If you are a parent (or Grandparent like me) you get bombarded with questions from the little ones. At times it may seem a bit much but then you realize all they want are answers.  Well as a Professional Engineering and Architectural firm we get questions too. We do not get tired of the questions because we know our clients are also just looking for answers.  One of the questions we get regularly is “Do I really have to fire sprinkler my space?”

A few weeks ago we got that question again from a tenant who had leased a large vacant warehouse to use as an event center. They weren’t sure what code issues needed to be addressed for the build-out of the space, so they called the local Building & Fire Departments. The inspectors came out, toured the space and gave them a list of upgrades that would be needed for the new use. At the top of the list was adding a fire sprinkler system to the non-sprinklered space. Due to the complexity of work the quote they received was $85,000.00.

PDMi was recommended to the tenant by their realtor, who had been to one of Dan Gagen’s seminars about Building Code options for changing use of an existing building. Dan told them…

  • The local code officials were not totally incorrect in saying that a sprinkler system is required, because unless a little known design option in the Building Code is used to mitigate having to comply with all current code requirements, a sprinkler system would be required.
  • The option to mitigate code compliance items for changing use of an existing building involves technical evaluation and scoring of the building under (19) different life safety categories. If the building passes the evaluation certain code requirements are waived.  This allows for economical reuse of some existing buildings while still assuring public safety.

To make a long story short, we did the evaluation and the building passed without having to add a sprinkler system. We completed construction documents and submitted them along with the evaluation & scoring documentation to the state and received the Certificate of Design Release (CDR) confirming that the project can be built without a fire sprinkler.

PDMi enjoys helping clients with these types of projects; give us a call if we can be of any help on your next project.

Leave a Reply