Despite many people’s belief that it is the responsibility of the local fire department to ensure that all safety requirements in buildings are met, the onus falls squarely on the shoulders of the Owners.
British Columbia Fire Code (2018)
Division C – Administrative Provisions – Sec. 2.2 Administration
1) Unless otherwise specified, the owner or the owner’s authorized agent shall be responsible for carrying out the provisions of this (B.C. Fire) Code.
Most Strata Councils will have a chosen fire safety service provider who comes in once a year — or maybe even for monthly testing! — to provide the annual servicing of the equipment in the building. Despite delegating the inspection requirements to the provider, the fact remains that it is the Owner(s) who are responsible for ensuring that the testing has been conducted as per Code requirements and properly documented in an Underwriters Laboratories of Canada compliant report. They’re also still responsible for ensuring that all deficiencies are remedied, that the building is protected during any disruption to the life safety systems, and a final repair report provided and retained.
This holds true for the Code required monthly testing as well, which is often not completed at all or is sometimes delegated to volunteers on site, who may or may not have the training, background in fire alarm systems, or insurance coverage to be operating and resetting the fire alarm system.
The B.C. Fire Code requires that emergency and fire safety planning be done in all building that have a fire alarm system. Councils have vested interests in promoting fire safety. The Fire Safety Plan is crucial for residents’ and public safety; it is much more than a template document produced just to meet a regulatory requirement.
These responsibilities, and their attendant potential risks of liability, are often unknown or overlooked by the Owners and Strata Council, which could leave them vulnerable in the event, or aftermath, of an emergency.
We work closely with Strata Councils to help identify and mitigate risk in life safety by producing customized Fire Safety Plans, offering Fire Safety training and Directorship services, and providing Owner Representative oversight to encourage Code compliant inspections and maintenance.
Let’s see how we can help you reduce your risks.