Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (367, 368)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

443 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if the new fire regulations will be implemented the same for a family run B&B as they will be for a large hotel chain and the assistance that is available to family run B&Bs with these additional costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3899/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

444 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the new fire regulations being implemented to cover bed and breakfast accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3900/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 443 and 444 together.

The fire safety of buildings, including bed and breakfast accommodation, has long been governed by legislation and regulations. Section 18(2) of the Fire Services Act 1981, as amended by section 29(b) of the Licensing of Indoor Events Act 2003, places responsibility on the "person in control" of the premises to guard against the outbreak of fire and to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of persons on the premises.

To assist the "person in control" in discharging their statutory duty, my Department published, Fire Safety in Guest Accommodation, in June 2001. This guide sets out the fire safety issues which should be considered, and the actions which should be taken, to ensure the safety of guests. The specific fire safety requirements for the building, namely, the means of escape, the fire detection and alarm system etc., usually reflect the scale of the premises and the requirements on hotels would therefore be more onerous than on family run bed and breakfast accommodation.

The fire safety of the design and construction of new guest houses is governed by Part B — fire safety — of national building regulations made under the Building Control Act 1990. Guidance on how to comply with Part B for new guest houses is set out in technical guidance document B — TGD-B — published by my Department. My Department has published a draft revised edition of TGD B, primarily to implement EU fire performance standards for construction products. This will not have any significant impact on new bed and breakfast accommodation.

The owners of bed and breakfast accommodation owe it to their guests, and their own families, to comply with statutory fire safety requirements. I understand that the installation of fire detection and alarm systems and fire escapes are allowable as a deduction against income from a bed and breakfast business, for income tax purposes.