Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fire Retrofit - the owner's responsibility

Retrofit is legislation contained in the Ontario Fire Code to bring existing buildings up to a reasonable level of life safety.

Section 9.8
Two Unit Residential Occupancies. Covers basement apartments, second suites and duplexes.

Section 9.5

Low Rise Residential Occupancies. Covers small apartment buildings.

The Code clearly states under Part 1 that the Owner is responsible to carry out the provisions of the Code.

“Penalties from non-compliance range from up to $25,000 for individuals and to $50,000 for corporations or one year in prison or both.”
What are the Requirements of the Ontario Fire Code

In general, the regulation looks at five areas of fire safety:

1. Containment
Contain fires within units and from other areas.

2. Means of Escape
Require two exits per floor though variations may apply.

3. Alarms
Smoke alarms, require a minimum of one per floor. Carbon monoxide alarms, require a minimum of one per unit.

4. Fire Suppression
Require one fire extinguisher per floor with sprinklers optional.

5. Electrical Safety Compliance
Two unit buildings shall be subject to inspection by the Electrical Safety Authority.

Properties which need to comply

Two Unit Dwellings:

Detached, semi-detached and duplex containing two dwelling units.

Multiple Units:Detached and semi-detached house with more than two dwelling units.

Apartment Buildings:
Three units or more.

Mixed Residential/Commercial:

Three units above commercial store.


What is retrofit?
Retrofit legislation as described in Part 9 of the Fire Code addresses the upgrade of existing buildings. Under Part 9 of the Fire Code, alteration may require some construction, renovations or additions. A building permit may be required for some of this work..

The buildings concerned include:

• assembly occupancies
• rooming houses
• health-care facilities, and multi-unit residential buildings.

Residential buildings with two dwelling units must also meet the retrofit safety regulations. They must have:
• an electrical inspection by and subsequent approval from the Electrical Safety Authority
• smoke alarms
• fire separations

Taken from

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