Fire officials start safety tour of N.S. buildings
Nova Scotia fire inspectors will visit every multi-unit building in the province in an effort to enhance public safety.
Rick Fraser, Cape Breton Regional Municipality's manager of building services, said inspectors have already started in Cape Breton.
"Hotels, motels, apartment buildings over three rental units, also boarding rooms and B&Bs will all be inspected," he said. "Our goal and concern is to protect the lives of individuals that use these properties."Inspectors will focus on fire exits, smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinkler systems in larger buildings. They will also check that both tenants and landlords have a fire safety plan.
A list of any shortcomings will be delivered to the owner, along with a timeline within which they must have the repairs completed.
Too little notice
Priscilla Lotherington of the Property Investment Owners Association of Nova Scotia questioned the timeline.
"By the time you hire a contractor and get a building permit and then maybe an engineer drawing, the 30-day timeline the city has given you has run out," she said.
She said owners need more information on fire safety codes and more time to fix any problems. She said some owners were struggling already with rising oil bills, electricity, taxes and water costs.
"With all those added costs, most landlords are not even making money. There's no room to put the rents up," Lotherington said.
"If they get hit with a $10,000 improvement on their property that they would have to deal with in a month or two, a lot of them won't make it."
Fraser said safety would have to trump finances. "We will be working with the landlords and the owners of these properties, but I have to point out we are talking about fire safety issues here," he said.
It will take inspectors up to five years to complete the work.