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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 13. Housing
Agency 5. Department of Housing and Community Development
Chapter 63. Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code
1/25/2020

13VAC5-63-240. Chapter 9 Fire Protection Systems.

A. Add the following to the list of terms in Section 902.1 of the IBC:

Emergency communication equipment.

Emergency public safety personnel.

B. Change Section 903.2.1.2 of the IBC to read:

903.2.1.2 Group A-2. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for fire areas containing Group A-2 occupancies and intervening floors of the building where one of the following conditions exists:

1. The fire area exceeds 5,000 square feet (464.5m2).

2. The fire area has an occupant load of 100 or more in night clubs or 300 or more in other Group A-2 occupancies.

3. The fire area is located on a floor other than a level of exit discharge serving such occupancies.

4. The fire area contains a multitheater complex.

C. Change Item 2 of Section 903.2.1.3 of the IBC to read:

2. In Group A-3 occupancies other than places of religious worship, the fire area has an occupant load of 300 or more.

D. Change Section 903.2.3 of the IBC to read:

903.2.3 Group E. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group E occupancies as follows:

1. Throughout all Group E fire areas greater than 20,000 square feet (1858 m2) in area.

2. Throughout every portion of educational buildings below the lowest level of exit discharge serving that portion of the building.

Exception: An automatic sprinkler system is not required in any area below the lowest level of exit discharge serving that area where every classroom throughout the building has at least one exterior exit door at ground level.

E. Add Exception 4 to Section 903.2.6 to read:

4. An automatic sprinkler system shall not be required for open-sided or chain link-sided buildings and overhangs over exercise yards 200 square feet (18.58 m2) or less in Group I-3 facilities, provided such buildings and overhangs are of noncombustible construction.

F. Change Section 903.2.7 of the IBC to read:

903.2.7 Group M. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout buildings containing a Group M occupancy where one of the following conditions exists:

1. A Group M fire area exceeds 12,000 square feet (1115 m2).

2. A Group M fire area is located more than three stories above grade plane.

3. The combined area of all Group M fire areas on all floors, including any mezzanines, exceeds 24,000 square feet (2230 m2).

G. Change Section 903.2.8 of the IBC to read:

903.2.8 Group R. An automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3 shall be provided throughout all buildings with a Group R fire area, except for Group R-2 occupancies listed in the exceptions to this section when the necessary water pressure or volume, or both, for the system is not available:

Exceptions:

1. Group R-2 occupancies that do not exceed two stories, including basements that are not considered as a story above grade, and with a maximum of 16 dwelling units per fire area. Each dwelling unit shall have at least one door opening to an exterior exit access that leads directly to the exits required to serve that dwelling unit.

2. Group R-2 occupancies where all dwelling units are not more than two stories above the lowest level of exit discharge and not more than one story below the highest level of exit discharge of exits serving the dwelling unit and a two-hour fire barrier is provided between each pair of dwelling units. Each bedroom of a dormitory or boarding house shall be considered a dwelling unit under this exception.

H. Add Section 903.3.1.2.2 to the IBC to read:

903.3.1.2.2 Attics. Sprinkler protection shall be provided for attics in buildings of Type III, IV or V construction in Group R-2 occupancies that are designed or developed and marketed to senior citizens 55 years of age or older and in Group I-1 occupancies in accordance with Section 7.2 of NFPA 13R.

I. Add Section 903.3.5.1.1 to the IBC and change Section 903.3.5.2 of the IBC to Section 903.3.5.1.2; both to read as follows:

903.3.5.1.1 Limited area sprinkler systems. Limited area sprinkler systems serving fewer than 20 sprinklers on any single connection are permitted to be connected to the domestic service where a wet automatic standpipe is not available. Limited area sprinkler systems connected to domestic water supplies shall comply with each of the following requirements:

1. Valves shall not be installed between the domestic water riser control valve and the sprinklers.

Exception: An approved indicating control valve supervised in the open position in accordance with Section 903.4.

2. The domestic service shall be capable of supplying the simultaneous domestic demand and the sprinkler demand required to be hydraulically calculated by NFPA 13, NFPA 13R, or NFPA 13D.

903.3.5.1.2 Residential combination services. A single combination water supply shall be allowed provided that the domestic demand is added to the sprinkler demand as required by NFPA 13R.

J. Delete Section 903.3.5.2 of the IBC and Sections 903.3.8 through 903.3.8.5 of the IBC.

K. Change Section 903.4.2 of the IBC to read:

903.4.2 Alarms. Approved audible devices shall be connected to every automatic sprinkler system. Such sprinkler water-flow alarm devices shall be activated by water flow equivalent to the flow of a single sprinkler of the smallest orifice size installed in the system. Alarm devices shall be provided on the exterior of the building in an approved location. Where a fire alarm system is installed, actuation of the automatic sprinkler system shall actuate the building fire alarm system. Group R-2 occupancies that contain 16 or more dwelling units or sleeping units, any dwelling unit or sleeping unit two or more stories above the lowest level of exit discharge, or any dwelling unit or sleeping unit more than one story below the highest level of exit discharge of exits serving the dwelling unit or sleeping unit shall provide a manual fire alarm box at an approved location to activate the suppression system alarm.

L. Change Section 905.3.1 of the IBC to read:

905.3.1 Height. Class III standpipe systems shall be installed throughout buildings where the floor level of the highest story is located more than 30 feet (9144 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access, or where the floor level of the lowest story is located more than 30 feet (9144 mm) below the highest level of fire department vehicle access.

Exceptions:

1. Class I standpipes are allowed in buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2.

2. Class I manual wet standpipes are allowed in buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.3.1 or Section 903.3.2 and where the highest floor is located not more than 150 feet (45,720 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.

3. Class I manual standpipes are allowed in open parking garages where the highest floor is located not more than 150 feet (45,720 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access.

4. Class I manual dry standpipes are allowed in open parking garages that are subject to freezing temperatures, provided that the hose connections are located as required for Class II standpipes in accordance with Section 905.5.

5. Class I standpipes are allowed in basements equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system.

6. In determining the lowest level of fire department vehicle access, it shall not be required to consider either of the following:

6.1. Recessed loading docks for four vehicles or less.

6.2. Conditions where topography makes access from the fire department vehicle to the building impractical or impossible.

M. Change Item 1 of Section 906.1 of the IBC to read:

1. In Groups A, B, E, F, H, I, M, R-1, R-4, and S occupancies.

Exceptions:

1. In Groups A, B, and E occupancies equipped throughout with quick response sprinklers, portable fire extinguishers shall be required only in locations specified in Items 2 through 6.

2. In Group I-3 occupancies, portable fire extinguishers shall be permitted to be located at staff locations and the access to such extinguishers shall be permitted to be locked.

N. Change Section 907.2.1.1 of the IBC to read:

907.2.1.1 System initiation in Group A occupancies with an occupant load of 1,000 or more and in certain night clubs. Activation of the fire alarm in Group A occupancies with an occupant load of 1,000 or more and in night clubs with an occupant load of 300 or more shall initiate a signal using an emergency voice and alarm communications system in accordance with Section 907.5.2.2.

Exception: Where approved, the prerecorded announcement is allowed to be manually deactivated for a period of time, not to exceed three minutes, for the sole purpose of allowing a live voice announcement from an approved, constantly attended location.

O. Add Section 907.2.2.2 to the IBC to read:

907.2.2.2 Higher education laboratories. An automatic fire alarm and detection system shall be provided in Group B occupancies where an increase in hazardous materials is permitted in accordance with Section 430.

P. Change Section 907.2.3 of the IBC to read:

907.2.3 Group E. A manual fire alarm system that activates the occupant notification system meeting the requirements of Section 907.5 and installed in accordance with Section 907.6 shall be installed in Group E occupancies. When automatic sprinkler systems or smoke detectors are installed, such systems or detectors shall be connected to the building fire alarm system.

Exceptions:

1. A manual fire alarm system is not required in Group E occupancies with an occupant load of 50 or less.

2. Manual fire alarm boxes are not required in Group E occupancies where all of the following apply:

2.1. Interior corridors are protected by smoke detectors.

2.2. Auditoriums, cafeterias, gymnasiums, and similar areas are protected by heat detectors or other approved detection devices.

2.3. Shops and laboratories involving dusts or vapors are protected by heat detectors or other approved detection devices.

3. Manual fire alarm boxes shall not be required in Group E occupancies where the building is equipped throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1, the occupant notification system will activate on sprinkler water flow and manual activation is provided from a normally occupied location.

Q. Add an exception to Section 907.5.2.1.1 of the IBC to read:

Exception: Sound pressure levels in Group I-3 occupancies shall be permitted to be limited to only the notification of occupants in the affected smoke compartment.

R. Change Section 909.6 of the IBC to read:

909.6 Pressurization method. When approved by the building official, the means of controlling smoke shall be permitted by pressure differences across smoke barriers. Maintenance of a tenable environment is not required in the smoke-control zone of fire origin.

S. Change Section 911.1.3 of the IBC to read:

911.1.3 Size. The fire command center shall be a minimum of 96 square feet (9 m2) in area with a minimum dimension of eight feet (2438 mm).

Exception: Where it is determined by the building official, after consultation with the fire chief, that specific building characteristics require a larger fire command center, the building official may increase the minimum required size of the fire command center up to 200 square feet (19 m2) in area with a minimum dimension of up to 10 feet (3048 mm).

T. Change Sections 912.4 and 912.4.2 of the IBC to read:

912.4 Access. Immediate access to fire department connections shall be provided without obstruction by fences, bushes, trees, walls or any other fixed or moveable object. Access to fire department connections shall be approved by the fire chief.

Exception: Fences, where provided with an access gate equipped with a sign complying with the legend requirements of this section and a means of emergency operation. The gate and the means of emergency operation shall be approved by the fire chief.

912.4.2 Clear space around connections. A working space of not less than 36 inches (762 mm) in width, 36 inches (914 mm) in depth and 78 inches (1981 mm) in height shall be provided in front of and to the sides of wall-mounted fire department connections and around the circumference of free-standing fire department connections, except as otherwise required or approved by the fire chief.

U. Replace Section 915 of the IBC with the following:

915.1 Carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide alarms shall comply with this section.

915.2 Group I or R. Group I or R occupancies located in a building containing a fuel-burning appliance or in a building that has an attached garage shall be equipped with single-station carbon monoxide alarms. The carbon monoxide alarms shall be listed as complying with UL 2034 and be installed and maintained in accordance with NFPA 720 and the manufacturer's instructions. An open parking garage, as defined in Chapter 2, or an enclosed parking garage ventilated in accordance with Section 404 of the IMC shall not be considered an attached garage.

Exception: Sleeping units or dwelling units that do not themselves contain a fuel-burning appliance or have an attached garage but that are located in a building with a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage, need not be equipped with single-station carbon monoxide alarms provided that:

1. The sleeping unit or dwelling unit is located more than one story above or below any story that contains a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage;

2. The sleeping unit or dwelling unit is not connected by duct work or ventilation shafts to any room containing a fuel-burning appliance or to an attached garage; and

3. The building is equipped with a common area carbon monoxide alarm system.

915.3 Group E. Classrooms in E occupancies located in a building containing a fuel-burning appliance or in a building that has an attached garage or small engine or vehicle shop shall be equipped with single-station carbon monoxide alarms. The carbon monoxide alarms shall be listed as complying with UL 2034 and be installed and maintained in accordance with NFPA 720 and the manufacturer's instructions. An open parking garage, as defined in Chapter 2, or an enclosed parking garage ventilated in accordance with Section 404 of the IMC shall not be considered an attached garage.

Exception: Classrooms that do not themselves contain a fuel-burning appliance or have an attached garage but are located in a building with a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage, need not be equipped with single-station carbon monoxide alarms provided that:

1. The classroom is located more than 100 feet from the fuel burning appliance or attached garage or located more than one story above or below any story which contains a fuel-burning appliance or attached garage; and

2. The classroom is not connected by duct work or ventilation shafts to any room containing a fuel-burning appliance.

915.4 Carbon monoxide detection systems. Carbon monoxide detection systems, which include carbon monoxide detectors and audible notification appliances, installed and maintained in accordance with this section for carbon monoxide alarms and NFPA 720 shall be permitted. The carbon monoxide detectors shall be listed as complying with UL 2075.

V. Change the title of IBC Section 916 to read:

In-Building Emergency Communications Coverage.

W. Change Section 916.1 of the IBC to read:

916.1 General. For localities utilizing public safety wireless communications, dedicated infrastructure to accommodate and perpetuate continuous in-building emergency communication equipment to allow emergency public safety personnel to send and receive emergency communications shall be provided in new buildings and structures in accordance with this section.

Exceptions:

1. Buildings of Use Groups A-5, I-4, within dwelling units of R-2, R-3, R-4, R-5, and U.

2. Buildings of Types IV and V construction without basements, that are not considered unlimited area buildings in accordance with Section 507.

3. Above grade single story buildings of less than 20,000 square feet.

4. Buildings or leased spaces occupied by federal, state, or local governments, or the contractors thereof, with security requirements where the building official has approved an alternative method to provide emergency communication equipment for emergency public safety personnel.

5. Where the owner provides technological documentation from a qualified individual that the structure or portion thereof does not impede emergency communication signals.

X. Add Sections 916.1.1, 916.1.2, and 916.1.3 to the IBC to read:

916.1.1 Installation. The building owner shall install radiating cable, such as coaxial cable or equivalent. The radiating cable shall be installed in dedicated conduits, raceways, plenums, attics, or roofs, compatible for these specific installations as well as other applicable provisions of this code. The locality shall be responsible for the installation of any additional communication equipment required for the operation of the system.

916.1.2 Operations. The locality will assume all responsibilities for the operation and maintenance of the emergency communication equipment. The building owner shall provide sufficient operational space within the building to allow the locality access to and the ability to operate in-building emergency communication equipment.

916.1.3 Inspection. In accordance with Section 113.3, all installations shall be inspected prior to concealment.

Y. Add Section 916.2 to the IBC to read:

916.2 Acceptance test. Upon completion of installation, after providing reasonable notice to the owner or their representative, emergency public safety personnel shall have the right during normal business hours, or other mutually agreed upon time, to enter onto the property to conduct field tests to verify that the required level of radio coverage is present at no cost to the owner. Any noted deficiencies in the installation of the radiating cable or operational space shall be provided in an inspection report to the owner or the owner's representative.

Statutory Authority

§ 36-98 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 22, Issue 03, eff. November 16, 2005; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 14, eff. May 1, 2008; Volume 27, Issue 02, eff. March 1, 2011; Change in Effective Date, 27:5 VA.R. 534 November 8, 2010; amended, Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 12, eff. March 1, 2011; Volume 30, Issue 16, eff. July 14, 2014; Errata, 30:18 VA.R. 2362 May 5, 2014; amended, Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 18, eff. September 4, 2018.

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