On 16th March 2022, Ipaxis Management was fined by Suffolk County Council after pleading guilty to not complying with an Enforcement Notice issued by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, in relation to their building in Ipswich. Suffolk County Council explained that sentencing was deferred to enable Ipaxis to focus their funds on undertaking the required fire improvement works to the property.
A spokesperson for the council said, "Although this is unusual, it was felt to be in the best interest of residents, with their safety remaining a priority for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service."
Upon issuing the fine, the magistrate said, “with delegation comes obligation with requirement to manage”, supporting Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service’s stance that management companies must take responsibility in relation to fire matters.
Jon Lacey, chief fire officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said, "Our Protection team regularly carries out audits of apartment complexes across Suffolk to ensure that these meet fire regulations and do not pose any unnecessary risk to the people living in them. Where we do see issues, we support and advise in the first instance. On a visit to Ipaxis in 2019, our officers raised some safety concerns and subsequently issued a ‘Notification of Deficiencies’ before escalating this to an ‘Enforcement Notice’ in 2020. The management company did not comply with the notice, leaving us with no option but to start legal proceedings. I am delighted that the courts found in our favour and issued a substantial fine to Ipaxis – sending a very clear message to businesses in Suffolk that fire enforcement breaches will not be tolerated in our county."
A fire risk assessment has since been carried out at Ipaxis, leading to numerous fire safety improvements being implemented by the management company, including a fire alarm system upgrade to aid with evacuation in the event of a fire.
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