Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.
A goal of this Code is to provide an environment for the occupants that is reasonably safe from fire by the following means:
- *Protection of occupants not intimate with the initial fire development
- Improvement of the survivability of occupants intimate with the initial fire development
An additional goal is to provide life safety during emergencies that can be mitigated using methods comparable to those used in case of fire.
An additional goal is to provide for reasonably safe emergency crowd movement and, where required, reasonably safe nonemergency crowd movement.
A structure shall be designed, constructed, and maintained to protect occupants who are not intimate with the initial fire development for the time needed to evacuate, relocate, or defend in place.
Structural integrity shall be maintained for the time needed to evacuate, relocate, or defend in place occupants who are not intimate with the initial fire development.
The protection methods of this Code are based on the hazards associated with fire and other events that have comparable impact on a building and its occupants.
The fire protection methods of this Code assume a single fire source.
Where a requirement of this Code conflicts with another requirement of this Code, the following shall apply:
- *Where a specific requirement contained in Chapters 11 through 43 conflicts with a general requirement contained in Chapters 1 through 4 and Chapters 6 through 10, the requirement of Chapters 11 through 43 shall govern.
- *Where a requirement contained in Chapters 1 through 4 and Chapters 6 through 10 conflicts with another requirement contained in Chapters 1 through 4 and Chapters 6 through 10, the more specific requirement shall govern.
- *Where a requirement contained in Chapters 11 through 43 conflicts with another requirement contained in Chapters 11 through 43, the more specific requirement shall govern.
The design of every building or structure intended for human occupancy shall be such that reliance for safety to life does not depend solely on any single safeguard. An additional safeguard(s) shall be provided for life safety in case any single safeguard is ineffective due to inappropriate human actions or system failure.
Every building or structure shall be provided with means of egress and other fire and life safety safeguards of the kinds, numbers, locations, and capacities appropriate to the individual building or structure, with due regard to the following:
- Character of the occupancy, including fire load
- Capabilities of the occupants
- Number of persons exposed
- Fire protection available
- Capabilities of response personnel
- Height and construction type of the building or structure
- Other factors necessary to provide occupants with a reasonable degree of safety
Two means of egress, as a minimum, shall be provided in every building or structure, section, and area where size, occupancy, and arrangement endanger occupants attempting to use a single means of egress that is blocked by fire or smoke. The two means of egress shall be arranged to minimize the possibility that both might be rendered impassable by the same emergency condition.
Where artificial illumination is needed in a building or structure, egress facilities shall be included in the lighting design.
Systems used to achieve the goals of Section 4.1 shall be effective in facilitating and enhancing situation awareness, as appropriate, by building management, other occupants and emergency responders of the functionality or state of critical building systems, the conditions that might warrant emergency response, and the appropriate nature and timing of such responses.
Every vertical opening between the floors of a building shall be suitably enclosed or protected, as necessary, to afford reasonable safety to occupants while using the means of egress and to prevent the spread of fire, smoke, or fumes through vertical openings from floor to floor before occupants have entered exits.
Whenever or wherever any device, equipment, system, condition, arrangement, level of protection, or any other feature is required for compliance with the provisions of this Code, such device, equipment, system, condition, arrangement, level of protection, or other feature shall thereafter be maintained, unless the Code exempts such maintenance.
The authority having jurisdiction shall determine whether the provisions of this Code are met.
Any requirements that are essential for the safety of building occupants and that are not specifically provided for by this Code shall be determined by the authority having jurisdiction.
Where another provision of this Code exempts a previously approved feature from a requirement, the exemption shall be permitted, even where the following conditions exist:
Unless otherwise specified in another provision of this Code, the stories in height of a building shall be determined as follows:
- The stories in height shall be counted starting with the level of exit discharge and ending with the highest occupiable story containing the occupancy considered.
- Stories below the level of exit discharge shall not be counted as stories.
- Interstitial spaces used solely for building or process systems directly related to the level above or below shall not be considered a separate story.
- A mezzanine shall not be counted as a story for the purpose of determining the allowable stories in height.
- For purposes of application of the requirements for occupancies other than assembly, health care, detention and correctional, and ambulatory health care, where a maximum one-story abovegrade parking structure, enclosed, open, or a combination thereof, of Type I or Type II (222) construction or open Type IV construction, with grade entrance, is provided under a building, the number of stories shall be permitted to be measured from the floor above such a parking area.
A limited but reasonable time, commensurate with the magnitude of expenditure, disruption of services, and degree of hazard, shall be allowed for compliance with any part of this Code for existing buildings.
Existing life safety features that exceed the requirements for new buildings shall be permitted to be decreased to those required for new buildings.
Nothing in this Code shall be construed to prohibit a better building construction type, an additional means of egress, or an otherwise safer condition than that specified by the minimum requirements of this Code.
No new construction or existing building shall be occupied in whole or in part in violation of the provisions of this Code, unless the following conditions exist:
Where compliance with this Code is effected by means of a performance-based design, the owner shall annually certify compliance with the conditions and limitations of the design by submitting a warrant of fitness acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction. The warrant of fitness shall attest that the building features, systems, and use have been inspected and confirmed to remain consistent with design specifications outlined in the documentation required by Section 5.8 and that such features, systems, and use continue to satisfy the goals and objectives specified in Sections 4.1 and 4.2. (See Chapter 5.)
Buildings, or portions of buildings, shall be permitted to be occupied during construction, repair, alterations, or additions only where required means of egress and required fire protection features are in place and continuously maintained for the portion occupied or where alternative life safety measures acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction are in place.
In buildings under construction, adequate escape facilities shall be maintained at all times for the use of construction workers. Escape facilities shall consist of doors, walkways, stairs, ramps, fire escapes, ladders, or other approved means or devices arranged in accordance with the general principles of the Code insofar as they can reasonably be applied to buildings under construction.
Flammable or explosive substances or equipment for repairs or alterations shall be permitted in a building while the building is occupied if the condition of use and safeguards provided do not create any additional danger or impediment to egress beyond the normally permissible conditions in the building.
Whenever or wherever any device, equipment, system, condition, arrangement, level of protection, fire-resistive construction, or any other feature is required for compliance with the provisions of this Code, such device, equipment, system, condition, arrangement, level of protection, fire-resistive construction, or other feature shall thereafter be continuously maintained. Maintenance shall be provided in accordance with applicable NFPA requirements or requirements developed as part of a performance-based design, or as directed by the authority having jurisdiction.
No existing life safety feature shall be removed or reduced where such feature is a requirement for new construction.
Existing life safety features obvious to the public, if not required by the Code, shall be either maintained or removed.
Any device, equipment, system, condition, arrangement, level of protection, fire-resistive construction, or any other feature requiring periodic testing, inspection, or operation to ensure its maintenance shall be tested, inspected, or operated as specified elsewhere in this Code or as directed by the authority having jurisdiction.
Maintenance, inspection, and testing shall be performed under the supervision of a responsible person who shall ensure that testing, inspection, and maintenance are made at specified intervals in accordance with applicable NFPA standards or as directed by the authority having jurisdiction.
A material that complies with any of the following shall be considered a noncombustible material:
- *A material that, in the form in which it is used and under the conditions anticipated, will not ignite, burn, support combustion, or release flammable vapors when subjected to fire or heat
- A material that is reported as passing ASTM E 136, Standard Test Method for Behavior of Materials in a Vertical Tube Furnace at 750 Degrees C
- A material that is reported as complying with the pass/fail criteria of ASTM E 136 when tested in accordance with the test method and procedure in ASTM E 2652, Standard Test Method for Behavior of Materials in a Tube Furnace with a Cone-shaped Airflow Stabilizer, at 750 Degrees C
The material shall have the structural base of a noncombustible material with a surfacing not exceeding a thickness of 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) where the surfacing exhibits a flame spread index not greater than 50 when tested in accordance with ASTM E 84, Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, or ANSI/UL 723, Standard for Test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials.
The material shall be composed of materials that, in the form and thickness used, neither exhibit a flame spread index greater than 25 nor evidence of continued progressive combustion when tested in accordance with ASTM E 84, Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, or ANSI/UL 723, Standard for Test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, and shall be of such composition that all surfaces that would be exposed by cutting through the material on any plane would neither exhibit a flame spread index greater than 25 nor exhibit evidence of continued progressive combustion when tested in accordance with ASTM E 84 or ANSI/UL 723.
The grade plane shall be established by calculating the average of the finished ground level adjoining the building at all exterior walls. Where the finished ground level slopes down from the exterior walls, the grade plane shall be established by the lowest points within the area between the building and the lot line or, where the lot line is more than 6 ft (1.8 m) from the building, between the building and a point 6 ft (1.8 m) from the building.
Emergency egress and relocation drills, where required by Chapters 11 through 43 or the authority having jurisdiction, shall be held with sufficient frequency to familiarize occupants with the drill procedure and to establish conduct of the drill as a matter of routine. Drills shall include suitable procedures to ensure that all persons subject to the drill participate.
When conducting drills, emphasis shall be placed on orderly evacuation rather than on speed.
Drills shall be held at expected and unexpected times and under varying conditions to simulate the unusual conditions that can occur in an actual emergency.
Drill participants shall relocate to a predetermined location and remain at such location until a recall or dismissal signal is given.
A written record of each drill shall be completed by the person responsible for conducting the drill and maintained in an approved manner.
Emergency action plans shall include the following:
- Procedures for reporting of emergencies
- Occupant and staff response to emergencies
- *Evacuation, relocation, and shelter-in-place procedures appropriate to the building, its occupancy, emergencies, and hazards
- Appropriateness of the use of elevators
- Design and conduct of fire drills
- Type and coverage of building fire protection systems
- Other items required by the authority having jurisdiction
Required emergency action plans shall be submitted to the authority having jurisdiction for review.