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Fire Safety Inspections for Condo Sales in Vermont. What you need to know.

Vermont Fire Safety Inspections

Selling your Condo in Vermont?  What to expect from the fire inspection process: 

When it comes to buying a condo in Vermont or selling a condo, townhome or multi-family home in this state, ensuring the safety of the property is a crucial step in the process. The fire safety inspection is a key component that not only safeguards the new occupants but also aligns with the state's commitment to maintaining secure living environments. Let's delve into the essential aspects of the fire safety inspection process in Vermont.

Understanding the Importance of Fire Safety Inspections:

Before a condo or townhome changes hands, Vermont requires a thorough assessment of its fire safety measures. This inspection aims to identify potential hazards, ensuring that the property complies with the state's safety regulations. For single family homes, a fairly simple certification is required to be filled out by the seller before closing.  This verifies that the proper smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in place.  However, for condos and other multi-family dwelling properties, an actual inspection from the Vermont Department of Fire Safety and/or a Fire Marshal is required to transfer title.

Initiating the Inspection Process:

The fire safety inspection process typically starts with the property owner or seller contacting the Vermont Dept. of Fire Safety to schedule an inspection. It's advisable to reach out well in advance of the sale to allow sufficient time for availability of the inspectors as well as for any necessary adjustments or corrections and re-inspections needed. Here's the form you need to schedule your inspection

Some municipalities may require you to create an account first before scheduling your inspection with the fire marshal.  Burlington, for example, does this - click here to see where you create that account for a property in Burlington

Components of the Inspection:

During the inspection, the fire safety professional will assess various aspects of the property, including:

1. Smoke and CO Detectors: Ensuring the proper installation and functionality of smoke alarms and fire detection systems is a top priority.  These are generally required on each level of the home as well as around sleeping areas.  Check out the VT Dept of Smoke Alarm Code Sheet and the CO Detector Code Sheet for further info.

2. Emergency Egress: The inspector will evaluate the accessibility and condition of escape routes and exits to guarantee swift evacuation in case of an emergency - in Vermont this requires having two ways to exit a room: check out the VT Codesheet for Egress.

3. GFCI Outlets:  These are ground-fault circuit-interrupter outlets and breakers that are required in areas that are likely to have water, commonly kitchens and bathrooms.  These types of outlets basically create a secondary power breaker at the outlet and can reduce the risk of fire and shock.  A Fire Marshal will check applicable areas of the condo to ensure that these outlets are in place and will test them for functionality.  

4. Fire Extinguishers:  2.5 pound dry chemical capacity fire extinguishers are required in condos and must be mounted in an easy-to-see place and may be required in the kitchen as well.  The extinguisher will need to be properly charged and not expired, based on the pressure gauge and the documentation tags on the extinguisher itself.

5. Dryer Vents: The inspector will check to see if the dryer vents have been professionally cleaned recently and will require documentation.

6. Combustion Heating Systems:  Any heating system or fireplace that uses combustion of fuel or gas will need to be tested and certified and will need a tag or sticker indicating the combustion test results and the date of the test.

7. Handrails:  The Fire Marshal will check to ensure that all exterior and interior handrails exist where required by code.  The handrails will then be checked to make sure that they meet the minimum safety requirements.  Check out the VT Handrail Codesheet

If the inspection reveals any concerns, the property owner must address them promptly. Once all necessary adjustments are made, the inspector will provide a certification confirming compliance with Vermont's fire safety regulations. This certification is a vital document during the real estate transaction.



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