5 Common Fire Code Violations Committed by Commercial Buildings

07 February 2023

Commercial buildings are designed and built to cater to the operations of businesses. Now, one aspect of these buildings that should always be present is fire safety. Fire is one of the leading causes of damage to commercial buildings. Without any mitigating elements, fire can conveniently spread across the rooms and spaces of these properties, damaging everything in its path. It can also generate casualties among the occupants of these buildings, which is another liability on the part of the property owners.

Even though fire risks can be costly and deadly, some commercial buildings still choose to violate fire codes and neglect basic building standards. Here are some of the most common fire code violations that are being committed by commercial buildings.

1. Blocked Exit Doors

One fire code violation that commercial buildings often commit is blocking the exits. Exit doors are meant to be the safest way out for people who may be inside the building during a fire. However, if these things are blocked and cannot be opened, trapped occupants must find another way just to escape, which only eats more time and decreases their chances of survival. Emergency exits must not be always blocked to prevent casualties.

2. Open Fire Doors 

Exit doors are meant to be the safest way out for occupants. Fire doors, on the other hand, work by reducing the spread of fire and its elements between separate comparts of a commercial building. If these doors are open, fire elements may escape from their main source, spreading them easily across rooms and spaces. Fire doors should be inspected regularly. They must also be always closed except when temporarily held open by a certified device.

3. Faulty Lighting and Exit Signs

Indicators for egress pathways such as exit signs and emergency lighting should conform to the standards set by the authorities. Commercial buildings often underestimate the importance of illuminated exit signs and fully functional lighting. Once a fire emergency occurs, people may not be able to find the nearest exit right away as their workplaces do not maximise these indicators, making the surroundings dark. To avoid any delays, people should easily spot the exit signs. Emergency lights must also remain lit for an hour and a half during power outages.

4. Lack of Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are fire safety devices that should always be present on various corners of a commercial building. Once a fire occurs, occupants can get them and extinguish the fire source. The lack of these things, therefore, may only hinder employees, customers, or other people from putting out a small fire, forcing them to leave the premises. Unfortunately, many commercial buildings lack these things, making them dangerous to work at in case of a fire.

5. Defective Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are fire safety devices that can detect smoke and notify the occupants about it. Now, if a commercial building takes advantage of smoke detectors but fails to check them regularly, there might be a high chance that these devices do not work. And with defective smoke detectors, they might fail to detect any presence of smoke from a fire, which can pose a threat to anyone who might be working or visiting the building.

To avoid these violations, you must contact us at Key Compliance so we can carry out fire safety measures assessments for the operational compliance of your building.