The IBC offers 3 approaches to mixed occupancy buildings: accessory, nonseparated and separated. Any building with two or more occupancy types must choose one or more of these approaches for compliance. In this post, we will cover all three of these approaches and the specific requirements related to each.
If you have designed a building of Type II, III, IV or V construction, you probably considered the allowable building area, which depends on the construction type, occupancy classifications, presence of fire sprinkler systems, and a few other criteria.
One common way to increase the allowable area for a building is to use a frontage increase. The frontage increase provision in the IBC, found in Section 506.3, recognizes the safety benefits of having open space directly adjacent to a building. When a fire department or other emergency responders arrive to a site, there is an increased level of effectiveness when those personnel can access a large portion of the building exterior.
NFPA 285 is the “Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components.” How’s that for a title? Despite the lengthy name, the goal of the test is quite simple – to understand how fire will spread on an exterior wall. In this article, we’ll briefly review the history of NFPA 285, discuss the criteria for the rest, and then review when compliance with NFPA 285 is required in the IBC.
In almost every building, owners or tenants have a need for some level of security or access control. The IBC covers a wide range of door locking and control techniques, but the shear number of sections and underlying requirements can be tough to digest. Many folks have trouble knowing which code sections apply, and even if the correct section is identified, it can be a challenge to understand the requirements.
In this post, I take a number of these door locking requirements and translate them into (hopefully) more clear and concise language. I also provide some general commentary on my experience in using each type of door/locking arrangement. References are provided to the last 3 editions of the IBC.
Click one of the door/lock types in table below to jump to that section.
I recently helped an architect design a wood-framed wall assembly with different membrane arrangements on each side of the wall. We used the calculated fire resistance approach from IBC 722 to achieve a one-hour rating for the wall. This project led me to create a new tool that calculates the fire resistance of the wall assembly based on the materials that you choose for each side. Check it out at the link below!
In the A/E world, there is much confusion regarding the definition of fire protection rating and fire resistance rating when designing doors, windows, transoms, sidelights and other openings in rated construction. These terms are often used interchangeably by mistake, but they represent two very different types of assemblies. A third term, "fire rating", is often used as well, making the distinction even more confusing. In this article, we'll review the differences between fire resistance ratings and fire protection ratings and show you how to determine the requirements for your specific situation. All code references are to the 2018 IBC.
If you have been involved in the design or installation of a fire alarm system, whether as an architect, engineer, or owner, you have probably asked the question, "Is a strobe required here?" Like all engineering questions, the answer depends on a number of factors. In this post, I will walk through the code path step-by-step to help you understand where fire alarm strobes are required.
New on the blog today is an occupant load calculator based on factors from the 2015, 2018 and 2021 editions of the IBC. Check it out at the link below!
New on the blog today is a tool that assists in determining wall rating requirements when you have a fire wall that intersects an exterior wall. IBC 706.5.1 gives two options for this condition, one of which is drawing an imaginary lot line between the two exterior walls. Check it out at the link below!
After a really nice response on the fire and smoke damper cheatsheet I have created a questionnaire tool that makes the process way easier. You answer a series of yes/no questions and the tool kicks out the damper requirement and code reference! Enter your info below to checkout the tool...