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Does This Meet Code 14

Interior Finish or Decorations

The pictures below are provided from one of Inspector report subscribers.  Its important that we set up these pictures.  The art work and other decorations are hung to the wall.  The decorations are located in an exhibit hall on one of the exit cooridoors located in the building.

The building is provided with automatic sprinkler system and you can see the doors are held open with hold open devices that are connected to the the building’s fire alarm system.

A second view of the cooridoor

The question at hand, does this festive  decoration meet code?  What is your code path to support your decision?

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • Marshal Chris December 19, 2010, 6:14 pm

    My answers will be based upon NYS Code.

    there are a few things I see.

    First thing I would want to know is the required width of the corridor, doors look like they encroach to me. But that is something that should have been addressed during the construction acceptance.

    I’m assuming this is group E, artwork exceeds 20% of the wall area. 803.3.2 Fire Code

    I think you could consider some of the table decorations obstructions in the means of egress 1003.6/804.2

    I know we have a section on things suspended from ceilings need to be flame resistant in certain occupancies. Art contest sign.

    • Jerry December 20, 2010, 4:12 pm

      Right on, Marshal. In the NYS code we have to remember that the 20% coverage is
      for STUDENT ARTWORK and teaching materials.. If it is a finish, of which this example could never be, or decorations, which it may be, they would not fall into the 20% category. Also, the 20% is for “E” occupancies only. That is Pre-K (daycare 2-1/2yrs) through grade 12. Anything else, forget the 20%. In any case, best case scenerio, this is an “E” occupancy. It still exceeds allowable student artwork or teaching materials coverage and is therefore, non-compliant. Fire Code of New York State sec. F803.3.2 Artwork.

  • Jack Benton December 20, 2010, 12:01 pm

    Do I see sprinkler heads blocked by that banner?? Looks like it has a weighted object at the bottom too. If so, that’s a No No!

  • Matthew J. WIllis December 20, 2010, 1:24 pm

    Sprinkler is obstructed by sign:
    NFPA 25-08; “* The minimum clearance required by the installation
    standard shall be maintained below all sprinklers. Stock, furnishings,
    or equipment closer to the sprinkler than the clearance
    rules allow shall be corrected.”

    Automatic doors blocked from closing by table.
    NFPA 101-09; “ As a minimum, the following items shall be verified:
    (1) Floor space on both sides of the openings is clear of obstructions,
    and door leaves open fully and close freely.”

    I am almost sure the tables are in the egress path, but am unfamiliar with the code references for that..

  • Archie Koenemund December 20, 2010, 1:28 pm

    It appers that this does not meet code. This is supposed to be a rated corridor. Discrepancies that appear:

    1: obstructed fire doors and Corridor (NFPA 72 & IFC Chapter 9 and Chapter 10)
    2: Combustibles exceed 20% of wall space (IFC Chapter 8)
    3: obstructed sprinkler head IFC Chapter 9, 903.3.3 & NFPA 13)

  • Barry Smith December 20, 2010, 1:31 pm

    If this is educational up to 50% of the wall area can have artwork attached to the walls in a sprinklered building-Life Safety Code. This looks like it is more than 50% in areas. Do the displays along the wall encroach into the minimum corridor width?

  • Jack Benton December 20, 2010, 1:34 pm

    Too bad I don’t have code books….. 🙁 But hey, I got the sprinkler heads first.

    Merry Christmas Gentlemen!

  • Matthew J. WIllis December 20, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Thanks Jack, Merry Christmas to you as well. I Wanted the “is” to be “IS” as a confimation. 🙂 I am curious about the “weighted” comment you made.


  • Jack Benton December 20, 2010, 1:55 pm

    The weighted comment had nothing to do with the violation, it just appears that it’s not just paper hanging where, “if this wasn’t caught” by a Fire Official, since we can’t LIVE at schools (because they are sometimes bad violators of code) it would most likely burn and fall down thus letting the heads do their job, but if it’s a heavier material that might not burn or it burns burn longer, the water pressure wouldn’t knock it down rendering the heads totally useless. That was all I was thinking.

    One of the faults of being an analytical thinker! 😉

  • pat December 20, 2010, 4:12 pm

    Hey M’y Boy it looks fine to me…inspector Magoo…LOL

    Schools and the Federal Government have to be the worst violators….( do as I say )

    This would be great for a class on NFPA 101.

    Merry Christmas to all…Be safe during the comming year

  • Daniel Hertlein December 20, 2010, 6:41 pm

    Assumed: Building is an exhibition hall that is an “A” occupancy.
    1. Corridor Obstructed – 2009 IFC 1018.3. The required width of the corridor shall be unobstructed. Remove, what appears in the photos, the tables with decorations.
    2. Fire Doors Obstructed – 2009 IFC 703.2. Investigate that fire or smoke barrier doors are not blocked or obstructed. (It appears in the photo that the doors might not be obstructed from proper operation).
    3. Decorative materials suspended from walls. – 2009 IFC 807.1.2. The permissible amount of decorative materals meeting the flame propagation performance criteria of NFPA 701 shall not exceed 10 percent of the specific wall area to which it is attached. (Noncombustible decorative material in unlimited. IFC 807.1.1) Provide results of an acceptance test and reduce the material to 10% of the wall area, or remove all the decorative material – IFC 807.2. The reference made to allow 20% coverage of the wall area in a corridor applies only to Artwork in Group E and I-4 day care facilities – 2007 IFC 807.4.3.2 and 807.4.4.2.
    4. Obstructed sprinkler head – 2007 NFPA 13 section Investigate that the “Art Contest” sign does not create a significant obstruction to the sprinkler discharge. (no problem if the sign is directly under the head, as it may be in the photo. The 18″ rule does not apply in this case – use common sense)

  • Tommy G. December 27, 2010, 7:09 pm

    The building is an exhibit hall. The conditions were discovered on day 3 of a 4 day event. And to add to the excitement, this was about 45 minutes before the mayor was to arrive to light the city’s Christmas tree.

  • Mud November 30, 2011, 10:28 am

    I see all that has been pointed out. My question is: How do you address all this and not come out looking like the bad guy? Because in my town with the good ol’ boy network in place would get you the following: 1. why was it approved for construction with encroaching door in the first place? 2. Why are you picking on the schools during Christmas? 3. It is temporary. 4. A call to the city manager that you won’t allow ANY decorations/papers to be displayed. 5. The city council member who’s district it is in getting worked up when they get a call because the FI said little johnny’s drawing had to come down. 6. you are out of control because you keep finding things like this and let’s find a way to get rid of the FI

  • Michael O'Brian December 3, 2011, 7:58 am

    Mud, code enforcement is a complex field that challenges these items almost every day. Many of your concerns take time and building relationships. Addressing items like this is constant and similar facilities and our job is looking for the public interest and getting buildings as close to meeting code as we can.

    School fires can be very dangerous and we would take a multi-prong approach by working with the schools early to have common understanding. It sounds to me that there needs to be some education with your CM and Council on our jobs. I would suggest finding opportunities to provide insite on why code enforcement is needed. Keep working with your Chief/Fire Marshal and get ahead of the curve….

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