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18.1 General Scope

AMENDMENT
This section has been amended at the state or city level.
Fire department access and water supplies shall comply with this chapter. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any city, or town which has accepted the provisions of M.G.L. c. 41, § 81 et.seq. or similar laws which provide local jurisdiction over fire department access and water supply. In the absence of any such laws, fire department access and water supply shall comply with this chapter.
This chapter shall apply to public and privately owned fire apparatus access roads.
This chapter shall apply to public and privately owned fire hydrant systems.

18.1.1.3

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This chapter shall apply to new one- or two-family dwellings, not provided with adequate frontage and located behind an existing building that has frontage. For purposes of this section, adequate frontage shall mean at least 20 feet or more abutting a public way.

18.1.1.3.1

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Existing and new one- and two-family detached dwellings, not located behind a building with adequate frontage, and their accessory structures such as garages, carports, and sheds shall be exempt from the provisions of 18.2.3.

18.1.1.4

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The fire apparatus access road plans must include an analysis and evaluation of fire apparatus maneuvers throughout the access roads created by swept path analysis and turn simulation software.

18.1.1.5

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The fire apparatus access plans shall bear the seal and signature of the responsible registered professional engineer.

18.1.1.6

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Nothing in this Section shall reduce the requirements established by cities or towns under M.G.L. c. 40A and planning and zoning bylaws.
Permits, where required, shall comply with Section 1.12.

18.1.3.1 Fire Apparatus Access

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Plans, where required, for fire apparatus access roads shall be submitted to the fire department for review and approval prior to construction.
Plans and specifications for fire hydrant systems shall be submitted to the fire department for review and approval prior to construction.
Fire department access and fire department access roads shall be provided and maintained in accordance with Section 18.2.
The AHJ shall have the authority to require an access box(es) to be installed in an accessible location where access to or within a structure or area is difficult because of security. The access box(es) shall be of an approved type listed in accordance with UL 1037.

18.2.2.1.1

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Approval of access roads shall be subject to the AHJ and capable of supporting the imposed loads of fire apparatus and shall be provided with an all-weather driving surface and shall be maintained as provided.
The AHJ shall have the authority to require fire department access be provided to gated subdivisions or developments through the use of an approved device or system.

18.2.2.3 Access Maintenance

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The owner or occupant of a structure or area, with required fire department access as specified in Section 18.2.2.1 or 18.2.2.2, shall notify the AHJ when the access is modified.
Approved fire department access roads shall be provided for every facility, building, or portion of a building hereafter constructed or relocated.
Fire department access roads shall consist of roadways, fire lanes, parking lot lanes, or a combination thereof.

18.2.3.1.3*

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The provisions of 18.2.3.1 through 18.2.3.2.2.1 shall be permitted to be modified by the AHJ where any of the following conditions exists:
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  5. Agricultural buildings having an area not exceeding 400 ft2
  6. Other detached buildings having an area not exceeding 400 ft2
When fire department access roads cannot be installed due to location on property, topography, waterways, nonnegotiable grades, or other similar conditions, the AHJ shall be authorized to require additional fire protection features.

18.2.3.1.5

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This section has been amended at the state or city level.
When fire department access roads cannot be installed due to location on property, topography, waterways, nonnegotiable grades, or other similar conditions, the AHJ shall be permitted to accept alternatives proposed by the owner of the building to allow additional fire protection features, up to and including the installation of an approved fire sprinkler system installed in accordance with the Building Code, cistern(s), additional fire hydrant(s), or similar devices or systems.

18.2.3.2 Access to Building and Facilities

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ILLUSTRATION
A fire department access road shall extend to within 50 ft (15 m) of at least one exterior door that can be opened from the outside and that provides access to the interior of the building.

18.2.3.2.1.1

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Where a new building, not provided with adequate frontage, is to be located behind an existing building that has frontage, a fire department access road shall extend to within 25 feet of at least one exterior door that can be opened from the outside and that provides access to the interior of the building.

18.2.3.2.1.1 2

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Where a townhouse as defined in the Building Code, is protected with an approved automatic sprinkler system that is installed in accordance with NFPA 13D or NFPA 13R, as applicable, the distance in 18.2.3.2.1 shall be permitted to be increased to 150 ft. (46 m).
Fire department access roads shall be provided such that any portion of the facility or any portion of an exterior wall of the first story of the building is located not more than 150 ft (46 m) from fire department access roads as measured by an approved route around the exterior of the building or facility.

18.2.3.2.2.1

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When buildings are protected throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system that is installed in accordance with NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems the distance in Section 18.2.3.2.2 shall be permitted to be increased to 250 feet.

18.2.3.2.2.2

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Except new one- or two-family dwellings, and townhouses, not provided with adequate frontage and located behind an existing building that has frontage.
More than one fire department access road shall be provided when it is determined by the AHJ that access by a single road could be impaired by vehicle congestion, condition of terrain, climatic conditions, or other factors that could limit access.

18.2.3.4.1.1

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Fire department access roads shall have an unobstructed width of not less than 20 feet (6.1 m). Fire department access roads constructed in the boulevard-style shall be allowed where each lane is less than 20 feet but not less than tem feet when they do not provide access to a building or structure.
Fire department access roads shall have an unobstructed vertical clearance of not less than 13 ft 6 in. (4.1 m).
Vertical clearance shall be permitted to be reduced, provided such reduction does not impair access by fire apparatus, and approved signs are installed and maintained indicating the established vertical clearance when approved.
Vertical clearances or widths shall be increased when vertical clearances or widths are not adequate to accommodate fire apparatus.
Fire department access roads shall be designed and maintained to support the imposed loads of fire apparatus and shall be provided with an all-weather driving surface.

18.2.3.4.2.1

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Permeable drivable surfaces, that meet loading of Section 18.2.3.4.2, are allowed when approved by the AHJ. When approved, the permeable surfaces shall be identified by a method acceptable to the AHJ.

18.2.3.4.3.1

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The minimum inside turning radius of a fire department access road shall be 25 feet. The AHJ shall have the ability to increase the minimum inside turning radius to accommodate the AHJ's apparatus.
Turns in fire department access roads shall maintain the minimum road width.
Dead-end fire department access roads in excess of 150 ft (46 m) in length shall be provided with approved provisions for the fire apparatus to turn around.
When a bridge is required to be used as part of a fire department access road, it shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with nationally recognized standards.
The bridge shall be designed for a live load sufficient to carry the imposed loads of fire apparatus.
Vehicle load limits shall be posted at both entrances to bridges where required by the AHJ.

18.2.3.4.6.1

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The gradient for a fire department access road shall not exceed 10%, unless approved in writing by the AHJ.
The angle of approach and departure for any means of fire department access road shall not exceed 1 ft drop in 20 ft (0.3 m drop in 6 m) or the design limitations of the fire apparatus of the fire department and shall be subject to approval by the AHJ.
Fire department access roads connecting to roadways shall be provided with curb cuts extending at least 2 ft (0.61 m) beyond each edge of the fire lane.

18.2.3.4.8 Travel in the Opposing Lane

AMENDMENT
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The use of the opposite travel lane is prohibited in the design of all new fire apparatus access roads.
Where required by the AHJ, approved signs, approved roadway surface markings, or other approved notices shall be provided and maintained to identify fire department access roads or to prohibit the obstruction thereof or both.
A marked fire apparatus access road shall also be known as a fire lane.
The required width of a fire department access road shall not be obstructed in any manner, including by the parking of vehicles.
Minimum required widths and clearances established under 18.2.3.4 shall be maintained at all times.
Facilities and structures shall be maintained in a manner that does not impair or impede accessibility for fire department operations.
Entrances to fire department access roads that have been closed with gates and barriers in accordance with 18.2.4.2.1 shall not be obstructed by parked vehicles.
The AHJ shall be authorized to require the installation and maintenance of gates or other approved barricades across roads, trails, or other accessways not including public streets, alleys, or highways.
Where required, gates and barricades shall be secured in an approved manner.

18.2.4.2.3

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18.2.4.2.4

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18.2.4.2.5

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18.2.4.2.6

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18.3 Water Supplies

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18.3.1*

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18.3.1.1*

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18.4 Fire Flow Requirements for Buildings

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18.4.1* Scope

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18.4.1.1*

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18.4.1.2

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18.4.2 Definitions

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18.4.3 Modifications

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18.4.3.1 Decreases in Fire Flow Requirements

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18.4.3.1.1*

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18.4.3.1.2

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18.4.3.2 Increases in Fire Flow Requirements

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18.4.4 Fire Flow Area

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18.4.4.1 General

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18.4.4.2 Type I (443), Type I (332), and Type II (222) Construction

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18.4.5 Fire Flow Requirements for Buildings

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18.4.5.1 One- and Two-Family Dwellings Not Exceeding 5000 ft2 (464.5 m2)

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18.4.5.1.1

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18.4.5.1.2*

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18.4.5.1.3*

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18.4.5.1.4

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18.4.5.1.4.1

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18.4.5.1.4.2

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18.4.5.1.4.3

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18.4.5.1.4.4

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18.4.5.1.5*

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18.4.5.2 One- and Two-Family Dwellings Exceeding 5000 ft2 (464.5 m2)

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18.4.5.2.1

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18.4.5.2.2

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18.4.5.2.3

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18.4.5.2.4

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18.4.5.2.5*

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18.4.5.3 Buildings Other Than One- And Two-Family Dwellings

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18.4.5.3.1

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18.4.5.3.2

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18.4.5.3.3

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18.4.5.3.4*

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18.4.5.3.5

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18.4.5.4* Required Fire Flow and Automatic Sprinkler System Demand

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Fire hydrants shall be provided in accordance with Section 18.5 for all new buildings, or buildings relocated into the jurisdiction unless otherwise permitted by 18.5.1.1 or 18.5.1.2.
Fire hydrants shall not be required where the water distribution system is not capable of providing a fire flow of greater than 500 gpm (1893 L/min) at a residual pressure of 20 psi (139.9 kPa).
Fire hydrants shall not be required where modification or extension of the water distribution system is deemed to be impractical by the AHJ.
The provisions of 18.5.1.1 and 18.5.1.2 shall not eliminate the fire flow requirements of Section 18.4.
The distances specified in Section 18.5 shall be measured along fire department access roads in accordance with 18.2.3.
Where fire department access roads are provided with median dividers incapable of being crossed by fire apparatus, or where fire department access roads have traffic counts of more than 30,000 vehicles per day, hydrants shall be placed on both sides of the fire department access road on an alternating basis, and the distances specified by Section 18.5 shall be measured independently of the hydrants on the opposite side of the fire department access road.
Fire hydrants shall be located not more than 12 ft (3.7 m) from the fire department access road.
Fire hydrants shall be provided for detached one- and two-family dwellings in accordance with both of the following:
  1. The maximum distance to a fire hydrant from the closest point on the building shall not exceed 600 ft (183 m).
  2. The maximum distance between fire hydrants shall not exceed 800 ft (244 m).
Fire hydrants shall be provided for buildings other than detached one- and two-family dwellings in accordance with both of the following:
  1. The maximum distance to a fire hydrant from the closest point on the building shall not exceed 400 ft (122 m).
  2. The maximum distance between fire hydrants shall not exceed 500 ft (152 m).
The minimum number of fire hydrants needed to deliver the required fire flow for new buildings in accordance with Section 18.4 shall be determined in accordance with Section 18.5.4.
The aggregate fire flow capacity of all fire hydrants within 1000 ft (305 m) of the building, measured in accordance with 18.5.1.4 and 18.5.1.5, shall be not less than the required fire flow determined in accordance with Section 18.4.
The maximum fire flow capacity for which a fire hydrant shall be credited shall be as specified by Table 18.5.4.3. Capacities exceeding the values specified in Table 18.5.4.3 shall be permitted when local fire department operations have the ability to accommodate such values as determined by the fire department.

Table 18.5.4.3 Maximum Fire Hydrant Fire Flow Capacity

Distance to Buildinga   Maximum Capacityb
(ft) (m)   (gpm) (L/min)
≤ 250 ≤76   1500 5678
> 250 and ≤ 500 > 76 and ≤ 152   1000 3785
> 500 and ≤ 1000 > 152 and ≤ 305   750 2839

aMeasured in accordance with 18.5.1.4 and 18.5.1.5.

bMinimum 20 psi (139.9 kPa) residual pressure.

Fire hydrants required by 18.5.2 and 18.5.3 shall be included in the minimum number of fire hydrants for fire flow required by 18.5.4.
Private water supply systems shall be tested and maintained in accordance with NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.
Public water supply systems providing fire flow shall be tested and maintained in accordance with ANSI/AWWA G200, Standard for Distribution Systems Operation and Management.
Fire hydrants and connections to other approved water supplies shall be accessible to the fire department.

18.5.7.1

AMENDMENT
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A 36-inch (914 mm) clear space shall be maintained around the circumference of fire hydrants except as otherwise required or approved.
A clear space of not less than 60 in. (1524 mm) shall be provided in front of each hydrant connection having a diameter greater than 21/2 in. (64 mm).
Where required by the AHJ, fire hydrants subject to vehicular damage shall be protected unless located within a public right of way.
Where water supplies or fire hydrants are out of service for maintenance or repairs, a visible indicator acceptable to the AHJ shall be used to indicate that the hydrant is out of service.
Fire hydrants shall be marked with an approved reflector affixed to the roadway surface where required by the AHJ.
Fire hydrants shall be marked with an approved flag or other device affixed to or proximate to the fire hydrant where required by the AHJ.
Where required by the AHJ, fire hydrants shall be color coded or otherwise marked with an approved system indicating the available flow capacity.
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