Do I need a fire safety certificate | 2023 Guide?

Yes, you do need a fire safety certificate if you building or buying residential or commercial premises.  Holding a certificate is of paramount importance that your building has a valid date fire safety certificate. 

Failure to possess a safety certificate will leave you open to potential prosecution under the building control legislation.

In this guide, we will look at why you need a certificate and how to obtain one.

What is a fire Safety Certificate?

Every structure in Ireland must comply with Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations 1997. A fire safety certificate proves that a premises meets these legal requirements. 

Certificates are issued by the Building Control Authority, for more information on the requirements and application process, click here. 

image of fire rising up from ground on a black background

Who needs a safety certificate?

All existing properties (unless exempt) require a fire safety certification. New developments that meet any of the following criteria MUST hold a valid certificate.

  • Works related to the design and construction of a new building.
  • Works associated with making material alterations to various types of buildings, including a day centre, a building containing a flat, a hotel, a hostel or guest building, an institutional building, a place of assembly, and a shopping centre.
  • Works involving material alterations to a shop, office, or industrial building when additional floor area is being created within the existing building or when the building is being subdivided into separate units for occupancy.
  • Works related to the extension of a building by an area exceeding 25 square metres
  • Works related to a building undergoing a material change of use.

What properties are exempt?

There are some properties which don’t legally require a fire safety certificate, but this does not mean that adequate fire prevention & safety measures should not be installed by a registered fire safety company.

The exceptions apply to any structure that meets one or more of the following criteria

  • Certain single-storey agricultural buildings.
  • A building is used as a dwelling other than a flat. A single-storey domestic garage.
  • A single-storey building ancillary to a dwelling which is used exclusively for recreational or storage purposes or the keeping of plants, birds or animals for domestic purposes and is not used for any trade or business or for human habitation.
  • Works by a Building Control Authority in its functional area.
  • Works in connection with a Garda station, a courthouse, a barracks and certain government buildings.

How do I apply for a Fire Certificate?

In order to apply for a fire certificate you must apply via your local authority. Prior to making an application, you must see what documents you need to obtain and have these readily available.

Prior to making an application, you will also need to file a Commencement Notice/7 Day Notice. This notice is for new developments and must also be processed at least 14 and no more than 28 days in advance of the works.

Ordinarily, an application will be made via your chosen fire safety consultant, if you require more information on what the application process is then contact Ireland leading active and passive fire protection company, firestoppers.]

What’s needed to apply for a valid Fire Safety Certificate?

  • A fully filled-out application form.
  • Two sets of relevant fire safety drawings.
  • Two copies of the fire safety report.
  • Duplicate site location maps.
  • The applicable fee.

What is the process of obtaining a Fire Safety Certificate?

The application process can be broken down into four easy steps. The steps are as follows:

Step one – Consult a fire safety professional

The first step although optional is an important one, prior to applying for a certificate to appoint a registered fire safety company. Your chosen fire safety specialist will conduct a site audit and ensure the premises are up to code and thus worthy to pass a fire safety accreditation. In the event, there is an issue with fire safety, conducting an audit will save a lot of time and money.

Step two – Submit an application 

Step two is to submit an application to the local Building Control Authority in the County or City concerned by the applicant or their agent.

Step three – Technical compliance

The third step is for the application to be checked by the Building Control Authority, they will review the application to ensure it meets all technical requirements. In the event they require more information, they will ordinarily contact you and the application won’t be approved until they are satisfied the minimum requirement is met.

Step four – Application approval

The Building Control Authority is obligated to notify the applicant with a decision on the status of the application within two months of the application being validated. If more time is required, this be agreed between the applicant and the fire authority.

Step five – Receive a certificate

The final stage is to sit back and await receipt of your certificate. Depending on how you apply this can take anywhere between 1 – 8 weeks.

How long does it take to get the Fire Safety Certificate?

This comes down to a number of factors, but as a rule of thumb if you deal with the respective fire authority prior to making your submission you could potentially receive your certificate in a matter of days. If you opt to make your submission and then attempt to supply any additional docs or remedy any problems, then the process will take on average around 3 weeks. (depending on what fire authority you are dealing with)

Will one Fire Safety Certificate cover a number of buildings of the same design?

According to building control regulations, it is mandatory to obtain a fire safety certificate for every individual building. However, Firestoppers calculates the standard price for the first building, and for subsequent buildings located on the same site and under the same Local Authority, they apply a 30% charge.

Local Authority Building Control Officers have unique requirements, and what works for one may not necessarily work for another.

Passive fire protection agency

Before applying for a certificate you should always have a specialist conduct a fire safety audit. The audit will look at the building in its entirety and highlight any aspects that would endanger the continuity of the structure in the event of a fire. To get more advice on how to get a fire safety certificate contact us today.

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