Fire Code Audits
Regular smoke alarm testing is a must in Ontario
Local Fire Departments are staffed with dedicated people, whose mission is to improve the level of fire safety in the community. They do this, in part, by conducting inspections of buildings to ensure minimum standards of fire safety are in place. Their inspectors will gladly come to your property to inspect it
The risk to you as an Owner is that if any part of your building is found in contravention of the Fire Code, you will be issued an Order to Comply and you also risk charges under the Fire Code which may carry crippling fines.
You may have simply had questions regarding your building and can end up with an order for repairs or modifications with little to no time to plan or react.
It’s different with us. We will work with you and provide options to best suit your circumstances, and our joint efforts minimize the threat of legal action and fines.
Property owners must contend with the many regulations that are in place.
Let us provide you with your own, ‘fire marshal’ who will work with you to provide fire safety for your home or business.
Fire Safety Plans are another area that many small businesses struggle with. Let us help you with that!
Working with you, we’ll help you complete a plan that will protect both you, your staff and clients in the event of an emergency.
Residential Rental Properties
Multi-unit residential properties are a popular investment and income tool, but like every investment, there are risks that have to be evaluated and mitigated to ensure the safety of your tenants and the value of your investment.
Older rental properties are subject to regulations under the Ontario Fire Code to provide an updated level of protection from fire. Part 9 of the Code entitled, ‘Retrofit,’ requires a minimum standard of fire protection in four areas:
Containment, which slows the spread of fire;
Egress, which is a fancy word for ways out of the building;
Alerting, which requires smoke alarms and/or an alarm system in larger buildings; and
Suppression, which means automatic sprinklers shall be used in some instances
or may be used in others.
Buildings affected by the Retrofit requirements the Fire Code. In general, buildings built prior to 1994 that are described as:
- Basement apartments;
- Duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes;
- Apartment buildings with more than two units that are less than 6
stories in height;
- Apartment buildings that are more than 6 stories in height;
- Rooming, Boarding and Lodging houses.
Retrofit-is your building up to Code?
Although the Retrofit provisions of the Ontario Fire Code have been around more than 20 years, there has been very uneven application across Ontario. A few municipalities have or had a program in place, but the majority either had partial programs or more commonly no program at all, falling back on the, ‘Owners responsibility,’ clause in the Code requiring the Owner to ensure compliance. Many audits that were done by local Inspectors were not followed up or fully documented. As an owner, failure to have this documentation has significant financial impact on you and your income property.
We see two major issues in the properties we’ve assessed: Only a small percentage of subject buildings in Ontario have been thoroughly audited and retrofitted and secondly, many buildings that were retrofitted were inspected were either not properly audited and/or not well documented leaving the owner exposed to additional audits in the future and uncertainty as to the fire code compliance status which can affect the value of the building when it’s being sold.
Not having completed the required retrofit and not having documentation can cause you concern:
- When insuring your building. Uncompleted or undocumented audits can result in difficulty securing insurance and in higher premiums;
- When making an insurance claim in the event of a fire in your building;
- When a Municipal Fire Inspector inspects the building and has a
different, ‘opinon,’ of retrofit compliance. Without a copy of a previous Compliance Letter from the Fire Dept. or other proof that the building has been properly audited and all work was completed, you may be subjected to an additional audit and/or prosecution.
So, what should you do?
You get the information, you keep the information.
Our audit process uses a thorough approach to look at the four elements required for a proper retrofit: Containment, Alerting, Egress and Suppression. In plain English that means we look at the floors, walls and ceilings; the smoke and fire alarm systems; the exits from each of the units in the building and fire extinguishing systems such as sprinklers and portable extinguishers required to be in place.
We make drawings of your building and provide all the details required during a retrofit audit.
We compile all this information in an easy to read and follow report. The report you receive will clearly outline any issues found and will explain the Fire Code and how it impacts on your property.
Once you’ve completed the work, the invoices from the contractor who completed the work and/or a follow up inspection to verify the building is fully compliant.
Once this is completed, keep all these documents on file for the life of the building. This is your evidence to any inspector that you’ve ensured that your building is.
Do you have, or are you thinking of buying or building a duplex or other multi-unit building?
Our services will help you make sure the building complies with the Code and helps prevent costly legal proceedings.
Our reports will provide you with information on the building and the Fire Code requirements so that you can make the decisions on how to utilize your property.