Clearing Up the Fire Code Confusion - Is Your Business Compliant?

August 14, 2017

The Fire Code in Ontario was instated in the Fire Protection and Prevention Act of 1997. This code encompasses a list of minimum conditions to be met by facilities and buildings in regard to fire safety. It is important to know that this law in Ontario focuses on the owner of the business being responsible for upholding the code, and the onus is on them to see that their facility follows it. The body that is concerned with enforcing the Fire Code is the municipal fire department.

The Ontario Fire Code is inclusive and goes into detail on all types of facilities that exist in Ontario. It aims at addressing issues on retrofitting of specific properties as well as the maintenance of things that are associated with fire protection in any given facility.

Initially, the Fire Code only focused on nursing homes, hospitals, rooming houses, and other places where many people gathered. However, in the recent review, the retrofit mandate was changed to incorporate high-rise and low-rise residential buildings.

The requirements outlined in the retrofit mandate was developed as a result of continual fire disasters over the years. Problems were identified in these structures and proposal made on preventing future outbreaks such as automatic fire suppression and fire suppression system installation.

Buildings are much safer when retrofitted, however, it is important to note that these improvements are only minimum requirements and owners can go a long way to make more improvements on the building.

How do you know your Building is required for Retrofitting?

Any old with or is a small apartment, basement apartment, large apartment, hospital, rooming house, or a nursing home probably requires assessment or retrofitting. However, you need to know that many municipalities have banned construction of certain buildings such as the apartment buildings, although existing basement apartments are subject to retrofitting.

It is important to also note that retrofitting of your building is something the owner of the building must do - it is not an option and you can face heavy fines if you're inspected and not up to code. The Ontario Fire Code was enacted with the influence of the Fire Marshall's Act, therefore, it is applicable under a fully enforceable law under the umbrellas of the Chief Fire Official across any municipality in Ontario.

It can be a lot to take in and the code itself doesn't lend to light reading - that is why you need to consult with a knowledgeable fire safety expert when planning on retrofitting or renovating your facility or building. If you're interested in a free consultation to see where you might not be up to code, contact Control Fire Systems today!

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