Cork County Council provides a fire and rescue service from twenty-one fire stations, which are located throughout the county. We respond to approximately 3,000 emergency calls each year.
These emergency calls include domestic and commercial fires, road traffic accidents, gorse fires, chemical incidents, and other hazardous occurrences within the county.
Cork County Fire and Building Control Department provides this service, in order to achieve the following objectives:
- Assist the public in maintaining adequate fire safety in buildings
- Ensure that building construction is in compliance with the building regulations
- Prepare for major emergencies.
The Department is located at four regional offices:
- Fire Administration Building, County Hall Campus (Head Quarters)
- Midleton Fire Station, Market Green, Midleton Co.Cork
- Bantry Fire Station
- Mallow Fire Station.
A Commencement Notice is required to give notice to Building Control Authorities of the erection of such buildings, or classes of buildings, or the carrying out of such works, or classes of works, as may be specified in the regulations. The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations SI 9 of 2014 recommends the Building Control Management System (BCMS) site as the preferred means of electronic building control administration.
Building Control Regulations provide for matters of procedure, administration and control for the purposes of securing the implementation of the requirements of the Building Regulations and of demonstrating how compliance with such requirements has been achieved in relation to the building or works concerned.
To apply for a Commencement Notice each party (owner, designer, builder and assigned certifier) to the notice must first register with the BCMS.
The following guides will also be of use:
Introduction to Building Control
The building control system applies to the design and construction of new buildings, extensions and material alterations to, and certain changes in the use of, existing buildings.
The information contained here is intended to provide practical guidance, and is not a definitive legal interpretation of building control law.
It is a legal requirement that buildings must be designed and built in accordance with the Building Regulations. Under current legislation, the building control authority has discretionary powers.
These include the following:
- The right to inspect works to which the Building Regulations apply
- The right to request information relating to works to which Building Regulations apply
- Power of enforcement in relation to non-compliance with the Building Regulations.
Power to prosecute for non-compliance, either by summary or High Court proceedings.
It should be noted that the power of inspection granted to building control authorities under the legislation is discretionary, and does not impose an obligation to inspect. The primary responsibility for compliance with regulations rests with the designers, builders and building owners.
Building Control System
The framework of the building control system comprises three sections.
There are three main provisions within this Act:
a) It provides for the making of building regulations dealing with issues such as building standards, workmanship, fire safety conservation of fuel and energy and access for those with disabilities.
b) It provides for the making of building control regulations, which involve commencement notices, fire safety certificates, disabled access certificates and fees, and include administration by the building control authorities.
c) It gives powers of enforcement and inspection to the building control authorities.
The Building Regulations set out the technical requirements for the design and construction of building works. They are written in broad, functional terms rather than performance or prescriptive terms. Requirement B1, for example, states that 'A building shall be so designed and constructed that there are adequate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety.' As the requirements are quite general, there is more specific guidance available on what is considered adequate. This guidance is provided in Technical Guidance Documents.
These regulations are procedural and administrative. Their purpose is to promote observance of the Regulations by supplementing the basic powers of inspection and enforcement given to the building control authorities by different sections of the Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007.
They do this by requiring the submission of the following:
- Fire safety certificate application
- Disability access certificate application
- Commencement notice
Please note a Code of Practice for Persons Inspecting and Certifying Building Works has been published by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.
For more information, please consult the Planning section of this website.
What is a fire safety certificate?
A Fire Safety Certificate is granted by a building control authority. It certifies that the design of the building or works would be in compliance with the requirements of part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations, 1997-2014. This decision is based on the plans, documents and information submitted to the authority with the application. A fire safety certificate may be granted with or without conditions, or it may be refused.
Do I need a fire safety certificate?
With the exception of houses and certain agricultural buildings, a fire safety certificate is generally required for all new buildings, including apartments and flats. A certificate is also required for material changes of use and certain alterations and extensions to buildings. A fire safety certificate must be obtained before work starts.
Where do I get a fire safety certificate?
Before you begin any work or make a material change of use, you should apply to the local building control authority for a fire safety certificate. Application forms are available from the authority, and should be submitted with the following:
- plans, calculations and specifications for works or building
- details of the nature and extent of the proposed use and, where appropriate of the existing use of the building
- the appropriate fee, based on floor area (details available from your local authority)
- a technical report demonstrating that the design would comply with Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations
Any application not including the above can be rejected by the authority as invalid.
How long should it take to get a fire safety certificate?
The statutory period allowed to a building control authority to process a fire safety certificate application is two months. However , all the information must be made available to the authority, so that they have sufficient information to make a decision, before this statutory period starts. If the application documentation is incomplete, this will delay the decision on the application.
Can I appeal if I am refused a fire safety certificate?
You can appeal a decision of the building control authority to An Bórd Pleanála within one month of the decision. Details of the appeal process and fee are sent out with each decision of the authority.
What are the new types of fire safety certification introduced under SI 351, Building Control Amendment Regs, 2009?
Revised Fire Safety Certificate
Access to application forms are below:
In accordance with Article 20D of the Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2009 an application for a disability access certificate shall be accompanied by such plans, (including a site or layout plan) and such other particulars as are necessary to:
- Identify and describe the works or building to which the application relates,
- Enable the building control authority to assess, whether the said works or building would, if constructed in accordance with the said plans and other particulars, comply with the requirements of Part M of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations,
- Identify the nature and extent of the proposed use and, where appropriate, of the existing use of the building concerned
- Each application form must be accompanied by the fee of €800. Please note that each building requires a separate form and fee. The extent to which plans, details and specifications will be required to establish compliance with Part M of the Building.
- Regulations will vary in individual cases depending on the type, size and complexity of the building concerned but the information below can be used as a guideline. Where relevant, all plans and information listed below should be supplied
- A fully comprehensive report denoted to correspond with Technical Guidance Document Part M clause numbers (submitted in duplicate)
- A set of drawings covering all areas of accessibility (submitted in duplicate).
Plans should include the following:
- Floor plans, cross sectional drawings of the building and drawings of each elevation. Include other detailed drawings as appropriate. (The north point should be indicated on all plans)
- Plans, sections, elevations or other drawings should be drawn to an appropriate scale of not less than 1:100
- A site layout plan to a scale of not less than 1:500 and a site location map not less than either 1:2500 or 1:1000
- Location of all vehicle and pedestrian access points, approach routes and roadways to the site. Including sloped and stepped routes
- All entrances to the building, highlighting the main entrance onto the site
- All on site parking spaces including set down areas from where a person may alight from a vehicle.
The applicant for the grant or renewal of a licence under the Licensing Acts; public houses, hotels, restaurants, and so forth, Registration of Clubs Acts, and Public Dance Halls Act, must notify the fire authority of the application.
This section outlines the involvement of the fire service in the licensing process and is intended as a guide to both potential and existing licences of public premises. It does not purport to be a definitive guide and any detailed information regarding the process may be obtained by contacting the fire service via the contact details given.
Licensing and the Fire service
The fire service is a notice party to many types of licence applications and throughout the year the fire service receives notification of applications to the courts for licences for various types of public premises. This gives the fire authority the opportunity to inspect premises and to give evidence in court prior to the granting of a licence. The types of notifications the fire authority receives are:
Certificates of Registration:
- Excise licences
- Lottery licences
- Club licences
- Occasional licences
- Public dance hall licences
- Transfer of licences
- Restaurant licences
- Publican's licence
On notification of a licence application and the appropriate fee the fire authority will formally acknowledge the application and notify the applicant of the need to arrange an inspection of the premises with the assigned fire officer. The applicant will also be requested to have the following test certificates (if relevant) ready for inspection:
- Emergency lighting
- Fire detection and alarm system
- Fire extinguishers.
On the day of the inspection the inspecting officer (where relevant) will check the following items:
- Final exit/escape doors
- Locking devices and push-bar devices
- Internal escape routes
- Fire doors, intumescent seal, self-closing devices
- Signage, exit signs, and fire instruction notices
- Emergency lighting (maintained, non-maintained or combined system)
- Fire detection and alarm system
- Fire extinguishers
- High risk/Storage Areas
- Fire brigade access
- Fire safety register and staff training.
Licence applicants should ensure that prior to the inspection that all the above have been checked and that annual test certificates are available for inspection. This will minimise delays in obtaining your licence. If the fire authority considers that deficiencies exist, a schedule of works will be issued to the applicant. The applicant will be required to have these works completed prior to the granting of their licence. If the licensee carries out modifications or upgrading works to his/her premises they should be aware of their obligations under building control legislation to apply for a fire safety certificate prior to commencing any construction works. Building without a fire safety certificate is a breach of the Building Control Regulations.
You can access Fire Safety publications for various types of premises here.
Fire Safety Management of a premises and the Fire Safety Register:
The keeping of fire safety records is an important element of the proper fire safety management of a premises. Cork County Council has produced a Fire Safety Register, which is available to owner and occupiers of buildings to assist them in keeping records for specific items.
In addition to the items catered for in the Register, it will be necessary to keep records and certificates for other items, such as furnishings, bedding, electrical installations, gas installations, as appropriate to a particular premises.
A Major Emergency is any event which, usually with little or no warning, causes or threatens injury or death, serious disruption of essential services, or damage to property, the environment, or infrastructure beyond the normal capabilities of the principal emergency services. It requires the mobilisation of additional resources to ensure an effective and co-ordinated response.
Planning for Major Emergencies
Cork County Council has an ongoing major emergency planning programme in place. The programme involves:
- Hazard analysis and risk assessment
- Response planning
- Recovery planning
- Involvement in inter-agency training, exercises and regional forums.
Major Emergency Plan
As part of this ongoing programme and in accordance with the requirements of 'A Framework for Major Emergency Management' (2006), the "Cork County Council's Major Emergency Plan" has been prepared to facilitate the response to, and recovery from major emergencies as well as ensuring the Council's arrangements are coordinated with those of the other designated Principal Response Agencies, the Health Service Executive, and An Garda Síochána.
The version of the Major Emergency Plan accessible to the public is available at the following link:
Advice to Householders
Major Emergencies are very rare events. For householders, practical advice on sensible steps which can be taken to cope with an emergency has been issued by the Office of Emergency Planning through the publication and distribution of the handbook "Preparing for Major Emergencies" and the advice on their website www.emergencyplanning.ie
The Civil Defence is a volunteer based organisation that supports the front line emergency services. They are also involved in assisting local communities with over 4500 volunteer members throughout Ireland.
Their volunteers are trained in the following areas:
- Search and Rescue
- Auxiliary Fire Services
- Radiation Monitoring
You can find more information on the Civil Defence website.
Civil Defence in Cork County is organised in three units, Cork North, Cork West and Cork South, with respective HQs in Mallow, Skibbereen and Kinsale. Each unit has approximately 45-60 active volunteers, drawn from a variety of backgrounds and with a wide range of experience and expertise.
The primary role of Civil Defence is to provide 2nd Line Emergency Response to the Principal Response Agencies ( PRAs: Local Authority, HSE, An Garda Siochana) in the areas of severe weather and flood response, missing person search, communications and voluntary emergency ambulance capability.
Volunteers are professionally trained in a wide variety of skills, and also receive instruction in Critical Incident Stress Management, Health and Safety and manual handling. Training exercises are regularly undertaken with the PRAs and other Voluntary Emergency Services to maintain a high level of readiness and to streamline procedures.
We provide a fire and rescue service from twenty-one fire stations, which are located throughout the county. Emergency calls include domestic and commercial fires, road traffic collisions, gorse fires, chemical incidents and other hazardous occurrences within the county.
The service is separated into four geographical divisions, with divisional headquarters in the fire stations of Bantry, Mallow, Midleton and Carrigaline. Each division comes under the responsibility of a Senior Executive Fire Officer, who is assisted by an Assistant Chief Fire Officer with regard to fire service operational matters within that division. Individual Station Officers and Sub-Station Officers oversee the running of the services provided to the public from each fire station.
Each Fire Station is manned by between 10 and 12 retained firefighters. There are 214 dedicated part-time firefighters working for Cork County Fire Department.
Each new recruit firefighter undertakes a three-week recruitment course on basic fire fighting skills and road traffic collisions. This is followed by a two-week course on the use of the breathing apparatus and a two-day course on Compartment Fire Behaviour. Retained firefighters also undertake continuous training by means of weekly drill nights at each local fire station.
Firefighters also undertake specialised training in Occupational First Aid, Medical First Responder, Water Awareness, Hazardous Materials Training and Road Traffic Collision Training. Firefighters also undertake regular refresher training in these topics to maintain and enhance their skills.
Newly appointed Station Officers and Sub-Station Officers undertake specialised officer Command and Control Courses to develop and enhance their skills. Some Officers qualify as instructors in certain disciplines which enables them to deliver the training both on a Station and Countywide basis.
Cork County Council issues licences under the Dangerous Substances (Retail & Private Petroleum Stores) 1979 (and Amendment Regulations. )
Licensable premises include (a) petrol stations that dispense petrol through retail transactions on a forecourt and (b) commercial sites that dispense petrol for consumption by employees.
Storage of Petrol (i.e. Class 1 above) above certain thresholds requires a Petroleum Licence to be obtained from the local authority.
More information can be found on http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Your_Industry/Petrol_Stations/ and see forms below:
Becoming a Retained Fire-fighter.
Cork County Fire Service is a Retained fire service. Fire-fighters are available on a on call system and generally have other work commitments outside of the fire service. The main requirement when recruiting Fire-fighters is that they live and work within a reasonable distance of the Fire Station. The position is open to male and female applicants. Though part-time, recruits undergo extensive initial training including a three week Recruit course and a two week Breathing Apparatus Wearers Course.
When a call is received for the Fire Service, the alerters for a particular brigade are activated and the Fire-fighters, who each carry an alerter, respond to the fire station immediately. Fire-fighters could be at work or at home in bed when called. However they are bound by the rules of the road when commuting to the Fire Station.
Cork County Fire Service recruit persons to the Fire Service as vacancies arise. Vacancies are advertised on Facebook, in the local newspapers and on the Cork County Council Website.
Positions are open to male and female applicants.
•An application form must be completed.
•A Garda Vetting Form must be completed.
•When a vacancy appears, interviews are held and qualified candidates are put on a panel.
•From this panel applicants are asked to carry out a medical to check their fitness levels.
•If successful an applicant is sent on a three week Fire-fighter Recruit Induction Course. Once this is successfully completed the new Fire-fighter will become part of the on call roster system and will attend fires with the remainder of this crew.
•The new Fire-fighter if usually sent on a Breathing Apparatus Course within a year of joining the Fire Service, this must be successfully completed.
More about the work of a Retained Fire-fighter…..
As well as responding to emergency calls and undertaking community fire safety initiatives as required, retained Fire-fighters attend biweekly training nights in order to maintain competency levels. They must also ensure that their personal Fire-fighter equipment is maintained to the highest standard to provide the required protection at an emergency incident.
As a Fire-fighter you will be called upon to tackle a wide range of emergency situations where your problem solving skills and initiative will be vital to resolve issues quickly and calmly. Incidents vary from tackling fires and rescuing people from burning buildings to dealing with chemical spillages and road traffic collisions. There are certain personal attributes that you will need to help you fulfill your role as a Fire-fighter. They include confidence, resilience, adaptability, effective communication skills, integrity and a commitment to diversity.
The role of the Fire-fighter is continually changing as new techniques and equipment are introduced. As well as responding to emergencies you may also be required to work on Community Fire Safety Project:
1. To prevent fire and accidents from starting in the first place.
2. Educating the community by visiting schools, community centres.
3. Advising people about the use of smoke alarms and having an escape plan available if a fire should occur in their homes.
Training and development
- As a Fire-fighter you will be expected to undertake a continuous training programme by attending lectures, exercises, practical training sessions and other forms of training to maintain competence levels.
- You will be expected to take responsibility for developing your own skills and ensuring that your fitness levels are maintained as the work can be demanding, both physically and mentally.
Retained Fire-fighter Further Information