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Fire Safety Certificates

A Fire Safety Certificate is a certificate issued by the Building Control Authority which certifies that the works or building to which the application relates.

What is Building Control all about?
Under the Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007 two main sets of regulations have been issued, the Building Regulations 1997 to 2008 which sets standards for building works and the Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2009 which puts procedures in place to control building works. The Fire Safety Certificate Application procedure is part of the control element and is administered by the Building Control Authority, in our case, Westmeath County Council.


What is a Fire Safety Certificate?
A Fire Safety Certificate is a certificate issued by the Building Control Authority which certifies that the works or building to which the application relates will, if constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted with the application and with any conditions attached to the certificate, comply with the requirements of Part B [Fire] of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations 1997.


Which developments require a Fire Safety Certificate?
The following developments (other than those listed as exempt below) require a Fire Safety Certificate:
Works in connection with the design and construction of a new building.
Works in connection with the material alteration of:

  • a day centre, a building containing a flat, a hotel, hostel or guest building, an institutional building, a place of assembly
  • a shopping centre.

Works in connection with the material alteration of a shop, office or industrial building where additional floor area is being provided within the existing building or where the building is being sub divided into a number of units for separate occupancy.
Works in connection with the extension of a building by more than 25 square metres.
A building as regards which a material change of use takes place.


Which developments are exempted from the requirement of a Fire Safety Certificate?
The following buildings are exempted from the requirement to obtain a Fire Safety Certificate:

  • Certain single storey agricultural buildings.
  • A building 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 does the Fire Safety Certificate process work in the Fire Authority?
An application is submitted to the Building Control Authority. Valid applications are date stamped and an acknowledgement stating date of receipt is sent to the applicant.
The application is examined technically for compliance with the ‘Fire’ part of the Building Regulations (Part B). Where it is considered that additional information or modifications are required to the application, the officer examining the application may request such additional information/modification from the applicant.
The Authority must notify the applicant of the decision on the application within two months of the date of receipt of a valid application or within such extended period of time as may be agreed between the applicant and the Authority at any time.


What must be submitted?
A Fire Safety Certificate Application should contain:

  • A completed Application Form.
  • Relevant drawings (in duplicate).
  • A fire safety report.
  • The appropriate fee.


What should the fire safety report contain?
The application is required to demonstrate that the development will comply with Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations. One way to achieve this is to systematically address each relevant clause of the particular Codes and Guidance documents which are being used in the fire safety design of the building.


What is the fee for a Fire Safety Certificate?
The fee is calculated by reference to the relevant floor area. The relevant floor area means the floor area of the works or of the building to which the application relates and which is affected by the works or the material change of use, as the case may be. Floor area is measured to the finished internal surfaces of the walls. Refer to fees table below.


When can I start work on the development?
Where a Fire Safety Certificate is required in respect of works or a building, then a person shall not carry out the works until a Fire Safety Certificate has been issued for the works. Where it is proposed to commence work before grant of the relevant fire safety certificate, a 7 Day Notice shall be submitted to the Building Control Authority (see details below).


What do I do about changes in the design after a Fire Safety Certificate has been granted?
A Fire Safety Certificate is granted based on the design and information submitted. Deviations at construction stage from the documentation submitted may call into question the validity of the Fire Safety Certificate as it applies to the development. Where significant revision is made to the design or works of a building or a building extension or a material alteration or material change of use of a building in respect of which a fire safety certificate has been granted then a Revised Fire Safety Certificate is required in respect of the works. (see details below).


Will Westmeath County Council inspect my building when it is completed?  
The Building Control Authority has the power to inspect and your building may be inspected for compliance with the Building Regulations and with the Fire Safety Certificate issued. Where there is non-compliance, enforcement action may be initiated.


Will Westmeath County Council certify my building when it is completed?
No. The building can only be certified by someone who has overseen the construction and you are advised to employ your fire safety consultant to oversee and certify the fire related aspects of the work.


What if I carry out the development without receiving a fire safety certificate?
If you carry out works without a fire safety certificate you are liable to prosecution under Building Control legislation. It is also a serious offence to occupy a building which requires a fire safety certificate in the absence of a fire safety certificate. Where works have been commenced or completed in the absence of a fire safety certificate or the submission of a 7 day notice, then an application must be submitted for a Regularisation Certificate. (See details below)


What is a 7 day notice?
Where it is proposed to commence work before grant of the relevant fire safety certificate, a 7 day notice shall be submitted to the Building Control Authority. A 7 day notice shall be submitted at least 7 days before commencement of work.
A 7 day notice application consists of

  • A 7 day notice form.
  • A valid Fire Safety Certificate application.
  • A 7 day notice statutory declaration.
  • The prescribed fee.

 

What is a Revised Fire Safety Certificate?
A Revised Fire Safety Certificate is required where significant revision is made to the design or works of a building in respect of which a Fire Safety Certificate has been granted.
A Revised fire safety Certificate application consists of

  • A completed Application Form.
  • Relevant revised drawings (in duplicate).
  • A fire safety report.
  • The appropriate fee.


What is a Regularisation Certificate?
Where works have been commenced or completed in the absence of a fire safety certificate or the submission of a 7 day notice then an application must be submitted for a Regularisation Certificate.
A Regularisation Certificate application consists of

  • A completed application form
  • Relevant drawings (in duplicate)
  • A Statutory Declaration
  • The appropriate fee.


What are the relevant fees?
Every application for a Fire Safety Certificate must be accompanied by a fee as shown below:-

Application for a Fire Safety Certificate
(a)    work in connection with the construction or extension of a building €125, or €2.90 for each square metre of floor area being provided, whichever is the greater 

(b)    work in connection with

(i)     the material alteration of the interior of a building
(ii)   nbsp; the material alteration of the external surfaces of a building
(iii)   a combination of (i) and (ii) above

 

€125, or €2.90 for each square metre of relevant floor area, whichever is the greater
€125
€125, or €2.90 for each square metre of relevant floor area, whichever is the greater

(c)    a building in which a material change of use takes place €125, or €2.90 for each square metre of relevant floor area, whichever is the greater
(d)   works or a building, where the building concerned will be used as an agricultural building €65, or €0.80 for each square metre in excess of 300 square metres of—
(i)    gross floor area being provided, or
(ii)    relevant floor area
as the case may be, whichever is the greater

The maximum fee payable to a Building Control Authority in respect of an application for a Fire Safety Certificate shall be €12,500.

 

Every application for a Regularisation Certificate must be accompanied by a fee as shown below:-

Application for a Regularisation Certificate

(a)    work in connection with the construction or extension of a building

€500, or €11.60 for each square metre of floor area being provided, whichever is the greater
(b)    work in connection with

(i)    the material alteration of the interior of a building
(ii)     the material alteration of the external surfaces of a building
(iii)    a combination of (i) and (ii) above

 

€500, or €11.60 for each square metre of relevant floor area, whichever is the greater
€500
€500, or €11.60 for each square metre of relevant floor area, whichever is the greater

(c)    a building in which a material change of use takes place €500, or €11.60 for each square metre of relevant floor area, whichever is the greater
(d)    works or a building, where the building concerned will be used as an agricultural building

€260, or €3.20 for each square metre in excess of 300 square metres of—
(i)    gross floor area being provided, or
(ii)   relevant floor area
as the case may be, whichever is the greater

The maximum fee payable to a Building Control Authority in respect of an application for a Regularisation Certificate shall be €50,000.

 

Every application for a 7 Day Notice must be accompanied by a fee as shown below:-

Application for a 7 Day Notice

(a)    work in connection with the construction or extension of a building €250, or €5.80 for each square metre of floor area being provided, whichever is the greater 
(b)    work in connection with

(i)   the material alteration of the interior of a building
(ii)  the material alteration of the external surfaces of a building
(iii)   a combination of (i) and (ii) above

 

€250, or €5.80 for each square metre of relevant floor area, whichever is the greater
€250
€250, or €5.80 for each square metre of relevant floor area, whichever is the greater

(c)    a building in which a material change of use takes place €250, or €5.80 for each square metre of relevant floor area, whichever is the greater
(d)   works or a building, where the building concerned will be used as an agricultural building

€130, or €1.60 for each square metre in excess of 300 square metres of—
(i)    gross floor area being provided, or
(ii)    relevant floor area
as the case may be, whichever is the greater

The maximum fee payable to a Building Control Authority in respect of an application for a 7 Day Notice shall be €25,000.

 

For a full list of fees please refer to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (22kB)

Note that certain voluntary community organisations are exempted from paying the application fee.

Who should I contact with problems or queries?

e-mail: fireservice@westmeathcoco.ie

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Disclaimer:

The information and advice set out above should not be taken as a legal interpretation of the Building Control Regulations. Where there is any doubt reference should be made to the full text of the legislation.

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