Fire and Life Safety Inspections
A PROACTIVE APPROACH
The Office of the Fire Marshal puts a special emphasis on Fire and Life Safety Inspections. Why? Because the safer the businesses and buildings we enter every day are, the less likely we are to encounter life-threatening hazards. Over the last several years, the Fire Marshal’s Office has worked to shift our organization’s emphasis from fire investigation to fire and life safety inspections, with a very clear goal in mind – to prevent fires and life safety concerns from happening in the first place.
Our team works alongside building owners, property managers, and business owners to help navigate fire codes and fire safety for the benefit of their customers, employees, business, and the community. Since this shift, the Office has recorded a significant drop in the amount of fire investigations we’re called to, and subsequently the number of large fires that have occurred in our community.
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Fire Inspections are performed annually, every two years, or every three years on commercial-use and multi-family (apartment and condominium) buildings, depending on the built in fire protection systems. Non-protected buildings (those without monitored fire alarms or automatic fire sprinklers), and buildings containing particularly hazardous materials, are inspected annually. Protected buildings (those with monitored fire alarms or automatic fire sprinklers) are inspected every two years. And State Licensed Care Facilities, which are highly regulated by the state, are inspected every three years. Buildings that are considered commercial-use but not occupied by the public, such as park buildings or cell towers, are also inspected every three years.
Inspections are scheduled at the discretion of the Fire Marshal. Our Deputy Fire Marshals work with owners and property managers to ensure the inspection is completed in a timely manner with little interruption to the business operations. Our Deputy Fire Marshals verify all required paperwork, perform the inspection, document their findings, discuss the findings and report with the owner or property manager, and provide an electronic copy of the report along with their contact information for any further questions.
Any fire code violations are included in the report and a re-inspection will occur 30+ days after the notice of violation to ensure the violation has been resolved. Our Deputy Fire Marshals continue to re-inspect properties until all violations are resolved, to ensure public safety. While the initial inspection and first re-inspection are no-cost, second and all subsequent re-inspections incur fees. See the Violations and Re-Inspection Fees section below for details.
VIOLATIONS AND RE-INSPECTION FEES
If fire code violations are discovered during a fire inspection, a re-inspection is necessary to ensure that all violations are corrected in a timely manner. Re-inspections are performed 30+ days after the initial notice of violation. We understand that not all violations can be solved in 30 days. If 30 days is not enough time to remedy the violation, owners can always request an extension in writing. Approved extensions help avoid unnecessary fees while you work to improve the safety of your business.
If at the time of re-inspection violations still exist, the inspector can charge a re-inspection fee in accordance with the Fire Fee Schedule. The Office of the Fire Marshal will continue to re-inspect the property every 30+ days until all of the violations are resolved. A second re-inspection carries a fee according to the fee schedule. After the second re-inspection all subsequent re-inspection fees carry an additional fee according to the fee schedule. These fees can add up. It is best to correct violations quickly to ensure the safety of the community and limit re-inspection costs.
The fees are in place to discourage owners from ignoring fire code violations that put their staff and the public at risk. It also accounts for the continued time and resources of Renton RFA personnel as they repeatedly service the business in an effort to keep the community safe. We strive to work with businesses and building owners to make fire safety as straight forward and easy as possible for the betterment of our community.
The most current fee schedule is provided by the City of Renton. For a link to that schedule, click the button below and navigate to the “Important Links” box at the top of the page:
Visit the Important Links section of our Permits page for the Fee Schedule Link