Fire Guideline FAQs for New Businesses

I intend on having a home inspection completed, will this tell me if the building complies?

It is unlikely that a home inspector has the expertise, or qualifications, to conduct an inspection for fire code compliance. For a small fee, St. Catharines Fire Services will conduct an inspection for compliance with the Ontario Fire Code.

The lawyer conducted a file search through City Hall and a title search. Will this reveal any outstanding fire code violations on file?

No.

Only the St. Catharines Fire Prevention office retains records regarding fire code violations on properties within the city.

What if I purchase a property and it has violations?

As the owner, you will assume responsibility for all violations of the fire code. Failure to comply can result in a fine of up to $50,000 per violation and you will also have to complete the required work to bring the building into compliance. In addition, there could be insurance concerns with a non-compliant property.

What if there are no violations when I purchase the property?

The Ontario Fire Code is a maintenance document. This means that it is used to ensure that the building continues to be maintained in a fire safe manner.

It is your responsibility to ensure compliance with this code at all times. In addition, future changes to the code may require you to perform additional upgrades to the property. Generally, major changes are accompanied by a period of time in which to perform the work.

How do I arrange an inspection of a property I'm looking to purchase?

Inspections can be arranged through the Fire Prevention Office by calling 905-688-5601, ext. 4224.

All inspections, as well as file searches, require the written permission of the present owner. This will allow the release of information about outstanding violations on file, as well as the findings of the on-site inspection. There is a small fee for the on-site inspection. Arrangements for inspections should be made as far in advance as possible to allow for scheduling.

Do these inspections confirm compliance with all applicable regulations?

No.

Inspections by fire services are to confirm compliance with the Ontario Fire Code. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure compliance with all other regulations such as building, zoning, parking, property standards, etc. Fire inspections of the property are conducted as it exists at the time of inspection with the assumption that the property meets all other applicable regulations.

 

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