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What is a Fire Safety Certificate?
A certificate granted by a Building Control Authority, such as Galway County Council or Galway City Council, certifies that the building or works, if constructed in accordance with the plans, documents and information submitted to the authority, would comply with the requirements of Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations 1997 – 2002. Part B is the Guidance Document which specifically relates to Fire.
Do I need a Fire Safety Certificate?
With the exception of houses and certain agricultural buildings, a fire safety certificate is required for all new buildings (including apartments and flats), as well as material changes of use and certain alterations and extensions to buildings.
Is there more than one kind of Fire Safety Certificate?
Yes. There are three ways by which you can obtain a Fire Safety Certificate for your building.
1. Fire Safety Certificate - This is the standard application made for all new buildings. This standard fee applies to this kind of application.
2. Revised Fire Safety Certificate - This application is required in respect of works that have already been granted a Fire Safety certificate, but where significant revisions need to be made for reasons other than Fire Safety, eg. conditions attached to Planning Permission, changes in design, etc. The standard fee applies to this kind of application.
3. 7 Day Notice - A 7 day notice should be submitted when works are proposed to be begin prior to the grant of the relevant Fire Safety Certificate. 7 Day notices should be submitted not less than 7 days prior to the commencement of works, and mus be accompanied by a valid Fire Safety Certificate Application and a Statutory Declaration that the works will comply fully with the application made and any conditions attached thereto with four months of the Certificate being issued. Note that the fee for this application is twice that of a standard Fire Safety Certificate / Revised Fire Safety Certificate Application.
What should I do if works have already started?
If works or a change of use have already started or been carried out, you can no longer apply for a Fire Safety Certificate. You must apply for a Regularisation Certificate. This is similar to a Fire Safety Certificate, however the application must be accompanied by a Statutory Declaration that the works will comply fully with the application made and any conditions attached thereto with four months of the Certificate being issued.
It is important to note that the Fee for a Regularisation Certificate is four times that for a Fire Safety Certificate / Revised Fire Safety Certificate, and twice that for a 7 Day Notice. Regularisation Certificates are subject to a maximum charge of €50,000 per application.
Where do I get a Fire Safety Certificate?
Before you begin any work or material change of use, you should apply to the local Building Control Authority, whether it be Galway County Council or Galway City Council, for a Fire Safety Certificate.
How do I make an Application for a Fire Safety Certificate?
Having established the need for a fire safety certificate, you may need to retain a fire safety consultant to advise you or make an application as your agent. A fire safety consultant should be of a technical background with a knowledge and experience of fire safety design.
The following should be included in your application:
Any application not including the above can be rejected by the authority as invalid. If this happens, your application will be returned to you along with your fee. For more detailed information on making a Fire Safety Certificate Application, please follow this link.
How long should it take to get a Fire Safety Certificate?
Normally two months, but this may be extended by written agreement between the applicant and the building control authority, eg. when the authority seeks further information on your application. A Fire Safety Certificate may be granted with or without conditions, or refused.
When should I apply for a Fire Safety Certificate?
A fire Safety Certificate must be obtained before work starts. Therefore, to allow your local Building Control Authority to process the application in time, the application should be made at least two months prior to the commencement of works.
Can I appeal if I am refused a Fire Safety Certificate?
Yes. An applicant for a certificate can appeal to An Bord Pleanala against a Refusal, within one month of the decision (details of the appeal fee are available from An Bord Pleanala).
I’ve got a Fire Safety Certificate, what do I do now?
Once the Fire Officer is satisfied that the design complies with the building regulations, the City or County Council will issue you a Fire Safety Certificate. Only then can you commence works on your project. You are legally obliged to ensure that the works carried out are in accordance with the specifications and plans approved under your application.
If in doubt, contact your local Building Control Authority.
For more information on the Building Control System, you can download the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government leaflet Pl. 11 - Guide to the Building Control System:
Pl. 11 - Guide to the Building Control System
Pl. 11 - Guide to the Building Control System (as published by DoEHLG) (pdf, 249 kbs, Last Updated: )