Local councils are responsible for making sure that buildings are safe to use. This is set out in the Building Control Acts and the Building Control Regulations. When county councils, city councils or city and county councils act under this legislation, they are called building control authorities. The law gives the building control authorities certain responsibilities and certain powers to regulate the safety of buildings such as the issuing of fire safety certificates and other certificates.
A fire safety certificate is normally required for:
- all new buildings, including apartments and flats, except dwelling houses and some agricultural buildings,
- material change of use, such as converting the ground floor of a house to a shop, and
- some alterations and extensions to buildings.
Depending on the building, the law gives the power to a building control authority to issue:
- Fire safety certificate,
- Revised fire safety certificate,
- Regularisation certificate.
Information about how to apply for these certificates is available from your building control authority.
If approved, your certificate will say that the works or building will comply with the requirements in the current Building Regulations (Part B of the Second Schedule). The works or building must be in line with the plans and specifications submitted to the building control authority.
Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations for buildings other than dwelling houses includes:
- Means of escape in case of fire (Part B1)
- Internal fire spread (linings) (Part B2)
- Internal fire spread - structure (Part B3)
- External fire spread (Part B4)
- Access and facilities for the fire service (Part B5)
Under the current Building Regulations, Parts B6 to B12 deal with dwelling houses and are not subject to the procedural requirements to obtain the above fire safety related certificates, a disability access certificate or similar types of certificate. However, dwelling houses are still required to comply with the technical requirements of the Building Regulations
You can appeal a decision made by a building control authority on a certificate application to An Bord Pleanála.