CCPIA Online Courses - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association


The goal of this course is to teach students how to inspect for life safety in commercial buildings, with a focus on assessing the means of egress and its components, as well as fire protection systems.


Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • apply the ComSOP inspection procedure for life safety related elements;
  • define and explain the concepts of life safety in commercial and residential buildings;
  • interpret relevant codes and regulations related to life safety;
  • describe the difference between active and passive fire protection elements;
  • identify, inspect, and report on defects for exterior life safety elements, including fire access roads, fire hydrants, building identification, and sprinkler components;
  • define the parts of a means of egress system and identify them in commercial buildings;
  • inspect and report on defects for means of egress components, including exit doors, fire doors, stairways, corridors, aisles, fire resistive-assemblies, exit signs and
  • emergency lighting;
  • inspect and report on defects for fire extinguishers;
  • describe the different types of automatic sprinkler systems;
  • inspect and report on defects for automatic sprinkler systems and their components, including distribution, sprinkler heads, main valves, pumps, and fire department connections.
  • inspect and report on defects for fire suppression systems;
  • inspect and report on defects for fire alarms;
  • assess general storage and the storage of flammable and combustible materials; and
  • communicate effectively with property owners, tenants, and other stakeholders regarding life safety concerns and the importance of maintaining safe and compliant properties.


Life Safety Concepts

This course will cover key principles impacting life safety in commercial buildings, as well as some historical incidents that have shaped safety regulations. It will also review the main differences for home inspectors to consider when entering the commercial property inspection field, the most commonly adopted codes and standards by AHJs, and how inspectors can conduct thorough life safety inspections using Section 6.5.12 Life Safety of the International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial Properties (ComSOP).

Building Systems and Components

Through a combination of theoretical and practical instruction, students will learn about inspecting and reporting on the systems and components under life safety inspections, as well as the building’s overall design, construction, and maintenance.

Exterior Life Safety

The student will learn how to assess the life safety elements at the building’s exterior to ensure fire and emergency personnel can access the property safely and efficiently. During this approach, the fire access road clearances and potential hazards are reviewed, as well as building identification and fire hydrant concerns.

Means of Egress

The means of egress system is critical for safe evacuation of building occupants during an emergency. In this section, students will learn about the zonal approach to the system and apply this to identifying the egress path in buildings. Next, instruction is provided on inspecting the relevant components along the path, including exit doors, fire doors, stairways, corridors, aisles, fire walls, fire barriers, fire partitions, exit signs, and emergency lighting. The section is structured to include specific processes for identifying and reporting common defects based on the scope of an inspection.

Active Fire Protection

The active fire protection section reviews the active fire protection elements within the scope of an inspection, including fire extinguishers, automatic sprinkler systems, fire suppression systems, and fire alarm systems. It reviews the different types for each and provides instructions for reporting. The course also exceeds the ComSOP and provides background information for advanced sprinkler system components (pumps and generators) and other items that are usually visible, like fire department connections and standpipes, to help inspectors feel comfortable consulting with clients.

Building Storage

Building storage is categorized into two types: general storage and storage of flammable and combustible materials. The last section of the course will tie in how general storage applies to inspecting all passive and active fire protection elements throughout the course. It will also discuss identifying combustible and flammable storage and their special inspection considerations.


  • Estimated Hours: 9 hours
  • Format: On-demand, self-paced with readings, images, and videos
  • Word Count: 25,458
  • Length of Video(s): 45 minutes
  • Quiz Questions: 62
  • Final Exam Questions: 55
  • Included Materials: Study Guide, inspection checklists, supplemental readings, and downloadable Certificate of Completion
  • Authors: Rob Claus and Maggie Aey