Hotel fire safety still not certain03 November 2011
by anec -- last modified 03 November 2011
Twenty-five years after the EU Recommendation 86/666/EC on fire safety in hotels, and 20 months after the adoption of the HOTREC MBS Methodology – guidelines for fire safety in Europe, consumers are still waiting for a more binding instrument able to achieve their expectations on safety. ANEC questions the claim that hoteliers are using the MBS Methodology and welcomes the recommendation of the European Parliament to look for regulatory solutions if self-regulation fails.
Consumers still cannot rely on a European instrument that ensures consistent requirements for fire safety in hotels and other tourist accommodation in different Member States.
In 2008, as no consensus had been reached on revision of the 1986 EU Recommendation on fire safety in existing hotels (86/666/EC), the discussion on possible legislative action was put on hold. The European Commission appointed HOTREC1, to develop a Charter to provide guidelines on fire safety requirements. Following the dismissal of the Charter by some HOTREC members, the outcome of the process was the MBS (Management, Building and Systems) Methodology, released in February 2010, a mere voluntary guideline.
On 20 October 2011, a HOTREC press release announced the "growing success of the initiative" as thirteen national associations now endorse the Methodology, compared with the initial six of 20 months ago.
As a member of the stakeholder consultative committee established by HOTREC in 2009, ANEC accepts that these guidelines are a step forward in an area where common rules are lacking. Nevertheless, we believe Europe should be far more ambitious when addressing consumer safety. We and other stakeholders have repeatedly expressed concern that the Methodology does not include monitoring or performance reporting, both of which should be key to its success. Moreover, the adoption of the Methodology is not a precondition of HOTREC membership and, even if it were, not all hotels belong to associations that are members of HOTREC.
Once again, ANEC calls on the European Institutions to introduce a regulatory instrument to achieve a minimum harmonisation of safety across hotels and other tourist accommodation. Only in this way will consumers be able to expect a reliable approach to safety in all hotels in all Member States. HOTREC has provided a lead but a more binding approach must be adopted to coerce those who do not wish to follow.
ANEC is the European consumer voice in standardisation, defending consumer interests in the processes of technical standardisation and conformity assessment as well as related legislation and public policies. ANEC was established in 1995 as an international non-profit association under Belgian law and represents consumer organisations from 31 European countries. ANEC is funded by the European Union and EFTA, with national consumer organisations contributing in kind. Its Secretariat is based in Brussels.
ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation