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Fire safety certificates

A fire safety certificate is granted by a building control authority. It certifies that the building or works, if constructed in accordance with the plans, documents and information submitted to the building control authority, is in compliance with the requirements of Part B of the Building Regulations. It will also state that in considering the application, no assessment has been made as to whether the works or building will comply or is in compliance, as appropriate, with the other requirements of the Building Regulations.

Fire safety certificates are required for the following:

  • All new non domestic buildings and apartments
  • Specified material alterations
  • Specified extensions
  • The material change of use of a building

Standard fire safety certificate

Before you begin any work or make a material change of use, you should apply to the local building control authority for a fire safety certificate. Ideally you should not start work unless you have a fire safety certificate.

If you wish to begin work in the absence of a fire safety certificate you should apply for a fire safety certificate and submit a 7 Day Notice prior to commencement.

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Revised fire safety certificate

Article 20 B provides for a revised fire certificate (FSC) in respect of works where:

  • An application for a FSC is made before grant of planning permission, if required by the subsequent grant of such planning permission, for the purpose of ensuring that the revised design arising from the grant of planning permission complies with part B of the Building Regulations, or
  • Where significant revision is made to the design or works of a building for which a FSC has already been granted

An application submitted for a revised FSC must be in accordance with the requirements of Article 20B (3) of the Regulations. 

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Regularisation certificate

A regularisation certificate is granted by a building control authority in respect of works on non-domestic buildings and apartments blocks which were commenced or completed without the necessary fire safety certificate (FSC). The certificate may be granted with or without conditions or refused. There is provision for an appeal to An Bord Pleanala in such cases. The appeal must be lodged within 1 month of the date of the decision on the application. 

A period of 4 months is set down to comply with conditions which may be inserted by the building control authority in a regularisation certificate. There is no mechanism to extend. It is an offence to commence work on a building without a FSC (where required) and the regularisation cert is a chance to be in compliance with the fire safety certification regime. If the works are not carried out within the 4 month period, the certificate will not have effect.

Any application for a regularisation certificate must be accompanied with a Statutory Declaration. This declaration states that the works comply with part B of the Building Regulations. It also requires the applicant to agree to an inspection by the Building Control Authority and to carry out any additional works required by the Authority. A solicitor can sign a statutory declaration when s/he is also a Commissioner of Oaths. However, a solicitor shall not exercise these powers in any proceedings in which he is solicitor to any of the parties or in which he has an interest.

An inspection of the building by an authorised Person from the Building Control Authority is required before a decision is made on the application. 

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Fire safety certificate application guidance notes

1. General

An application for a fire safety certificate shall be accompanied by the following:

  • Site location map
  • Layout plan
  • Floor plans
  • Elevations and sections
  • Compliance document (showing compliance with part B of the Building Regulations.)

and other particulars that are necessary to:

  • Identify and describe the building / works to which the application relates
  • Illustrate that the building / works will comply with the requirements of Part B (Sections 1-5) of the first schedule to the building regulations.

The extent to which plans and compliance document will be required to establish compliance with building regulations will vary in individual cases depending on the type, size and complexity of the building concerned, but the information in the following paragraphs  can be used as a guideline. 

2. Maps and plans

These should be submitted in duplicate and should, where appropriate, include the following:

  1. Site location map:
    Clearly define location to a scale of either one to one thousand (1:1000) or one to two thousand five hundred (1:2500)
  2. Layout plan: to a scale of not less than one to five hundred (1:500) should show:
    • the boundaries of any land belonging to the building/works
    • all roadways including widths within the boundaries
    • locations of gateways or other restrictions to width of vehicular access at or within the boundaries
    • locations of bridges, arches, cables or other overhead restrictions to height of vehicular access
    • all access points to the building
    • location and diameter of any water main or hydrant adjacent to or within the boundaries
    • all materials being stored
    • location and type of isolation devices for building services, including ESB installations.
    • location and diameter of internal rising fire water mains and foam inlet pipes, if applicable
    • location and type of control devices for active fire control systems, if applicable
    • distances of buildings to boundaries
  3. Dimensioned plans, sections and elevations with the following details:
    •  materials used in construction
    • periods of fire resistance of elements of structure and fire resisting doors
    • intended use and floor area of each room /space
    • dimensions of all exits
    • travel distances
    • fire compartmentation
    • protected stairways/protected shafts
    • barriers to passage of fire and smoke in cavities
    • principal service ducts
    • areas of high fire risk
    • fire fighting shafts
  4. The north point should be indicated on all plans.

3. Compliance documents

  1. Calculations and details should be submitted in respect of the following; -

    Section B1

    • maximum numbers of persons likely to occupy each floor/space
    • number and width of escape routes
    • fire detection and alarm systems
    • emergency lighting systems
    • electrical installations
    • automatic fire suppression systems

    Section B2

    • surface linings

    Section B3

    • size of fire compartments
    • fire resistance of elements of structure
    • smoke control provisions
    • cavity barriers and fire stopping

    Section B4

    • fire resistance of external walls
    • permitted unprotected areas in external walls
    • roof specification.

    Section B5

    • Fire fighting water supply
    • Provision for vehicular access
    • Ventilation provisions for Fire Service

Reference should be made as to the technical standards/documents used in compliance.

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