Fire Marshal FAQs

Expand/Contract Questions and Answers
Fort Bend County utilizes the 2018 International Fire Code and was adopted October 1, 2019.
Allcommercial structures in the unincorporated areas of Fort Bend County.

Information concerning the various types of inspections performed by the Fire Marshal’s Office, including pre-inspection checklist, can be found on our Construction Permits page.

We encourage you to review the materials to ensure that you are ready for your inspection, prior to scheduling. To schedule an inspection, please call 281-238-1500, M - F;  8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

Yes. We respond to requests for “walk-throughs” at businesses and requests for Home Safety Inspections. We also respond to complaints at locations with known or suspected fire hazards.

Unincorporated Fort Bend County utilizes the Fire Code (adopted October 1, 2019), 2018 International Fire CodeLocal Government Code 233 and Local Government Code 352.

Visit our Day Care Facilities page for more information.
Visit our Foster Homes page for more information.
Visit our Foster Homes page for more information.
Visit our Group Homes page for more information.
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.
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.).

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.

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.

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.

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.

A new owner of an occupancy does require an inspection. There is a $125.00 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.

More information can be found on our Shell Buildings/Tenant Improvements page.

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.

More information can be found on our Construction Permit page.

No. A Certificate of Compliance is required to open to the general public.

More information can be found on our Shell Buildings/Tenant Improvements page.

Currently we do not offer this, but please contact our office to speak to a Supervisor or Lieutenant for other options.

Fort Bend County Fire Code, 2018 International Fire Code (as of October 1, 2019), and NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.

Effective August 1, 2014, under the new permit system, each building will have its own separate fire alarm permit number.

Please visit the Construction Permits page for fee schedule and additional information.

The Fire Alarm Permit and Plan Review Procedures must be followed to ensure a complete plan review.  Submit the entire project on printed paper plans, 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 must be of legible size and clarity.  Preferred size is 24” x 36”.  All fire alarm plans shall be submitted along with specs and battery calculations.  All symbols used shall be in compliance with NFPA 170 Standard for Fire Safety and Emergency Symbols.  Plans shall reference the code/standard to which they are designed under.
Yes. All required fire alarm systems shall be monitored by an approved supervising station in accordance with NFPA 72.

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.

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.

This question usually requires you to speak to a licensed fire alarm company. If there is any work performed on the fire alarm panel or its devices, then a permit is required.

No. Fort Bend County Fire Marshal’s Office requires smoke bombs for testing duct detectors and artificial smoke for smoke detectors.
Go to the Fire Marshal Open Records Request page, complete and submit the form our office.
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.
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.

Fill out a request online or visit our office.

It could take up to ten or more days depending on the ruling from the county attorney’s office.
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.

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 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.

Please contact our office at 281-238-1500.
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.
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.
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.
View the unincorporated map. If you reside within an incorporated area, contact the municipality for specific restrictions or laws.
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.
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.