How Much Does Fire Safety Inspection Really Cost You?
In 2017, fires were the cause of an estimated 23 billion dollars in property damage. Damage not caused by wildfires falls to 10 billion, but with a price tag that large, the difference hardly matters. Fires can be devastating, causing a huge amount of damage to property as well as a lot of harm to people. This is no secret. While fires aren’t uncommon, we still never expect them to happen where we work or live. But as an owner of a business, you need to be prepared not only for a fire but for your fire inspections.
Perhaps it may seem like you’re throwing money out the window. Especially if you’re paying for a fire inspection when your business has never had a fire. Keep this in mind: you’re saving yourself money by keeping your building and employees safe.
So let’s take a look at the real costs of getting your annual fire inspection done. As well as the costs of avoiding the problems that will occur without a fire inspection.
How Often Do We See Fire Inspectors?
The most typical fire inspections are required to be done annually, although some business will require more frequent inspections. Annual inspections typically look at fire extinguishers, emergency lights, signs, fire alarm systems, and sprinkler systems.
Some sprinkler systems require quarterly visual inspections. But there are different annual and quarterly functionality tests that can be performed as well. While the costs of these inspections can differ from place to place, it mostly depends on the size of the facility and the amount of equipment and devices to be inspected.
The Cost of Fire and Life Safety Inspections
A small building with 50 devices to inspect might cost somewhere between $500-$1000 each year to inspect. Such devices include exit door signs, fire alarms, sprinklers, and extinguishers. A larger building with a few hundred devices might cost several thousand dollars.
Again, when you’ve never had a problem, a few thousand dollars feels like a lot of money to have a fire inspector come by to tell you that you have no problems and your building is up to code. But it’s necessary.
Cost of Fire Code Fines
If your inspector does find a problem with your building, you might get hit with a fire code violation, which can also come with a fine if it is not fixed within the proper amount of time. Fines will vary in size depending on the severity of the violation, the number of violations, and how long it takes to be fixed.
On the conservative end of the scale, violations can be $20 each, but on the high end, it could be as much as ten times that amount. $200 may not seem as big as $10 billion did, but when you’re thinking about multiplying that by your 50-500 devices, the costs can really add up.
If you had 500 $20 violations, you would be paying $10,000. If you had 500 $200 violations, that number is going to jump to a whopping $100,000. If you think you can’t afford to stay up to date, hope you can afford those violation expenses.
In most cases, your building will not be able to get insurance without a fire inspection. While it might be impossible to calculate how much money your business is losing by not operating, we definitely know that you’ll be in the red.
Fire Restoration Costs
A building that has had serious fire damage is not always unsalvagable. There are measures that can be taken to repair fire-damaged buildings, but that cost is not going to be cheap.
Fire clean-up can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to almost $100,000 depending on the size of the facility that has been damaged. While insurance can help cover these costs, if you didn’t get a fire inspection, you’re not going to have that insurance to fall back on.
Fire and smoke restoration costs an estimated $4.70 per square foot. A typical office in an office building is between 150-250 square feet. So let’s do that math. That’s between $705 and $1,175 per office.
If your building has 75 employees, that’s between $52,875 and $88,125 for fire and smoke restoration just for the offices. That’s before your bathrooms, hallways, storage areas, and everything else.
The Price Tag of Fire Safety Inspections
So we’ve discussed how much your fire inspection can cost. We know that sometimes it’s going to be expensive. A few thousand dollars for those larger facilities is something that needs to be considered within the budget, and it’s going to affect how your business does business.
If your building burns to the ground, this will (obviously) affect the price tremendously. If you had to think about how your company could afford a $4,000 dollar fire inspection, you’re really going to be scratching your heads thinking about how you’ll come up with $100,000 or even more.
While we can put a price tag on inspections and restoration labor, one thing that we can’t put a price on is the lives and safety of our employees.
Knowing that you’re providing a safe place to work for your employees leaves you with a peace of mind. Doing so means that they can provide for their families and lead happy and fulfilling lives. And this is the only thing we really need to keep in mind when it comes to fire inspections. You definitely can’t put a price on that.