According to Ontario Fire Code, any time a buyer purchases a multiple family dwelling built prior to 2000, it is highly recommended to obtain a Fire Inspection to ensure that the units comply with the Ontario Fire Code.  Dwellings constructed 2000 or later would be built to meet the Code.

When a dwelling is reconstructed or modified to allow multiple occupancies, a Retrofit Inspection is commonly required by a lender in order to mortgage or remortgage the property.

It is important to note that the Fire Protection and Prevention Act states that, unless otherwise specified, the owner is responsible for carrying out the provisions of the Fire Code.  Therefore, by obtaining a general fire inspection, an owner can be assured that the dwellings are safe for their occupants and that they themselves are protected from any future liability should a fire be determined to be caused by breaches of the Code.

Fire Inspections are offered by engineering firms, specialized fire consultants, and some local Fire Prevention Offices.  Because the Fire Code is extremely intricate and complex, it is advisable to hire someone well-qualified.  A knowledgeable fire consultant can offer advice and options on the best methods to meet Code.

Fire separation between walls
Fire separation between floors

The cost of obtaining an inspection depends on the number of dwellings, (duplex, triplex, multiplex), and varies by municipality.  You can expect to pay approximately $350 for a duplex with the price increasing according to the number of units.  The inspection usually includes a verbal site inspection; a written report; re-inspection after any recommended work is completed; and a Compliance Letter.

Unless inspected recently, it is common for inspections to result in recommendations.  Once a building is inspected and recommendations are met, only ongoing maintenance is required if no changes to the building have been made.

The Ontario Fire Code is an extensive Act that outlines safety provisions for all building types in great detail.  Some of the areas that would be the focus of an inspection are:  proper Fire Separations, Means of Egress, Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms.

Given the significant cost of investing in a multi-dwelling home, an owner is well-advised to make sure it complies with the Ontario Fire Code both to (1) ensure the safety of occupants and (2) to protect against any unexpected cash outlays or future liability on the owner’s part.