THE majority of public buildings and flats in Hampshire audited by the fire service failed to meet fire safety standards, figures reveal.

Firefighters from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service filed 530 out of 923 audits on buildings as ‘unsatisfactory’ during inspections carried out in 2018-19.

The figures released by the Home Office show 57 per cent of buildings checked across the county were not meeting the required standards.

All non-domestic properties and communal areas receive fire safety audits at some point, to make sure they follow fire safety laws, with a rating of ‘unsatisfactory’ indicating changes are needed.

Buildings tested include care homes, hospitals and high-rises, as well as schools and shops.

Rob Cole, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s head of operations, said: “We take our responsibility of enforcing the Fire Safety Order seriously.

“The outcome of a fire safety audit can be ‘unsatisfactory’ for a number or reasons ranging from not having adequate records of fire alarm testing to not producing a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk assessment. These would usually require an action plan to be agreed with the responsible person.

“We have a range of powers to enforce fire safety legislation which could include prohibition on the property in the case of serious offences.”

Inspectors issued 69 written warnings in 2018-19, and 33 formal notices comprising of:

n One enforcement notice stating what improvements are needed and when

n 16 prohibition notices banning or restricting use of the premises until problems are sorted

n 16 orders to tell firefighters of changes that may raise the fire risk in the building

Following audits, 58 premises were brought back into ‘satisfactory’ standards.

Not all premises in Hampshire were inspected in 2018-19, with the fire service aware of 198,159 buildings across the county.