What type of signage is required for each building?
The sign must display the individual number/letter of the building and the range of unit numbers within the respective building. It must be easily visible from the vehicular driving areas on the project. There is no required sign size but the letters and/or numbers must be at least four inches high and in a contrasting color compared to the building. The signs should be of weather-resistive material and placed at either the ends or corners of the buildings, as long as they are visible from driving areas. A black background with white, light reflective letters is easily seen in low-light conditions. If the buildings already have signage noting numbers/letters of the building with the unit numbers and meet the criteria above, they do not need to be replaced.
How do I schedule a final inspection?
The General Contractor or Superintendent of the project must call the Fire Marshal’s Office, 281-238-1500 to schedule all inspections (Construction, Alarm, Sprinkler, UG, ETC.).
Who needs to be present at the final inspection?
All trades supervisors need to be present to allow for questions or concerns from the inspector. If there is a sprinkler and alarm final, the Responsible Managing Employee must be present at the final to conduct the correct state paperwork at the finalization of the project.
Responsible Managing Employee-Dwelling (RME-D)
An RME-D licensee is permitted to plan, install, maintain, service, and certify all parts of a one- or two-family dwelling fire sprinkler system. (This licensee must pass the NICET Water-Based, formerly Automatic Sprinkler, Systems Layout Level II test, and the Sprinkler Statute & Rules TFM08 test.)
Responsible Managing Employee-Underground (RME-U)
An RME-U licensee is permitted to install, maintain, service, and certify all underground water supply piping for any sprinkler system. Planning must be done by another type qualified firm. (This licensee must pass the Sprinkler Underground TFM10 test and the Sprinkler Statute & RulesTFM08 test.)
Responsible Managing Employee-General Inspector (RME-I)
An RME-I licensee is permitted to perform the inspection, test and maintenance (ITM) service for a fire sprinkler system. (This licensee must pass the NICET Sprinkler Inspection & Test Level II test and the Sprinkler Statute & Rules TFM08 test.)
Responsible Managing Employee - General (RME-G)
A RME-G is permitted to conduct the planning, sales, installation, maintenance, or servicing of any fire protection sprinkler system or any part of such a system.
What does the Fire Marshal look for during an inspection?
Underground Hydro and Flush
The inspector will be looking at the fire line, the connections, thrust blocks, and valves. The surface under the fire line shall be compliant with NFPA 13 installation requirements. The fire line shall hold pressure of 200 psi for a minimum of two hours. After testing, the line shall be flushed via a drain the same diameter as the fire line. The flush will run until all debris is washed out of the fire line. A Texas State licensed RME-U or RME-G shall be present for the testing. At the end of the test, the RME shall furnish all state paperwork to the inspector.
Above ground Hydro and Flush
The inspector will look at the fire sprinkler piping above the ceiling to ensure the correct piping and correct size piping was used. The inspector will look at the fire sprinkler heads to ensure adequate coverage, and to ensure that the correct heads were installed. The inspector will ensure that the sprinkler system is supported by hangers and that they are at the correct distances. The inspector will ensure that nothing is secured to the fire sprinkler hangers and/or that nothing is resting on the sprinkler branch lines and/or sprinkler heads. The system shall hold pressure of 200 psi for a minimum of two hours. After testing, the above ground system shall be flushed. This will wash out the line, as well as reduce the gauge to zero. A Texas State licensed RME-I or RME-G shall be present for the testing. At the end of the test, the RME shall furnish all state paperwork to the inspector.
Fire Sprinkler System Final
The inspector will perform a final check on sprinkler head placement and sprinkler head type. The inspector will witness a test of the tamper switches. The tamper switches shall send a supervisor signal to the fire alarm control panel. The inspector will witness a test of the water flow. The water flow shall activate the fire alarm system water motor gong within 90 seconds of activation. The fire alarm monitoring center shall report receiving tamper supervisory signals and a water flow alarm signal. A Texas State licensed RME-G shall be present for the final inspection. At the end of the test, the RME-G shall tag the system and furnish all state paperwork to the inspector.
Fire Alarm System Final
The inspector will ensure that the system is installed as planned. All notification and initiation devices will be confirmed by comparing the installation with the plans. The system will be tested under normal power, as well as on battery backup. If the system receives emergency power from a generator, the system shall be tested on normal power, battery power, and on generator power. A Texas State licensed fire alarm contractor shall be present on site for the testing. At the end of the test, the contractor shall tag the system and furnish all state paperwork to the inspector.
Commercial Hood System Final
The inspector will verify that the hood system installed matches the approved plans. The ductwork for the hood system will be inspected. The duct shall be welded and wrapped. The duct shall not pass through a fire rated wall. The system shall be tested by manual pull station and by fusible link. System activation shall terminate electrical power and gas flow. System activation shall also terminate fresh air supply. A Texas State licensed commercial hood system contractor shall be present for the final inspection and testing. At the end of the test, the contractor shall tag the system and furnish all state paperwork to the inspector.
Can I apply for a final inspection if I am not ready?
If you are not ready for the final or initial fire inspection, you may request a site inspection. This type of inspection will give you an overview of items that may need to be corrected prior to initial or final inspection.
These are only scheduled if the inspector is not already scheduled for a primary inspection.
Can I have an inspection expedited?
Currently the inspections are schedule for the next available time by calling the administrative staff at 281-238-1500.
If there is a scheduling conflict or issues with the schedule, you can speak with the Lieutenant over Inspections.
Do I need a new inspection if I am a new owner in an existing building or I have had a name changed?
A new owner of an occupancy does require an inspection. There is a $25.00 Certificate of Compliance fee for a new owner inspection. During a new owner inspection, the inspector will verify that the occupancy is in compliance with all fire and life safety standards.
If the occupancy is only changing names, no new inspection is needed. However, if the name change involves a change in ownership and/or a change in occupancy type, an inspection will be required. In the event of only a name change, the Fort Bend County Fire Marshal’s Office shall be notified for maintenance of records.
Is a fire alarm or fire suppression company required to have plans reviewed and permitted?
Yes. All plans are required to be submitted (even on existing facilities) and appropriate permits are required. You will need to contact our office and submit plans to the Fire Marshal’s Office, M - F; 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
The Fire Alarm Permit and Plan Review Procedures must be followed to ensure a complete plan review. To insure the fastest possible review and permitting, submit the entire project on a Compact Disk (PDF), signed by a Texas Fire Alarm Planning Superintendent (APS) registered with the submitting company, or a Professional Engineer registered in Texas whose major discipline is Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) and sealed for final review. Paper plan submittals are received, in 24” x 36” only, however may require extended review and approval time over plans received on CD.
Is our fire alarm system required to be monitored?
Yes. All required fire alarm systems shall be monitored by an approved supervising station in accordance with NFPA 72.
What are the fire alarm requirements for a nightclub or an assembly?
For new construction, a fire alarm is required with the occupant load of 100-300 or more. Please check the International Fire Code for further information.
When should a fire alarm system be brought up to the current standard and building codes?
The repair, restoration, reconstruction, improvement, or remodeling of a public building, a commercial establishment, or a multifamily residential dwelling consisting of four or more units for which the cost exceeds 50% of the building’s value according to the certified tax appraisal roll for the county for the year preceding the year in which the work was begun; or, a change in occupancy classification involving a change in the purpose or level of activity in a building, including the renovation of a warehouse into a loft apartment. For purposes of determining if an improvement is a Substantial Improvement, the applicant for a permit must submit data reflecting cost of the improvement, restoration, reconstruction, improvement or remodeling. Costs shall include the value of all labor and materials. A permit is required prior to the start of any Substantial Improvement.
Is it necessary for us to bring the fire alarm system up to current code if we are just replacing the fire alarm control panel?
This question usually requires you to speak to a licensed fire alarm company and/or our office. If the existing fire alarm devices work with the new control panel, this is called “like for like” and a permit isn’t required. If the existing fire alarm devices does not work with the new control panel, a plan submittal of all new devices and permit are required.
Can we use magnets to test smoke detectors?
No. Fort Bend County Fire Marshal’s Office requires smoke bombs for testing duct detectors and artificial smoke for smoke detectors.
How do I obtain records related to a fire in unincorporated Fort Bend County?
How do I obtain a copy of my Certificate of Compliance?
The Certificate of Compliance will be mailed to the address of the occupancy, or the address confirmed with the contractor at the end of the project. If no mailing address is available, the Certificate of Compliance may be picked up in person at our office.
Is there a time frame for scheduling an inspection?
A minimum of 24 hour notice is required when scheduling an inspection. You can schedule an inspection by contacting the office at 281-238-1500. The scheduled inspection could be scheduled according to the availability of the inspector for the project. If the initial inspector is not available within five days from the request, another inspector could be assigned.
How do I obtain a copy of a fire report or copy of inspection paperwork?
How do I find out how to become an Investigator and Fire Inspector?
Visit the TCFP website to view the curriculum and find out where classes are offered. To view a list of all open county positions, please visit the employment page on the Fort Bend County main website.
Does my child need the Youth Firesetter and Intervention Program?
While curiosity about fire is a common issue with almost all human beings (usually in the form of campfires, candles, fireplaces, etc.), the use of fire by children is a very dangerous behavior. A tragic situation can be created the first time a child misuses fire. Adults must instill in children the idea that matches and lighters are tools, not toys. The Fort Bend County Youth Fire Setter and Intervention program is available at no-cost to the citizens of Fort Bend County. Youth (between the ages of three and seventeen years of age) can participate in the program. The goal is to educate the child in fire safety and thereby cease the risky behavior. If you would like more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 281-238-1500.
A one-n-one class time is arranged for the child and at least one parent or guardian/caretaker. A family fire risk assessment is conducted to assist in determining the motivation behind the firesetting and an intervention strategy. Education is appropriate for all kids involved in firesetting behavior and a lesson in fire safety and survival skills will be conducted. If it is determined further counseling is necessary, a referral may be recommended. The program may also be able to assist with additional resources, if identified. All information is confidential.
How do I find out who the investigator of an arson case is?
Please contact our office at 281-238-1500.
If there are citizens or vendors selling fireworks that are violating the regulations, who should we contact?
Citizens should report all complaints regarding the illegal use of fireworks directly to the Fort Bend County Dispatch (non-emergency line) at 281-341-4665. There are limited patrol sheriffs and fire marshals on duty. If the citizen believes that, there may be a fire and/or medical emergency related to the use of fireworks, he/she should dial 9-1-1 and request the local Fire Department.
You can also contact the Fire Marshal’s Office at 281-238-1500 if there are any questions or concerns during business hours, 8am to 5pm. Afterhours please contact Fort Bend County Dispatch’s Non-Emergency Number.
Can there be a ban on fireworks for the county?
There can be a ban on aerial fireworks (skyrockets with sticks and missiles with fins.) to protect residents from potential fires that could result from people setting off these two types of aerial fireworks in dry-weather or drought conditions. The county has the authority under state law to ban two types of fireworks under two conditions: If the Texas Forest Service's Keetch-Byram Drought Index is above 500, which means the area is experiencing drought conditions; or the area has experienced a freeze, and grass and wooded areas are dead could easily burn if ignited.
How do I dispose of used and left over fireworks?
All residue and projectiles have the potential to reignite, after shooting them, soak fireworks in water for 30 minutes before putting them in the trash.
I do not know if my house falls in the unincorporated area, how do I find out if I can shoot off fireworks?
View the unincorporated map. If you reside within an incorporated area, contact the municipality for specific restrictions or laws.
Can a Home Owners Association (HOA) restrict the use of fireworks in the unincorporated areas?
There can be deed restrictions in place, it is the responsibility for the HOA to enforce and inform the residence of the restrictions. Please contact your local HOA for the restrictions and enforcement.
Is it illegal to shoot off fireworks in Fort Bend County?
According to Texas law, fireworks are approved for use in unincorporated Fort Bend County except: within 600 feet of any church, hospital, asylum, licensed child-care center, or public or private school or college; within 100 feet of a place where flammable liquids or flammable compressed gasses are stored and dispensed; within 100 feet of a place where fireworks are stored or sold; in, at or from a motor vehicle; and inside any building.