Notice of Violation – Furniture

January 2024

You have received a Notice of Violation pertaining to lobby furniture.  What do you do?

The condo lobby is the first impression of your home seen by visitors.  Damaged, worn or missing furniture conveys the impression that a building is poorly maintained and detracts from what others will pay to reside there.  When furnishing the lobby, fire safety requirements should be considered.

The Notice of Violation pertaining to lobby furniture means this furniture is a fire risk.  Should there be a fire, the furniture may quickly catch fire or produce large amounts of smoke.  You can’t store the furniture elsewhere since this is also in contravention of fire regulations.

The safety focus on lobby furniture began after a tragic 2016 fire that claimed four lives.  The furniture was made of flammable materials and caught fire.  It hindered the ability of first responders to fight the fire and save lives.

Since this time, there has been a greater focus on furniture in common areas of buildings with more attention paid to lobbies and hallways.  The goal is to save lives in the event of a fire.

Section (2) of Division B of the Ontario Fire Code, states “Combustible materials shall not be accumulated in any part of an elevator shaft, ventilation shaft, means of egress, service room or service space, unless the location, room or space is designed for those materials.”  Section (1) of Division B of the Ontario Fire Code states “Drapes, curtains, netting, and other similar or decorative materials, including textiles and films used in buildings, shall meet the requirements of CAN/ULCS109, “Flame Tests of Flame-Resistant Fabrics and Films”, when these materials are used in any… lobby or exit…”  Manufacturers of fire rated furniture or fabrics should be able to produce a certificate or document stating this standard is met.

More vigorous enforcement of this standard began in 2018.  Each community should have a Fire Safety Plan Book in which they can store certificates documenting the safety of common area furniture and finishings.

Building lobbies are designed to be welcoming and offer a good first impression.  Large sofas and chairs with leather and dense cushions that may not be made of fire rated materials are popular.  Fire rated materials are those able to withstand a high degree of heat.  If they do catch fire, there will not be thick, black smoke that is hard to see through.  The risk of death by smoke inhalation is reduced.

Once that Notice of Violation pertaining to lobby furniture is received, act quickly to resolve the problem.  The fire department will return in a couple of weeks to ensure the violation has been corrected.  If unable to show it has been or will soon be resolved, they can and likely will assess fines for non compliance.