Starting my own business

When to Schedule a Fire Inspection for Your Building

by Martin Williamson

If you own a commercial building, it will probably need to go through an annual fire inspection as required by law. However, there may be times when it's good to actually schedule such an inspection rather than wait for the city fire inspector to make his or her own appointment. Note when you might schedule an additional fire inspection and how this can help ensure the safety of your property and personnel.

When changing the use of the building

If you have an office building and are now going to open a storefront, either instead of or in addition to the office, you want to ensure that the building is safe for the retail part of your business. New foot traffic patterns, a change in how the interior is laid out, and a change in the furniture and other items you have in the interior of the building can all affect fire safety. Having an inspection done, even if not required because of your changed layout or zoning codes, can ensure the property is safe.

Other fires in the area

If your building was built at the same time as another nearby building that has suffered a fire, you may not want to wait for your annual inspection to see if your building is safe. It can be helpful to try to find out the cause of the other building fire and then schedule an inspection for those causes in particular; as an example, if the other building suffered an electrical fire, your building may have the same type and age of wires and could be at risk for the same fire. Keep in mind that many businesses never recover from a fire, as customers may hesitate to visit a building they think is at risk and employees may also move to other jobs while a business relocates or rebuilds, so have an inspection to ensure your building is safe.


A fire inspection can tell you areas to improve for fire safety and this may increase your building's resale value, if you're thinking of putting it on the market. A new buyer may consider the building's location and appearance, but being able to advertise that you've upgraded the sprinklers and fire suppression system, have installed new fire doors, and have made other such changes can also make the building very appealing. This can be especially important for production facilities that are at a higher risk of fire due to welding and smelting processes, chemical and gas storage, and the like.