About this chapter: Chapter 31 provides requirements that are intended to protect temporary as well as permanent tents and air-supported and other membrane structures and temporary stage special event structures from fire and similar hazards. The provisions regulate structure location and access, anchorage, egress, heat-producing equipment, hazardous materials and operations, combustible vegetation, ignition sources, and waste accumulation. This is accomplished through requiring regular inspections and certifying continued compliance with fire safety regulations. This chapter also addresses outdoor assembly events, which are not limited to those events with tents or other membrane structures, but are regulated due to the number of people, density of those people and hazards associated with large outdoor events related to egress, fire hazards from cooking and other related concerns.
Tents, temporary special event structures and membrane structures shall comply with this chapter. The provisions of Section 3103 are applicable only to temporary tents and membrane structures. The provisions of Sections 3104 and 3106 are applicable to temporary and permanent tents and membrane structures. The provisions of Section 3105 are applicable to temporary special event structures. The provisions of Section 3106 are applicable to outdoor assembly events. Other temporary structures shall comply with the International Building Code.
Tents and membrane structures having an area in excess of 400 square feet (37 m2) shall not be erected, operated or maintained for any purpose without first obtaining a permit and approval from the fire code official.
- Tents used exclusively for recreational camping purposes.
- 2.1. Individual tents having a maximum size of 700 square feet (65 m2).
- 2.2. The aggregate area of multiple tents placed side by side without a fire break clearance of 12 feet (3658 mm), not exceeding 700 square feet (65 m2) total.
- 2.3. A minimum clearance of 12 feet (3658 mm) to all structures and other tents.
The entire tent, air-supported, air-inflated or tensioned membrane structure system shall be inspected at regular intervals, but not less than two times per permit use period, by the permittee, owner or agent to determine that the installation is maintained in accordance with this chapter.
Tents or membrane structures shall not be located within 20 feet (6096 mm) of lot lines, buildings, other tents or membrane structures, parked vehicles or internal combustion engines. For the purpose of determining required distances, support ropes and guy wires shall be considered as part of the temporary membrane structure or tent.
- Separation distance between membrane structures and tents not used for cooking is not required where the aggregate floor area does not exceed 15,000 square feet (1394 m2).
- 2.1. The aggregate floor area of the membrane structure or tent shall not exceed 10,000 square feet (929 m2).
- 2.2. The aggregate floor area of the building and membrane structure or tent shall not exceed the allowable floor area including increases as indicated in the International Building Code.
- 2.3. Required means of egress are provided for both the building and the membrane structure or tent including travel distances.
- 2.4. Fire apparatus access roads are provided in accordance with Section 503.
Tents, or membrane structures or a usable portion thereof shall have not less than one exit and not less than the number of exits required by Table 3103.12.2. The total width of means of egress in inches (mm) shall be not less than the total occupant load served by a means of egress multiplied by 0.2 inches (5 mm) per person.
|OCCUPANT LOAD||MINIMUM NUMBER OF MEANS |
|MINIMUM WIDTH OF EACH MEANS OF |
|MINIMUM WIDTH OF EACH MEANS OF |
|10 to 199||2||72||36|
|200 to 499||3||72||72|
|500 to 999||4||96||72|
|1,000 to 1,999||5||120||96|
|2,000 to 2,999||6||120||96|
- Curtains shall be free sliding on a metal support. The support shall be not less than 80 inches (2032 mm) above the floor level at the exit. The curtains shall be so arranged that, when open, no part of the curtains obstructs the exit.
- Curtains shall be of a color, or colors, that contrasts with the color of the tent.
- In areas serving employees only, the minimum aisle width shall be 24 inches (610 mm) but not less than the width required by the number of employees served.
- In public areas, smooth-surfaced, unobstructed aisles having a minimum width of not less than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be provided from seating areas, and aisles shall be progressively increased in width to provide, at all points, not less than 1 foot (305 mm) of aisle width for each 50 persons served by such aisle at that point.
Exit signs shall be either listed and labeled in accordance with UL 924 as the internally illuminated type and used in accordance with the listing or shall be externally illuminated by luminaires supplied in either of the following manners:
- Two separate circuits, one of which shall be separate from all other circuits, for occupant loads of 300 or less.
- Two separate sources of power, one of which shall be an approved emergency system, shall be provided where the occupant load exceeds 300. Emergency systems shall be supplied from storage batteries or from the on-site generator set, and the system shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 70. The emergency system provided shall have a minimum duration of 90 minutes when operated at full design demand.
An affidavit or affirmation shall be submitted to the fire code official and a copy retained on the premises on which the tent or air-supported structure is located. The affidavit shall attest to all of the following information relative to the flame propagation performance criteria of the fabric:
- Names and address of the owners of the tent or air-supported structure.
- Date the fabric was last treated with flame-retardant solution.
- Trade name or kind of chemical used in treatment.
- Name of person or firm treating the material.
- Name of testing agency and test standard by which the fabric was tested.
- 1.1. A summary sheet showing the building code used, design criteria, loads and support reactions.
- 1.2. Detailed construction and installation drawings.
- 1.3. Design calculations.
- 1.4. Operating limits of the structure explicitly outlined by the registered design professional including environmental conditions and physical forces.
- 1.5. Effects of additive elements such as video walls, supported scenery, audio equipment, vertical and horizontal coverings.
- 1.6. Means for adequate stability including specific requirements for guying and cross-bracing, ground anchors or ballast for different ground conditions.
- Designation of responsible party: The owner of the temporary special event structure shall designate in writing a person to have responsibility for the temporary special event structure on the site. The designated person shall have sufficient knowledge of the construction documents, manufacturer's recommendations and operations plan to make judgments regarding the structure's safety and to coordinate with the fire code official.
- Operations plan: The operations plan shall reflect manufacturer's operational guidelines, procedures for environmental monitoring and actions to be taken under specified conditions consistent with the construction documents.
Cooking appliances or devices that produce sparks or grease-laden vapors or flying embers (firebrands) shall not be used within 20 feet (6096 mm) of a tent or temporary structure.
Cooking equipment using combustible oils or solids shall meet the following:
- A noncombustible lid shall be immediately available. The lid shall be of sufficient size to cover the cooking well completely.
- The equipment shall be placed on a noncombustible surface.
- An approved portable fire extinguisher for protection from cooking grease fires shall be provided at a location approved by the fire code official.
When a compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LP-gas) powered vehicle is parked inside a place of assembly, all the following conditions shall be met:
- The quarter-turn shutoff valve or other shutoff valve on the outlet of the CNG or LP-gas container shall be closed and the engine shall be operated until it stops. Valves shall remain closed while the vehicle is indoors.
- The hot lead of the battery shall be disconnected.
- Dual-fuel vehicles equipped to operate on gasoline and CNG or LP-gas shall comply with this section and Sections 3107.15.1 through 3107.15.3 for gasoline-powered vehicles.