Information on fire safety & planning requirements for Early Years Services (pre-schools)

Information on fire safety & planning requirements for Early Years Services (pre-schools)

29 November 2019 at 17:25

Engineers Ireland welcomes all improvements to fire safety, particularly for vulnerable people such as children. Our membership includes professionals working in fire safety, designing and constructing buildings and systems, to keep our communities safe in the event of a fire.

Providers of early years services (e.g. crèches) are regulated by the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 and must complete a statutory registration process. The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) has a statutory responsibility to assess levels of compliance with these Regulations. The agency must be satisfied that all services meet fire safety standards.

According to the Child and Family Agency: All new registration applications are subject to satisfaction of fire safety and planning requirements and in order to assist existing providers to meet the requirements of fire safety and planning for re-registration, they have put together the following guidance on fire safety and planning requirements for providers’ registration.

The majority of Early Years settings fall into a category of purpose group that requires a large degree of fire safety - active, passive and management provisions - under fire safety and building control legislation. Providers are required to ensure that they comply with specific provisions in relation to fire safety building design and construction.

All new buildings and existing buildings which undergo an extension, a material alteration or a material change of use, must be designed and constructed in compliance with specific fire safety Building Regulations. The design of such buildings used by the public, including pre-schools, are required to obtain a Fire Safety Certificate to ensure that their fire safety design meets the minimum standards for fire safety.

Under the Building Control Regulations, Chartered Engineers may act as competent persons for the purpose of certifying compliance with the Building Regulations (other competent persons are Building Surveyors and Registered Architects).

The Child and Family Agency has reported that providers are experiencing difficulties in finding competent persons to complete fire safety risk assessments and provide fire safety advice. Engineers Ireland maintains a register of Chartered Engineers and it is available here to view. (Note Is Chartered filter on the drop-down menu). These members can inspect, audit and issue fire safety reports in relation to any premises in use as a pre-school service.