Reply To: Inspection – 2 apartments over an insurance business

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Vicki VeldmanVicki Veldman

You will be using mainly Part 2 of the Fire Code.

Since the building has two residential units, you would refer to the application of Section 9.8, Two Unit Residential Occupancies.  This building does not meeting the application for Section 9.8 so Retrofit does not apply.

You should still assess whether there is an acceptable separation between:

– the units and the remainder of the building;

– the exit and the remainder of the building, and

– the residential occupancy and other major occupancies (commercial unit below);

– the commercial unit and the exit for the residential units if applicable.

If there are concerns you would have the option of considering writing an F order.  Remember that existing lath and plaster or drywall (doesn’t matter if it is Type X or not and doesn’t matter the thickness)  that is continuous and in good repair is accepted to have a one hour fire resistance rating.  Using Section 9.5’s requirement for separation between other Major Occupancies as a guide, you would only need one hour between the insurance office and the residential occupancy including their exit, and 30 minutes between the two apartments and 30 minute rating between the residential exit and the remainder of the residential occupancy.

If there is only one exit for the two units and it is a shared exit, check to see if there are self closing devices on the doors since they are in a dead end corridor.  Once again, you don’t have Retrofit powers to ask for this but would be included in a F order or at the very least letting interested parties know.

If existing fire separations are damaged, which would include plywood access panels, you would use part 2 to write up damaged fire separations.

If doors are damaged, or not closing and latching after each use if they have self closing device you would use Part 2.

You would use Part 2 to get smoke alarms and Part 6 to ensure they are maintained.

Carbon monoxide alarms may be required and you would use Part 2 for installation and Part  6 for maintenance.  If the apartments have a wall or ceiling that touches any part of a service room that has a fuel fired appliance they would need a CO alarm or if they have a fuel fired appliance in the apartments.

Part 6 for installation of fire extinguishers, 2A10BC or larger and maintenance of them.

Part 2 for maintenance of existing exit signage and emergency lighting.  A building that size likely doesn’t  have exit signs as not required in building code.  If they are there they have to be maintained whether required or not.

Part 2 for temporary wiring being used as permanent wiring.  ESA Order for further electrical concerns if you are sure there is an electrical problem and an email to ESA if you are not sure if the problem is a violation of the Electrical Code and ask them to follow up.

Very common in offices to have space heaters and also very common to have extension cord use.

Hope this helps/wasn’t too much 🙂