Business owners urged to check Victorian and Georgian facades

02 December 2015

Owners and tenants of restaurants, shops and other commercial properties in Victorian or Georgian buildings in Kensington and Chelsea are being urged to check the condition of their facades to reduce the risk of accidents caused by falling stonework.

The safety campaign comes in response to an incident in which a man was killed by stonework that fell onto the terrace of a bar in London. The stonework had been part of the original structure and fell because the iron straps tying it to the building facade had corroded

Royal Borough’s health and safety officers are visiting commercial areas in the borough with outside seating to give advice to the owners and tenants.

The Council believes it is good practice for all buildings to have a maintenance manual or for the owner to have one prepared based on the findings of a condition survey. This is the only way of ensuring that an appropriate maintenance schedule is in place. It is recommended that frequent visual checks on the condition of the building are made and that these are backed up by a detailed survey carried out every five years by a competent person.

Owners are advised not to fix anything, such as an awning safety chain, bracket sign, or scaffolding fixings and ties to decorative masonry or stonework, which could add strain or damage to the facade. Tenant and building occupiers can also be responsible for the maintenance of facades and are advised to check their obligations under the terms of the lease to maintain or reinstate the building facade if it becomes defective.

Cllr Tim Ahern, Cabinet Member for Environmental Health, said: “Eating al fresco is one of life’s pleasures and we want to ensure that it is also safe. I urge all business owners that provide outdoor seating areas for their customers to regularly check the condition of the building facade and to contact the Council’s Health and Safety officers if they are unsure of how to do this.”

For further information call 020 7361 3002 or email environmentalhealth@rbkc.gov.u.uk