Fire Safety Defects in Apartments


A “fire safety defect” means a defect that is attributable to defective design, defective or faulty workmanship, defective materials (or any combination of these), that is in contravention of the requirements of Part B of the Building Regulations at the time of construction, and that in the event of fire adversely affects or is likely to adversely affect any of the following:

  • The ability of people to safely evacuate the building;
  • The control of the spread of fire and smoke;
  • The structural integrity of the building; &
  • Access and facilities for the fire services

Common Fire Safety Defects

Missing or non-functional smoke alarms in apartments can delay detection of fires, reducing the time available for occupants to evacuate safely.

Insufficient fire-rated barriers between units or compartments can allow fires to spread quickly from one apartment to another, increasing the risk of injuries and property damage.

Fire doors that do not meet required standards or are improperly installed may fail to contain fires and smoke, allowing them to spread throughout the building.

Blocked or obstructed exits, stairways, corridors, or windows impede occupants’ ability to escape during a fire, leading to potential injuries or fatalities.

Faulty electrical wiring, overloaded circuits, or inadequate electrical installations increase the risk of electrical fires in apartments.

Absence of fire sprinkler systems or malfunctioning fire suppression equipment reduces the effectiveness of fire suppression efforts and compromises occupants’ safety.

Neglecting regular maintenance of fire safety equipment, such as fire detection and smoke alarm systems, emergency lighting, and fire extinguishers diminishes their reliability and effectiveness during emergencies.

Use of flammable or combustible materials in construction or furnishings increases the rate of fire spread and intensifies fire hazards within apartments.

Lack of awareness and education among residents about fire safety practices, evacuation procedures, and the proper use of fire prevention equipment can contribute to the severity of fire incidents.

Inadequate ventilation systems may allow smoke to accumulate within apartments during a fire, hindering occupants’ ability to escape and increasing smoke-related injuries.

Lack of fire-rated barriers in shared spaces, such as attics, cavities, basements, or utility rooms, facilitates the spread of fire and smoke throughout the building.

Addressing Fire Safety Defects

Addressing fire safety defects in apartments requires proactive measures by property owners, managers, tenants, and regulatory authorities. Regular inspections, maintenance, and upgrades of fire safety systems and building components are essential to mitigate risks and ensure the safety of occupants in apartment buildings.

Aidan O'Connell

FIEI, Chartered Engineer

Aidan is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland with over 38 years of experience in the design, project management, and construction sectors. He has a deep understanding of the industry and needs of clients and leverages this experience to deliver tailor made solutions that align with each client’s goals and objectives.

Aidan is an Expert Contributor to the National Standards Authority Ireland (NSAI) and regularly acts as an Expert Witness for all major insurers in Ireland and the U.K. He is recognised as an industry leading expert in the  identification and remediation of latent defects related to Fire Safety, Structures, Water Ingress, and Cladding problems and has only in the last year successfully completed a number of large multimillion remediation projects in Ireland, the U.K. and Europe, specifically targeting Fire Safety and Water Ingress matters. Aidan’s knowledge and experience across numerous regulatory and legal jurisdictions ensures a very comprehensive and balanced approach to all projects.

Aidan holds a Bachelor’s in Engineering from University College Dublin and several other technical and project management qualifications from Trinity College, demonstrating his passion for and commitment to continued professional development.


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