Fire Safety Act 2014 Comes Into Effect On April 1

March 30, 2016

The Fire Safety Act 2014 comes into effect April 1, 2016, and it will apply to all Commercial Buildings and Residential Buildings that fall outside of the remit of the Bermuda Residential Building Code.

The full statement from the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service is below:

The Fire Safety Act 2014 comes into effect April 1, 2016. This new legislation has been developed across 8 years by BFRS Fire Safety personnel. The legislation ensures Bermuda as a whole meets the minimum safety standards of the NFPA [National Fire Protection Association], which is widely accepted as the international standard globally.

Currently, Fire Safety is spread over numerous Acts and Regulations, which make it difficult to regulate efficiently and ensure proper fire safety is in place.

Thus, the legislation was created to consolidate all matters regarding Fire Safety into one Act. Many local engineers, architects, and interior designers were consulted throughout the development of the legislation to ensure this.

What is it applied to?

The Fire Safety Act will apply to all Commercial Buildings and Residential Buildings that fall outside of the remit of the Bermuda Residential Building Code.

What are the requirements?

Every building will require a Fire Risk Assessment. The intent of the risk assessment is, with the assistance of the building owner, to identify risks to a property and together produce a plan to mitigate these risks.

The risk assessment will place the premise in a High, Medium or Low risk category. This category will determine the validity period of the Fire Certificate, from 1-5 years.

Buildings will be assessed based on the requirements of the building code of the day that they were built; therefore, those building without code required systems will not have to install them. Other measures will be made to bring the building as close to code compliant as possible. [i.e. fire doors, fire alarm system upgrades etc.]

In order to be compliant with the Fire Safety Act 2014, an application for a Fire Certificate must be made regardless if the risk survey has been conducted.

Buildings will be separated into different classes based on square footage. Fees associated with a Fire Certificate application will be based on the assigned classifications:

  • A Class Buildings 1,000 sq.ft or less  -$250
  • B Class Buildings 1,001 – 10,000 sq.ft – $600
  • C Class Buildings 10,001+ sq.ft – $900
  • Renewal of a Fire Certificate regardless of size – $150

The Act does allow for the Chief Fire Officer to issue fines and penalties and does allow the premises to be entered upon at any time with or without permission. All efforts to work with building owners will have to have been exhausted before exercising those powers.

Lieutenant Denkins said, “We do not want building and business owners to feel a sense of trepidation by the Fire Safety Act 2014; we would like them to embrace it as a tool, ensuring the safety of their investment.”

“We know there are some buildings without working fire alarm systems or automatic sprinkler systems. Right now there are a number of buildings that we don’t know anything about. If we get a call to any of those buildings, we don’t know what we are up against – which make them a high hazard. These are things as firefighters we need to know.

“At the minimum, we will have an understanding of the hazards present, permitting us to work with the building owner/s to formulate a plan to mitigate the hazards in addition to providing advice on the Fire Safety provisions that will update the premise to the minimum standards required in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association codes and standards.”

How to apply

Currently, applications can be picked up at the Hamilton Fire Station, and will soon be available online.

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Category: Accidents and fires, All

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