Stages shall be constructed of materials as required for floors for the type of construction of the building in which such stages are located.
Exception: Stages need not be constructed of the same materials as required for the type of construction provided the construction complies with one of the following:
- Stages of Type IIB or IV construction with a nominal 2-inch (51 mm) wood deck, provided that the stage is separated from other areas in accordance with Section 410.3.4.
- In buildings of Type IIA, IIIA and VA construction, a fire-resistance-rated floor is not required, provided the space below the stage is equipped with an automatic sprinkler system or fire-extinguishing system in accordance with Section 903 or 904.
- In all types of construction, the finished floor shall be constructed of wood or approved noncombustible materials. Openings through stage floors shall be equipped with tight-fitting, solid wood trap doors with approved safety locks.
Stage areas shall be measured to include the entire performance area and adjacent backstage and support areas not separated from the performance area by fire-resistance-rated construction. Stage height shall be measured from the lowest point on the stage floor to the highest point of the roof or floor deck above the stage.
Beams designed only for the attachment of portable or fixed theater equipment, gridirons, galleries and catwalks shall be constructed of approved materials consistent with the requirements for the type of construction of the building; and a fire-resistance rating shall not be required. These areas shall not be considered to be floors, stories, mezzanines or levels in applying this code.
Exception: Floors of fly galleries and catwalks shall be constructed of any approved material.
Where protection of openings is required, exterior exit doors shall be protected with fire door assemblies that comply with Section 716. Exterior openings that are located on the stage for means of egress or loading and unloading purposes, and that are likely to be open during occupancy of the theater, shall be constructed with vestibules to prevent air drafts into the auditorium.
Where a proscenium wall is required to have a fire-resistance rating, the stage opening shall be provided with a fire curtain complying with NFPA 80, horizontal sliding doors complying with Section 716.5.2 having a fire protection rating of at least 1 hour, or an approved water curtain complying with Section 903.3.1.1 or, in facilities not utilizing the provisions of smoke-protected assembly seating in accordance with Section 1029.6.2, a smoke control system complying with Section 909 or natural ventilation designed to maintain the smoke level not less than 6 feet (1829 mm) above the floor of the means of egress.
Combustible materials used in sets and scenery shall meet the fire propagation performance criteria of Test Method 1 or Test Method 2, as appropriate, of NFPA 701, in accordance with Section 806 and the International Fire Code. Foam plastics and materials containing foam plastics shall comply with Section 2603 and the International Fire Code.
Two or more vents constructed to open automatically by approved heat-activated devices and with an aggregate clear opening area of not less than 5 percent of the area of the stage shall be located near the center and above the highest part of the stage area. Supplemental means shall be provided for manual operation of the ventilator. Curbs shall be provided as required for skylights in Section 2610.2. Vents shall be labeled.
Permanent platforms shall be constructed of materials as required for the type of construction of the building in which the permanent platform is located. Permanent platforms are permitted to be constructed of fire-retardant-treated wood for Types I, II and IV construction where the platforms are not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the main floor, and not more than one-third of the room floor area and not more than 3,000 square feet (279 m2) in area. Where the space beneath the permanent platform is used for storage or any purpose other than equipment, wiring or plumbing, the floor assembly shall be not less than 1-hour fire-resistance-rated construction. Where the space beneath the permanent platform is used only for equipment, wiring or plumbing, the underside of the permanent platform need not be protected.
The stage shall be separated from dressing rooms, scene docks, property rooms, workshops, storerooms and compartments appurtenant to the stage and other parts of the building by fire barriers constructed in accordance with Section 707 or horizontal assemblies constructed in accordance with Section 711, or both. The fire-resistance rating shall be not less than 2 hours for stage heights greater than 50 feet (15 240 mm) and not less than 1 hour for stage heights of 50 feet (15 240 mm) or less.
Dressing rooms, scene docks, property rooms, workshops, storerooms and compartments appurtenant to the stage shall be separated from each other by not less than 1-hour fire barriers constructed in accordance with Section 707 or horizontal assemblies constructed in accordance with Section 711, or both.
Except as modified or as provided for in this section, the provisions of Chapter 10 shall apply.
The path of egress travel within and from technical support areas shall be not less than 22 inches (559 mm).
Stages shall be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1. Sprinklers shall be installed under the roof and gridiron and under all catwalks and galleries over the stage. Sprinklers shall be installed in dressing rooms, performer lounges, shops and storerooms accessory to such stages.
- Sprinklers are not required under stage areas less than 4 feet (1219 mm) in clear height that are utilized exclusively for storage of tables and chairs, provided the concealed space is separated from the adjacent spaces by Type X gypsum board not less than 5/8-inch (15.9 mm) in thickness.
- Sprinklers are not required for stages 1,000 square feet (93 m2) or less in area and 50 feet (15 240 mm) or less in height where curtains, scenery or other combustible hangings are not retractable vertically. Combustible hangings shall be limited to a single main curtain, borders, legs and a single backdrop.
- Sprinklers are not required within portable orchestra enclosures on stages.