Our fire safety cer­ti­fi­ca­tion does not make build­ings safe

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - The Market -

Fire safety in build­ings has again be­come an area of ma­jor con­cern fol­low­ing on from the dis­as­ter in Gren­fell Tower in Lon­don, and, more re­cently, the Metro Ho­tel fire in Bal­ly­mun.

In Ire­land most build­ings must have a fire safety cer­tifi­cate, but what does that mean? If I ask peo­ple not di­rectly in­volved in the build­ing in­dus­try what a “fire safety cer­tifi­cate” is, most will re­ply that it is a cer­tifi­cate con­firm­ing the build­ing is safe in re­la­tion to fire.

This is not an un­rea­son­able as­sump­tion but it is not an ac­cu­rate one. The cer­tifi­cate is is­sued at de­sign stage and it con­firms that if the build­ing is built in ac­cor­dance with the sub­mis­sion made to the lo­cal au­thor­ity, it will be safe. That is a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence and re­nam­ing it a “fire safety de­sign cer­tifi­cate” would at least bring more clar­ity to the pub­lic.

This goes to the heart of a dif­fi­culty with

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