospitality Managers’

Could your hospitality business be affected by flooding? (Source: MOD)
Could your hospitality business be affected by flooding? (Source: UK MoD, OGL license)

Extreme weather, flooding and even man-made flooding (e.g. burst pipes) are becoming an all-too-common occurrence in locations around the globe. No matter what the cause, these emergencies can wreak havoc on hospitality businesses and, for the unprepared, result in the business’s short-term or even permanent closure.

To help hospitality managers quickly and efficiently become flood resilient, the Institute of Hospitality offers members a free Flood Checklist document containing:

  • a quick 6 point overview of the flood resilience process;
  • a comprehensive list of emergency and flood resource contacts – from how to report stranded animals to locating charities that can assist with financial support;
  • a flood checklist; and
  • a customisable document for owners’ and operators’ use in case of a flood emergency.

To check whether your property is at risk for natural flooding, check the Environment Agency‘s page for England and Wales. In Scotland, refer to the environmental data maps on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) website. SEPA is Scotland’s national flood forecasting, flood warning and strategic flood risk management authority. In Northern Ireland, refer to the flood maps provided by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

As a part of business continuity planning, all businesses should be prepared for flooding. Obtain your free Institute of Hospitality Flood Checklist by logging in as a member and going to ‘Management Guides‘ to download the pdf document or email with your membership number and contact details.

Non-members can purchase the Flood Checklist by downloading the Publications Order Form and submitting it along with payment to: