StudyCorgi Politics & Government

Fire Code Violations: Cost-Benefit Analysis

Fire codes are specific legal acts determining the provisions and requirements necessary for guaranteeing the safety of a particular area and its citizens. They are developed and adopted by each state on a separate basis with regard to special safety or building needs. Furthermore, cities across the states are free to modify the general codes in order to meet their specific needs (International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Fire Protection Association, & Jenaway, 2012). Their provisions should be kept in mind during the construction and exploitation of edifices. Otherwise, violations might lead to fines or, what is even worse, jeopardize the security of society because of fires leading to injuries and deaths.

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Compliance with the provisions of the fire code is often associated with both costs and benefits. However, the central matter of concern is the fact that what at first seems a cost is likely to become a benefit in a longer run. For example, most businesses complaint that they should invest in employing the designers, who are familiar with the provisions of the local fire codes, or consultants to help them during constructing commercial edifices (International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Fire Protection Association, & Jenaway, 2012).

Moreover, they are dissatisfied with the necessity to launch fire alarms, purchase only allowed wires or constructing buildings corresponding with the specific requirements such as the width of walls or the height of floors. Another source of costs is spending on fixing the issues, which were ignored during the construction process and lifting the violations of the fire codes. Finally, fire code enforcement procedures are also related to costs because the implementation of training and control measures is required (Suurmond, 2008). It is imperative to note that the costs related to fire code enforcement are the one-off investments not to mention inspections carried out on a timely basis and fixing any issues detected during such checks (International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Fire Protection Association, & Jenaway, 2012).

Costs mentioned above are always outweighed by the benefits of fire code enforcement. The specificity of speculating on the benefits is the fact that they are viewed as the costs of fires caused by fire code violations (Ramachandran, 2002).

In most cases, commercial fires lead to delay in the schedules, i.e. failing to complete the planned tasks leading to decreased customer satisfaction and turnover rates, damages both physical (of constructions, equipment, and manufactured goods) and medical (injuries of employees and psychological trauma), costs related to investigation and renewing the working process as wells as cost pertaining to the mitigation of fire code violation (Gavious, Mizrahi, Shani, & Minchuk, 2009; Ramachandran, 2002). To sum up, investing in fire code enforcement is more economically beneficial because it entails lower level of spending on the issues of fire safety, better image of a company or organization, and lower risks of going bankrupt as the result of an unpredictable fire.

Violation of the fire codes provisions is one of the primary causes of commercial fires. In 2013, the number of fires across the United States of America exceeded 100,000 incidents. Around 4 percent of them were marked as commercial fires (U.S. Fire Administration, 2013). The instances of commercial fires in Albany are rare. However, those that are known about are often incidental and caused by electric problems or ignoring fire safety (Albany fire protection, n.d.; Carleo-Evangelist, 2016). It means that further enforcement of the fire code and compliance with its provisions might be helpful for avoiding similar accidents in the future.


Albany fire protection. (n.d.). Web.

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Carleo-Evangelist, J. (2016). Albany fire crews battle four blazes over 17 hours. Web.

Gavious, A., Mizrahi, S., Shani, Y., & Minchuk, Y. (2009). The costs of industrial accidents for the organization: Developing methods and tools for evaluation and cost–benefit analysis of investment in safety. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 22(4), 434-438.

International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Fire Protection Association, & Jenaway, W. (2012). Fire inspector: Principles and practice. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Ramachandran, G. (2002). The economics of fire protection. New York, NY: Routledge.

Suurmond, G. (2008). Enforcing fire safety in catering industry: An economic analysis. Leiden, Netherlands: Leiden University Press.

U.S. Fire Administration. (2013). Fire in the United States, 2004-2013. Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Fire Code Violations: Cost-Benefit Analysis." December 1, 2020.


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