Whether you run a real estate construction company or own a piece of property, it’s important to understand the difference between fire codes vs. building codes.
Many people assume that fire codes are entirely encompassed in building codes or that these codes are used interchangeably, but there are key differences to be aware of.
Not only are these codes separate but they require different professional inspections to ensure compliance.
These codes are not regulated by the federal government. Instead, you will need to look at Arizona State codes as well as any local codes that apply.
Read on to learn the difference between fire codes vs. building codes in Arizona so that you can keep your property safe and compliant.
Fire Codes vs. Building Codes: The Basics
There is some overlap between fire codes and building codes in most states, including Arizona.
As a result, real estate professionals and property owners might assume that they’ve met both when they’ve only met one or the other.
Let’s take a look at the key differences between the two.
What Are Building Codes?
Building codes are a list of regulations that establish the minimum requirements for the construction and maintenance of any building within the code’s jurisdiction. Building codes are designed to protect or limit:
- Public health
- Structural safety
- Fire safety
- Air and noise pollution
- Environmental impact
All Arizona building codes are based on model codes developed by the International Code Council, or ICC.
The ICC consists of a wide variety of relevant professionals ranging from energy and plumbing contractors to elected officials to architects and engineers.
The ICC regularly updates its model codes based on new research and technology so state and local governments can choose to make important updates.
What Are Fire Codes?
Like building code, fire code is based on model codes developed by the ICC.
While the building code does address fire-safe construction practices, the fire code goes on to regulate:
- Fire suppression equipment
- Fire safety training
- Explosion hazard safety
- Fire evacuation plans
In other words, fire code isn’t just about the prevention of fire based on safe building practices.
It’s also about quick and efficient suppression and safety in the event that a fire does occur.
Who Regulates Arizona Building Codes?
A large part of staying compliant with Arizona’s building code involves getting the right permits to construct or remodel a building.
You can get these permits through the Arizona Department of Housing as well as local legislative branches.
The Arizona Department of Housing is currently using an amended version of the 2018 International Building Code.
Who Regulates Arizona Fire Codes?
Additional permits are required to ensure compliance with the Arizona Fire Code.
You can get these permits through the Office of the State Fire Marshal as well as local legislative branches.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is currently using an amended version of the 2018 International Fire Code.
City of Phoenix Fire Code Amendments
While the state of Arizona has adopted certain minimum requirements regarding fire codes, individual cities can make additional amendments.
These amendments typically strengthen the state’s existing fire code.
The most recent Phoenix fire code amendments went into effect in 2021.
Because the ICC, state, and local governments are regularly updating these numerous regulations, it’s next to impossible for individual real estate professionals and property owners to track all of these changes.
In order to remain compliant, it is crucial that you partner with a CSA and NICET certified companies like Certizona Fire & Safety to inspect and update your buildings.
When Do You Need Fire Code Inspections?
If both building and fire code must be considered when constructing a building, are all existing buildings up to code?
The short answer is no.
Take a look at all of the circumstances that require a renewed fire code inspection to ensure compliance.
Fire safety equipment, from manual fire extinguishers to smoke detectors and sprinkler systems, can start to degrade over time.
Issues with plumbing and electrical wiring can also negatively impact your fire safety system’s ability to perform.
If your equipment originally met the minimum requirements established by the current fire code, any degradation entails that it is no longer compliant.
Annual inspections are designed to test all of this equipment so that you can repair or replace it as needed.
Failure to meet the fire code can result in serious fines and other legal issues, so these annual inspections are a must.
Any time you renovate a property, you must take fire code into consideration.
For example, if you’re adding new floors or rooms onto your building, all of those new areas need to be outfitted with the appropriate fire suppression equipment.
If you’re making changes to stairwells or other structural elements, you must ensure that your building still meets evacuation standards.
Partnering with fire protection companies throughout your renovation can help.
Careful planning will ensure that you have all the necessary permits.
A post-renovation inspection will ensure that all work is fire code-compliant.
Code Amendment Inspections
Fire codes change every few years.
You’ll have a set amount of time to acknowledge the new fire code and make relevant changes before the code goes into effect.
Once again, failure to do so can result in fines and other legal issues.
Because these code amendments are complex and numerous, it’s important to hire trusted fire safety services.
Certizona Fire & Safety stays on top of all Phoenix and Arizona code updates so that you can rely on our inspections and equipment upgrades.
Schedule Fire Code Compliance Inspections Today
Though there is overlap, there are major differences between fire codes vs. building codes.
If you own a property or construction company, it’s important that you not only know the differences but remain compliant with both.
Certizona Fire & Safety has been helping business owners, property managers, and homeowners meet Arizona fire codes for years.
Our goal is to develop a partnership that works for you.
To get started, request a quote today.
Stay compliant with a fire alarm monitoring company. Certizona Fire & Safety is here to serve you with high-quality fire protection and safety equipment services! Customer satisfaction is our top priority. Call (623) 227-2092 or request an online quote today!
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