Is your condo a fire hazard?
Is your condo a fire hazard?
Owners of condos built in the 80’s are often at risk of a major fire, sometimes without even knowing it. In fact, most condo buildings built during this decade have only one common well for all units. This practice, which was very popular at the time, is now recognized as extremely dangerous.
A single duct for all the chimneys increases the heat in the chimney considerably… Much more than if there was only one chimney giving off heat.
In fact, the adjacent walls and floors of buildings are sometimes very close to the chimney. This can lead to pyrolysis. This occurs when a material ignites at much lower temperatures than expected, but also when the material is exposed to high heat for a long period of time.
In addition, when a duct is very hot, there is a real risk of fire spreading to combustible elements in other adjoining dwellings. Imagine the disaster for the entire building!
In fact, according to Marie-Claude Masson, spokesperson for the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec (RBQ), “firefighters have seen this happen on several occasions in the past when they have been called to fight fires in multi-story residential buildings.”
Therefore, this situation should not be taken lightly. The risks are real and the consequences could be disastrous.
So what to do?
The recommendations of the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec are clear: depending on the building in question, several solutions can be considered
- Build a specific flue for each existing chimney
- Call in an engineer who will suggest different measures (if the first option is not possible)
After inspection and based on his assessment of the situation, the engineer will determine the best solution to ensure that the duct meets the standards.
Here are the different steps you will have to go through:
First, you will need to determine with a building engineer if the ducts in the building in question are problematic. Then, on-site, the engineer will be able to analyze the situation and issue his report. If there is a problem, residents will have to choose: do they want to replace their fireplace or remove it and close the openings in the ceilings and floors?
In the event that residents want to replace their fireplaces, each person will have to choose their new appliance and the type of fuel they want. Since each type of fireplace has different safety standards that must be met, the engineer’s proposed options may change slightly along the way. Also note that residents are not required to choose the same type of fireplace and fuel. It’s up to them!
The engineer will then file the report with the municipality and have it approved. Subsequently, residents will need to learn about the possibilities and have the required work evaluated based on the alternatives. They will eventually have to apply for a permit from the city before starting work on the building.
Our turnkey service
We are well aware that this is a very large project that requires several steps, sometimes long and tedious. This can be a real headache for condominium corporations.
However, this is a stress that we can avoid thanks to the different trades that make up our team. We offer a turnkey service that includes the realization of each step of the project and the management of the various stakeholders. With a project manager assigned to your file, we take care of all the details so that the work is done quickly, safely, and in compliance with standards.
In addition, we also propose to the representatives of the condominium syndicates to go directly to the residents to explain the situation and to talk to them about the different solutions available to them.
If you have any doubts about your condo installations, or if you have any questions on the subject, talk to one of our experts here today.