Termination of the Office of the Fire Marshal’s Plan Review and Approval Program

Communiqué du commissaire des incendies

Termination of the Office of the Fire Marshal’s Plan Review and Approval Program

Communiqué 2013-03

March 11, 2013

The purpose of this communiqué is to advise the fire service and other stakeholders that, effective April 1, 2013, Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) approval will no longer be required for projects involving new constructions, and alterations and/or additions to existing buildings, including long-term care homes, public and private hospitals, elementary and secondary schools operated by English-language public and catholic school boards and French-language public and catholic school boards, colleges and universities.

The OFM has conducted plan reviews for construction and renovation projects in select building classes since 1958. The Plan Review and Approval Program (PRAP) was originally introduced to deal with the lack of uniform provincial fire safety standards for building construction in Ontario. With the Building Code Act coming into force in 1975 and the Building Code being adopted that same year as a provincial regulation to be uniformly applied to new construction/renovations in Ontario, municipal building officials were appointed and given enforcement responsibilities through the permit process.

After the introduction of the Building Code and Building Code Act, the PRAP continued to exist because other legislative requirements and agreements with other government ministries were still in place. With the subsequent revocation/repeal of all statutes/regulations that mandated OFM review and approval for select building classes, there has been no specific legislated mandate for the OFM to carry out plan reviews since July 2010. The PRAP work currently being performed by OFM staff members is essentially a duplication of services being provided by municipal building officials who have the legislative mandate to enforce Building Code requirements.

The Building Code is a dynamic regulation and continues to change in response to public safety needs and provincial priorities. Many elements of the OFM’s building fire safety design standards from the 1960s and early 1970s were incorporated into the Building Code over time through a close working relationship between the OFM, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) and other government ministries. This relationship will continue into the future.

Please note that the OFM will continue to be available for consultation and plan review upon request by provincial government ministries or agencies. The OFM will also continue to be available to the fire service and other stakeholders for consultation on fire safety matters within its purview. In addition, the OFM can be consulted on the implementation of fire safety upgrades to long-term care homes that may occur as a result of the funding intended for safety improvements in long-term care homes announced in January by the Government of Ontario as part of its Action Plan for Seniors.

For additional information, please contact the Technical Services Section of the OFM by telephone at (416) 325-3100.