The provision of fire services is a statutory function of fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003. My Department supports fire authorities mainly through providing a national legislative framework, setting national policy and developing guidance on operational and other fire service related matters and through capital funding towards appliances and buildings.
A Fire Safety Certificate (FSC) indicates that a building is designed in a way that prevents and limits the spread of fire and that adequate escape facilities are in place. Part III of the Building Control Regulations 1997-2018 provides for the requirements for FSCs in respect of new buildings and for certain works to existing buildings.
Applications for FSCs are examined by Fire Officers, from the Fire Service in each local authority, for compliance with Part B of the Building Regulations. In Dublin, the FSC applications are processed by Dublin Fire Brigade for all four local authorities in the Dublin region.
The relevant authority typically aims to process a FSC application within the statutory timeframe of eight weeks. However, as the processing/issuing of FSCs is a demand led function, linked to economic activity in the construction sector, I understand that meeting this target can be challenging at times.
It is critically important that we have a robust FSC regime in place and that certificates are issued within statutory timelines to the greatest extent possible. It is a matter for each local authority to ensure that adequate resources are in place to meet its statutory obligations in the context of the annual budgetary process.
In this regard, the elected members of a local authority have direct responsibility in law for all reserved functions of the authority, which includes adopting the annual budget, and agreeing spending priorities. Under Section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001 staffing and organisational arrangements within a local authority are a matter for the Chief Executive.