Fire Safety certificates
What is a Fire Safety Certificate?
A Fire Safety Certificate is a certificate issued by the Building Control Authority which states that the works or building to which the application relates will, if constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted, comply with the requirements of Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations 1997.
For further details please refer to the Building Control Regulations Article 11
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 do I apply for a Fire Certificate?
It is important to submit the appropriate applications/submissions and obtain all the necessary certification prior to intended occupation of the building, as, it is an offence to open, occupy, or operate a building unless theappropriate certification has been granted by the Building Control Authority.
A Commencement Notice/7 Day Notice must also be lodged at least 14 and no more than 28 days in advance of the works.
A Fire Safety Certificate Application (FSC) is required in accordance with BCR Part III, Article 11, (e), in most instances works which require a Fire Safety Certificate, will also require a Disability Access Certificate (DAC) .
Following recent amendments to the Building Control Regulations (see S.I. No. 229 of 2021), from Thursday 1st July 2021, the online Fire Safety Certificate (FSC), Regularisation and Dispensation/Relaxation Application submission process is now available through the Building Control Management System (BCMS)
Cavan County Council is no longer accepting hard copy applications.
If you have not used the BCMS previously for the submission of Commencement Notices/7 Day Notices or Certificates of Compliance on Completion, it will be necessary for you to sign-up for a BCMS account in order to access the online submission facility. Please be advised that all nominated roles (i.e. applicant, owner etc.) must also create a BCMS account in order to accept their role for a fire safety certificate application.
Please go to the the BCMS website and select the sign up option to register an account. This will allow you to become familiar with how the system looks and behaves.
You can also visit the NBCO YouTube Channel to see how the Commencement Notice system works, as the application submission process will be very similar. All instructional videos will be posted on the NBCO YouTube Channel.
All parties (Owner, Designer/Assigned Certifier & Builder,) need to register as users of the Building Control Management System (BCMS) so that they can be nominated and, accept their roles on the BCMS – (only registered users can be nominated).
The following documentation must be uploaded under the relevant submission, in accordance with Building Control Regulations Article 13 (1) (2) a(i)(ii), b & c.
- The nominated leaseholder/owner, signs the statutory documentation (application form) and uploads the form to the BCMS
- General Arrangement drawings including site plan, floor plans, sections, elevations must be uploaded to the BCMS
- A written technical compliance report showing how the proposal complies with Part B must be uploaded to the BCMS
- Fees of €2.90/M² must be paid to lodge the submission, (except in circumstances where exemption from fees is claimed (BCR Article 22) by the applicant & agreed to by the Building Control Authority
Where a Building Control Authority considers that an application does not comply with Article 13, the applicant is informed that the application is invalid, or the applicant may be required to furnish such further information as may be necessary to comply with Article 13.
A Building Control Authority can decide to grant the certificate with or without conditions, or refuse to grant the certificate, (this normally takes 8 weeks).
BCMS submission/application/notice fees (Schedule 5 of the BCR) are shown in Table 1
The two available options for proposed works requiring a FSC are shown in Table 2
What should the fire safety report contain?
The application is required to demonstrate that the development complies 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.
Who can prepare a Fire Safety Certificate application?
Usually a Fire Safety Certificate application is made by a fire safety consultant, architect or engineer who is familiar with the Building Regulations and the procedure for applying for a Fire Safety Certificate.
The content of the application needs to be comprehensive in nature. A person preparing a fire safety certificate should have a sound knowledge of building construction and fire safety design. If the application submitted is lacking in information or drawings, then the local authority will consider it invalid and will return it to you together with your fee.
Can Cavan County Council recommend someone to made a Fire Safety Certificate Application on my behalf?
No it is our policy not to recommend individuals or companies, however there are many Fire Safety Consultants operating in the private sector.
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.
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 might call into question the validity of the Fire Safety Certificate as it applies to the development. It is accepted that changes can occur as a building project proceeds. These changes may be insignificant from a fire safety point of view or they may be such that a new Fire Safety Certificate Application is required. It is recommended that you contact this Department regarding any changes.
Will Cavan County Council inspect and certify my building when it is finished?
No. You should employ your fire safety consultant to oversee the fire related issues of the works. When the works are finished, you should request a certificate of compliance from your consultant. This should certify that your building has been constructed in accordance with the Fire Safety Certificate and the Building Regulations.
Do I have to wait for my planning permission to come through before I can apply for my fire safety certificate?
No. You can apply for both at the same time. It is, however, advised – and prudent – to wait until planning is granted for a development before applying for a Fire Safety Certificate as, in the event that the planners condition alterations to the plans, a Fire Safety Certificate that has already been granted may no longer be valid and a new Fire Safety Certificate application and associated fee would then be required.
What if I don't apply for a fire safety certificate and build anyway?
If you build without a fire safety certificate, you will leave yourself open to prosecution under building control legislation. If you decide at some later date to sell your premises the buyer's solicitor will, in all likelihood, look for a copy of the fire safety certificate for the building. If you are unable to produce a fire safety certificate you may find it difficult to sell. If you build or extend a public house /licensed premises without a fire safety certificate you will even run into difficulties obtaining or renewing a license.
I want to build three separate buildings on my site. Will one fire safety application suffice?
No. The building control legislation requires that a fire safety certificate be obtained for a particular building. This applies even if the three buildings to be built are all identical to each other.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if further guidance is required.