Fire Compliance Certification: Does Ireland need a watchdog to improve the safety standards and regulations?

Many of the publications have started the discussions on identifying the tinderbox buildings in Ireland following the Grenfell Tower fire in London. This was followed by the argument of setting up a watchdog for undertaking the task.

Donal Fitzgerald, one of the Directors at OCF claim that the awareness and regulations in place if executed properly will be sustainable to protect the buildings in the pipeline. However, the current stock of buildings needs to be reviewed to ensure that the quality of construction is as per the requirements.

As an example, OCF had undertaken a programme to assess for fire compliance of 5 properties (multi-unit) located in the Leinster region. The properties were tenanted and there were reports of compliance issues. OCF executed their commission in 2 stages, each step properly planned to ensure a comprehensive assessment to the purchaser of the properties.

Stage 1 – Initial Assessment post purchase

Carry out initial Due Diligence Assessment and a full compliance check, including

  • Utilise Historical Mapping & Planning Information to identify property history
  • Utilising the property history, the relevant standards for building regulations & Fire Safety were established.
  • Each individual property was then assessed against the statutory compliance requirements and included Planning Compliance and Building Regulations checks together with risk assessment for fire based on the revision of the standards.
  • An assessment for requirements against the requirements of the “Housing Regulations, Minimum Standards for Rental Accommodation” was also undertaken.
  • Along with the above, requirements in respect of general condition were ascertained.
  • Provision of certificate of compliance where achievable
  • Compliance checks on planning permission.
  • General Review of title/boundary assessment for future sales requirements
  • Provision of 1st Registration mapping for future sales requirements.
  • Compile report detailing the findings of the above, shortcomings in the property in terms of certification.
  • Identifying value engineered solutions for any matters raised in the above assessments & identifying costs for remediation.
  • Provision of Budget Costings

Stage 2 – Post Initial Assessment

Post purchase of the asset, OCF worked with the client in order to:

  • Undertake role of PSDP
  • Prepare detailed design
  • Obtain the Relevant Planning Permissions, Fire Certificates, Disabled Access Certificates including Retention Planning & Fire Regularisation Certificates where applicable.
  • Role of Assigned Certifier where required
  • Prepare Tender Documents
  • Undertake procurement procedure
  • Appoint Contractor
  • Full Project & Commercial Management Services
  • Liaise with LA in respect the process
  • Final Sign Off & Certification

The construction works executed so far covers over €1,250,000. OCF also provided advice for maintaining and vacating specific properties based on their evaluation.