Tents and membrane structures shall comply with this chapter. The provisions of Section 2403 are applicable only to temporary tents and membrane structures. The provisions of Section 2404 are applicable to temporary and permanent tents and membrane structures.
The following words and terms shall, for the purposes of this chapter and as used elsewhere in this code, have the meanings shown herein.
[B] AIR-INFLATED STRUCTURE. A building where the shape of the structure is maintained by air pressurization of cells or tubes to form a barrel vault over the usable area. Occupants of such a structure do not occupy the pressurized areas used to support the structure.
AIR-SUPPORTED STRUCTURE. A structure wherein the shape of the structure is attained by air pressure, and occupants of the structure are within the elevated pressure area.
MEMBRANE STRUCTURE. An air-inflated, air-supported, cable or frame-covered structure as defined by the International Building Code and not otherwise defined as a tent. See Chapter 31 of the International Building Code.
TENT. A structure, enclosure or shelter, with or without sidewalls or drops, constructed of fabric or pliable material supported by any manner except by air or the contents that it protects.
All temporary tents and membrane structures shall comply with this section.
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.
- Tents open on all sides which comply with all of the following:
- Individual tents having a maximum size of 700 square feet (65 m2).
- 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.
- A minimum clearance of 12 feet (3658 mm) to all structures and other tents.
For the purposes of this chapter, a place of assembly shall include a circus, carnival, tent show, theater, skating rink, dance hall or other place of assembly in or under which persons gather for any purpose.
Temporary tents, air-supported, air-inflated or tensioned membrane structures shall not be erected for a period of more than 180 days within a 12-month period on a single premises.
A detailed site and floor plan for tents or membrane structures with an occupant load of 50 or more shall be provided with each application for approval. The tent or membrane structure floor plan shall indicate details of the means of egress facilities, seating capacity, arrangement of the seating and location and type of heating and electrical equipment.
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.
Exception: Permit use periods of less than 30 days.
When required by the fire code official, an inspection report shall be provided and shall consist of maintenance, anchors and fabric inspections.
Access, location and parking for temporary tents and membrane structures shall be in accordance with this section.
Fire apparatus access roads shall be provided in accordance with Section 503.
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 when the aggregate floor area does not exceed 15,000 square feet (1394 m2).
- Membrane structures or tents need not be separated from buildings when all of the following conditions are met:
- The aggregate floor area of the membrane structure or tent shall not exceed 10,000 square feet (929 m2).
- 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.
- Required means of egress are provided for both the building and the membrane structure or tent including travel distances.
- Fire apparatus access roads are provided in accordance with Section 503.
Membrane structures having an area of 15,000 square feet (1394 m2) or more shall be located not less than 50 feet (15 240 mm) from any other tent or structure as measured from the sidewall of the tent or membrane structure unless joined together by a corridor.
Membrane structures that are erected on buildings, balconies, decks or other structures shall be regulated as permanent membrane structures in accordance with Section 3102 of the International Building Code.
Tents or membrane structures are allowed to be joined together by means of corridors. Exit doors shall be provided at each end of such corridor. On each side of such corridor and approximately opposite each other, there shall be provided openings not less than 12 feet (3658 mm) wide.
An unobstructed fire break passageway or fire road not less than 12 feet (3658 mm) wide and free from guy ropes or other obstructions shall be maintained on all sides of all tents and membrane structures unless otherwise approved by the fire code official.
Tents or membrane structures and their appurtenances shall be adequately roped, braced and anchored to withstand the elements of weather and prevent against collapsing. Documentation of structural stability shall be furnished to the fire code official on request.
During high winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (22 m/s) or in snow conditions, the use of doors in air-supported structures shall be controlled to avoid excessive air loss. Doors shall not be left open.
Air-supported and air-inflated structures shall have the design and construction of the fabric envelope and the method of anchoring in accordance with Architectural Fabric Structures Institute ASI 77.
An air-supported structure used as a place of assembly shall be furnished with not less than two blowers, each of which has adequate capacity to maintain full inflation pressure with normal leakage. The design of the blower shall be so as to provide integral limiting pressure at the design pressure specified by the manufacturer.
Places of public assembly for more than 200 persons shall be furnished with either a fully automatic auxiliary engine-generator set capable of powering one blower continuously for 4 hours, or a supplementary blower powered by an internal combustion engine which shall be automatic in operation.
Seating in tents or membrane structures shall be in accordance with Chapter 10.
Exits shall be spaced at approximately equal intervals around the perimeter of the tent or membrane structure, and shall be located such that all points are 100 feet (30 480 mm) or less from an exit.
Tents, or membrane structures or a usable portion thereof shall have at least one exit and not less than the number of exits required by Table 2403.12.2. The total width of means of egress in inches (mm) shall not be 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 OF EGRESS||MINIMUM WIDTH OF EACH MEANS OF EGRESS (inches)||MINIMUM WIDTH OF EACH MEANS OF EGRESS (inches)|
|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|
For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm.
- When the occupant load exceeds 3,000, the total width of means of egress (in inches) shall not be less than the total occupant load multiplied by 0.2 inches per person.
Exit openings from tents shall remain open unless covered by a flame-resistant curtain. The curtain shall comply with the following requirements:
- Curtains shall be free sliding on a metal support. The support shall be a minimum of 80 inches (2032 mm) above the floor level at the exit. The curtains shall be so arranged that, when open, no part of the curtain obstructs the exit.
- Curtains shall be of a color, or colors, that contrasts with the color of the tent.
Exit doors shall swing in the direction of exit travel. To avoid hazardous air and pressure loss in air-supported membrane structures, such doors shall be automatic closing against operating pressures. Opening force at the door edge shall not exceed 15 pounds (66 N).
The width of aisles without fixed seating shall be in accordance with the following:
- 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.
The arrangement of aisles shall be subject to approval by the fire code official and shall be maintained clear at all times during occupancy.
Exits shall be clearly marked. Exit signs shall be installed at required exit doorways and where otherwise necessary to indicate clearly the direction of egress when the exit serves an occupant load of 50 or more.
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 the following manner:
- Two separate circuits, one of which shall be separate from all other circuits, for occupant loads of 300 or less; or
- Two separate sources of power, one of which shall be an approved emergency system, shall be provided when 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.
Means of egress shall be illuminated with light having an intensity of not less than 1 foot-candle (11 lux) at floor level while the structure is occupied. Fixtures required for means of egress illumination shall be supplied from a separate circuit or source of power.
The required width of exits, aisles and passageways shall be maintained at all times to a public way. Guy wires, guy ropes and other support members shall not cross a means of egress at a height of less than 8 feet (2438 mm). The surface of means of egress shall be maintained in an approved manner.
All tents and membrane structures, both temporary and permanent, shall be in accordance with this section. Permanent tents and membrane structures shall also comply with the International Building Code.
Before a permit is granted, the owner or agent shall file with the fire code official a certificate executed by an approved testing laboratory certifying that the tents and membrane structures and their appurtenances; sidewalls, drops and tarpaulins; floor coverings, bunting and combustible decorative materials and effects, including sawdust when used on floors or passageways, are composed of material meeting the flame propagation performance criteria of NFPA 701 or shall be treated with a flame retardant in an approved manner and meet the flame propagation performance criteria of NFPA 701, and that such flame propagation performance criteria are effective for the period specified by the permit.
Membrane structures or tents shall have a permanently affixed label bearing the identification of size and fabric or material type.
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 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.
Hay, straw, shavings or similar combustible materials shall not be located within any tent or membrane structure containing an assembly occupancy, except the materials necessary for the daily feeding and care of animals. Sawdust and shavings utilized for a public performance or exhibit shall not be prohibited provided the sawdust and shavings are kept damp. Combustible materials shall not be permitted under stands or seats at any time.
Smoking shall not be permitted in tents or membrane structures. Approved "No Smoking" signs shall be conspicuously posted in accordance with Section 310.
Open flame or other devices emitting flame, fire or heat or any flammable or combustible liquids, gas, charcoal or other cooking device or any other unapproved devices shall not be permitted inside or located within 20 feet (6096 mm) of the tent or membrane structures while open to the public unless approved by the fire code official.
Fireworks shall not be used within 100 feet (30 480 mm) of tents or membrane structures.
Spot or effect lighting shall only be by electricity, and all combustible construction located within 6 feet (1829 mm) of such equipment shall be protected with approved noncombustible insulation not less than 91/4 inches (235 mm) thick.
Motion pictures shall not be displayed in tents or membrane structures unless the motion picture film is safety film.
There shall be a minimum clearance of at least 3 feet (914 mm) between the fabric envelope and all contents located inside membrane structures.
Portable fire extinguishers shall be provided as required by Section 906.
Fire hose lines, water supplies and other auxiliary fire equipment shall be maintained at the site in such numbers and sizes as required by the fire code official.
The occupant load allowed in an assembly structure, or portion thereof, shall be determined in accordance with Chapter 10.
Heating or cooking equipment, tanks, piping, hoses, fittings, valves, tubing and other related components shall be installed as specified in the International Mechanical Code and the International Fuel Gas Code, and shall be approved by the fire code official.
Gas, liquid and solid fuel-burning equipment designed to be vented shall be vented to the outside air as specified in the International Fuel Gas Code and the International Mechanical Code. Such vents shall be equipped with approved spark arresters when required. Where vents or flues are used, all portions of the tent or membrane structure shall be not less than 12 inches (305 mm) from the flue or vent.
Cooking and heating equipment shall not be located within 10 feet (3048 mm) of exits or combustible materials.
Operations such as warming of foods, cooking demonstrations and similar operations that use solid flammables, butane or other similar devices which do not pose an ignition hazard, shall be approved.
Tents with sidewalks or drops where cooking is performed shall be separated from other tents or membrane structures by a minimum of 20 feet (6096 mm).
Outdoor cooking that produces sparks or grease-laden vapors shall not be performed within 20 feet (6096 mm) of a tent or membrane structure.
Electrical cooking and heating equipment shall comply with NFPA 70.
The storage, handling and use of LP-gas and LP-gas equipment shall be in accordance with Sections 2406.16.1 through 2404.16.3.
LP-gas equipment such as tanks, piping, hoses, fittings, valves, tubing and other related components shall be approved and in accordance with Chapter 38 and with the International Fuel Gas Code.
LP-gas containers shall be located outside. Safety release valves shall be pointed away from the tent or membrane structure.
Portable LP-gas containers with a capacity of 500 gallons (1893 L) or less shall have a minimum separation between the container and structure not less than 10 feet (3048 mm).
Portable LP-gas containers with a capacity of more than 500 gallons (1893 L) shall have a minimum separation between the container and structures not less than 25 feet (7620 mm).
Portable LP-gas containers, piping, valves and fittings which are located outside and are being used to fuel equipment inside a tent or membrane structure shall be adequately protected to prevent tampering, damage by vehicles or other hazards and shall be located in an approved location. Portable LP-gas containers shall be securely fastened in place to prevent unauthorized movement.
Flammable-liquid-fueled equipment shall not be used in tents or membrane structures.
Flammable and combustible liquids shall be stored outside in an approved manner not less than 50 feet (15 240 mm) from tents or membrane structures. Storage shall be in accordance with Chapter 34.
Refueling shall be performed in an approved location not less than 20 feet (6096 mm) from tents or membrane structures.
Liquid- and gas-fueled vehicles and equipment used for display within tents or membrane structures shall be in accordance with Sections 2404.18.1 through 2404.18.5.3.
Batteries shall be disconnected in an appropriate manner.
Vehicles or equipment shall not be fueled or defueled within the tent or membrane structure.
Fuel systems shall be inspected for leaks.
Fuel tank openings shall be locked and sealed to prevent the escape of vapors.
The location of vehicles or equipment shall not obstruct means of egress.
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 2404.18.1 through 2404.18.5.3 for gasoline-powered vehicles.
Liquid and gas-fueled vehicles and equipment used for competition or demonstration within a tent or membrane structure shall comply with Sections 2404.18.5.1 through 2404.18.5.3.
Fuel for vehicles or equipment shall be stored in approved containers in an approved location outside of the structure in accordance with Section 2404.17.2.
Refueling shall be performed outside of the structure in accordance with Section 2404.17.3.
Fuel spills shall be cleaned up immediately.
Generators and other internal combustion power sources shall be separated from tents or membrane structures by a minimum of 20 feet (6096 mm) and shall be isolated from contact with the public by fencing, enclosure or other approved means.
When, in the opinion of the fire code official, it is essential for public safety in a tent or membrane structure used as a place of assembly or any other use where people congregate, because of the number of persons, or the nature of the performance, exhibition, display, contest or activity, the owner, agent or lessee shall employ one or more qualified persons, as required and approved, to remain on duty during the times such places are open to the public, or when such activity is being conducted.
Before each performance or the start of such activity, standby personnel shall keep diligent watch for fires during the time such place is open to the public or such activity is being conducted and take prompt measures for extinguishment of fires that occur and assist in the evacuation of the public from the structure.
There shall be trained crowd managers or crowd manager/supervisors at a ratio of one crowd manager/supervisor for every 250 occupants, as approved.
Combustible vegetation that could create a fire hazard shall be removed from the area occupied by a tent or membrane structure, and from areas within 30 feet (9144 mm) of such structures.
The floor surface inside tents or membrane structures and the grounds outside and within a 30-foot (9144 mm) perimeter shall be kept free of combustible waste and other combustible materials that could create a fire hazard. Such waste shall be stored in approved containers and removed from the premises at least once a day during the period the structure is occupied by the public.