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1 Eugene A. Cable, P.E. Life Safety, Fire Protection Engineering, and JCAHO Consultants 412 Horse Heaven Road Averill Park, New York 12018 (518) 794-7237.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Eugene A. Cable, P.E. Life Safety, Fire Protection Engineering, and JCAHO Consultants 412 Horse Heaven Road Averill Park, New York 12018 (518) 794-7237."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Eugene A. Cable, P.E. Life Safety, Fire Protection Engineering, and JCAHO Consultants 412 Horse Heaven Road Averill Park, New York (518)

2 2 The Authority Having Jurisdiction and Unreasonable Findings The Code is only as good as the AHJ The Code is only as good as the AHJ When does an AHJ decision become unreasonable When does an AHJ decision become unreasonable How to help him or her be reasonable How to help him or her be reasonable What are the available options to attempt correction; to dispute/appeal a decision What are the available options to attempt correction; to dispute/appeal a decision

3 3 The Code is only as good as the AHJ

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7 7 If An AHJ Says: I Want these doors changed I Want these doors changed

8 8 If An AHJ Says: I Want these doors changed I Want these doors changed I think the Code requires ¾ hour fire doors here, and this much wire glass would not pass I think the Code requires ¾ hour fire doors here, and this much wire glass would not pass

9 9 If An AHJ Says: I Want these doors changed I Want these doors changed I think the Code requires ¾ hour fire doors here, and this much wire glass would not pass I think the Code requires ¾ hour fire doors here, and this much wire glass would not pass This should be a 1-hour corridor as is true for all corridors in a hospital, these doors must be at least 20 minute rated and self-closing. This should be a 1-hour corridor as is true for all corridors in a hospital, these doors must be at least 20 minute rated and self-closing.

10 10 If An AHJ Says: I Want these doors changed I Want these doors changed I think the Code requires ¾ hour fire doors here, and this much wire glass would not pass I think the Code requires ¾ hour fire doors here, and this much wire glass would not pass This should be a 1-hour corridor as is true for all corridors in a hospital, these doors must be at least 20 minute rated and self-closing. This should be a 1-hour corridor as is true for all corridors in a hospital, these doors must be at least 20 minute rated and self-closing. “I’m the authority.. And I get what I want” “I’m the authority.. And I get what I want”

11 11 “The AHJ Can do whatever they want” “The AHJ Can do whatever they want” “ I don’t want to hold up our Occupancy Permit” “ I don’t want to hold up our Occupancy Permit” “ For $10,000 we will reverse the doors and keep the project moving” “ For $10,000 we will reverse the doors and keep the project moving” “ The Fire Marshal says put one in here and two over here” “ The Fire Marshal says put one in here and two over here” “ He wouldn’t approve it unless we.. He’s a real ___ ” “ He wouldn’t approve it unless we.. He’s a real ___ ”

12 12 Definition : AHJ NFPA 101 (2009): Section 3.2.2* “An organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure” NFPA 101 (2009): Section 3.2.2* “An organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure” (Annex page 316) “statutory authority” “insurance purposes” “property owners” “commanding officer” “ departmental official” (Annex page 316) “statutory authority” “insurance purposes” “property owners” “commanding officer” “ departmental official”

13 13 Definition : AHJ IBC Section 202: Building Official. The officer or other designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code, or a duly authorized representative. IBC Section 202: Building Official. The officer or other designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code, or a duly authorized representative. Building Official. The officer or other designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of 780 CMR, or a duly authorized representative.

14 14 AHJs and level of authority Authority by Law - legislation– statutory: Authority by Law - legislation– statutory: Building Inspector – new construction State Fire Marshal - existing features City Fire Marshal - existing features Dept of Health - new and existing OSHA – new and existing

15 15 AHJs and level of authority Authority by Ownership – the boss Authority by Ownership – the boss Property owners Organizational Executive – Safety Officer Governmental department Commanding Officer

16 16 AHJs and level of authority Authority voluntarily granted by your organization Authority voluntarily granted by your organization CMS – for Federal dollars TJC – for accreditation Insurance Services – better premiums Insurance Services – better premiums Consultants Consultants ITM contractors ITM contractors

17 17 ASHE Conference July Gary Slack Why are Codes and Standards so often: ● Misunderstood? ● Mis-interpreted? ● Mis-applied? “Because, the developers of the codes and standards are generally not the code enforcers!”

18 18 The Code is only as good as the AHJ Code is weak in some areas / wording is confusing or issue not adequately addressed Code is weak in some areas / wording is confusing or issue not adequately addressed Example: NFPA 101 (2000) Section , “Egress shall be permitted through an adjacent compartment (s), but shall not require return through the compartment of fire origin.”

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20 20 The Code is only as good as the AHJ Code is weak in some areas / wording is confusing or issue not adequately addressed Code is weak in some areas / wording is confusing or issue not adequately addressed Code language is sometimes purposely vague to allow the local AHJ to make the decision – based on local conditions Code language is sometimes purposely vague to allow the local AHJ to make the decision – based on local conditions NFPA 101 (2009) Section , Bulletin boards, posters, and paper attached directly to the wall shall not exceed 20 percent of the aggregate wall area to which they are applied.”

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23 23 The Code is only as good as the AHJ Code is weak in some areas / wording is confusing or issue not adequately addressed Code is weak in some areas / wording is confusing or issue not adequately addressed Code language is sometimes purposely vague to allow or require that the local AHJ make the decision – based on local conditions Code language is sometimes purposely vague to allow or require that the local AHJ make the decision – based on local conditions The AHJ takes on a large responsibility to interpret and judge code compliance for the good of society - and they deserve our respect. The AHJ takes on a large responsibility to interpret and judge code compliance for the good of society - and they deserve our respect.

24 24 When does an AHJ decision become unreasonable?

25 25 When Does an AHJ Decision become unreasonable? When a decision negates Code requirements When a decision negates Code requirements Take sprinklers out of electrical rooms Take sprinklers out of electrical rooms Disconnect fire alarm system from monitoring station Disconnect fire alarm system from monitoring station Order that smoke detector “confirmation feature” be activated for all smoke detectors

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29 29 CHARLTON HOSPITAL Fall River, Massachusetts Tony Pacheco, Bob Crepeau Tony Pacheco, Bob Crepeau City Fire Marshal orders computer room FM 200 extinguishing system manual pull station discharge out of room and to add a 15 second delay to manual discharge. (Yellow flag) City Fire Marshal orders computer room FM 200 extinguishing system manual pull station discharge out of room and to add a 15 second delay to manual discharge. (Yellow flag) Negates Code (NFPA 2001 clean agent), but reasonable? Negates Code (NFPA 2001 clean agent), but reasonable? “I’m the authority.. And I get what I want” (Red flag) “I’m the authority.. And I get what I want” (Red flag)

30 30 NFPA 2001 (2008) The normal manual control(s) for actuation shall be located for easy accessibility at all times, including at the time of a fire. The manual control(s) shall be of distinct appearance and clearly recognizable for the purpose intended. Operation of any control shall cause the complete system to operate in its normal fashion The normal manual control(s) for actuation shall be located for easy accessibility at all times, including at the time of a fire. The manual control(s) shall be of distinct appearance and clearly recognizable for the purpose intended. Operation of any control shall cause the complete system to operate in its normal fashion For clean agent extinguishing systems, a pre- discharge alarm and time delay, sufficient to allow personnel evacuation prior to discharge, shall be provided. For hazard areas subject to fast growth fires, where the provision of a time delay would seriously increase the threat to life and property, a time delay shall be permitted to be eliminated For clean agent extinguishing systems, a pre- discharge alarm and time delay, sufficient to allow personnel evacuation prior to discharge, shall be provided. For hazard areas subject to fast growth fires, where the provision of a time delay would seriously increase the threat to life and property, a time delay shall be permitted to be eliminated. Barry Chase, NFPA Barry Chase, NFPA

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32 32 When does an AHJ decision become unreasonable? When a decision is beyond code requirements and it is costly in terms of installation and down-the-road maintenance When a decision is beyond code requirements and it is costly in terms of installation and down-the-road maintenance Additional smoke detectors Additional smoke detectors Add automatic wet standpipes/manual standpipe Add automatic wet standpipes/manual standpipe Add a Fire pump Add a Fire pump Wants 2-hour fire barrier rather than 1-hour Wants 2-hour fire barrier rather than 1-hour

33 33 Costly? Good engineering is solving a problem at the least cost. Good engineering is solving a problem at the least cost. Additional cost with no gain is bad engineering Additional cost with no gain is bad engineering Cost impact on other hospitals/ facility managers? Cost impact on other hospitals/ facility managers?

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38 38 Fire Marshal requires fire watch, beyond code: Reasonable? Eric Ellis, Eric Ellis, Fire watch during non-occupied night hours, for one month, every two hours. Fire watch during non-occupied night hours, for one month, every two hours. Impact for other Maine Facilities? Impact for other Maine Facilities? Beyond Code but reasonable? LSC and TJC do NOT require a fire watch when building is vacated Beyond Code but reasonable? LSC and TJC do NOT require a fire watch when building is vacated

39 39 Local Fire Marshal requires sprinkler system beyond code: Reasonable? Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH Lebanon, NH New Parking structure, 5 stories, open air New Parking structure, 5 stories, open air From the local Fire Marshal’s perspective “ a potential car fire warranted a sprinkler system” (Y) From the local Fire Marshal’s perspective “ a potential car fire warranted a sprinkler system” (Y)

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43 43 Local Fire Marshal requires sprinkler system: Reasonable? NFPA 101 – no NFPA 101 – no NFPA 88 - no NFPA 88 - no IBC - no IBC - no Beyond Code but reasonable? LSC, TJC, and NFPA Codes do NOT require a sprinkler system in open parking structures Cost? Impact on other facilities? Cost? Impact on other facilities?

44 44 How to help him or her be reasonable

45 45 How to help him or her be reasonable Request information, Request information, Be attentive to hear the AHJ’s perspective Be attentive to hear the AHJ’s perspective “ Help me to understand” “ Educate me” “ Educate me” Request Code references Request Code references Offer any official interpretations you are aware of Offer any official interpretations you are aware of Better to do this when the issue comes up, Should only offer documentation from an AHJ, HITF, EC News. Better to do this when the issue comes up, Should only offer documentation from an AHJ, HITF, EC News.

46 46 How to help him or her be reasonable Postpone action/decisions to give both sides time to think through the situation. Postpone action/decisions to give both sides time to think through the situation.

47 47 What are the available options to attempt correction; to dispute/appeal a decision

48 48 Options to attempt correction: 1 st, Help him or her to be reasonable 1 st, Help him or her to be reasonable 2 nd, Postpone and revisit the issue 2 nd, Postpone and revisit the issue 3 rd, ask the AHJ for the appeal procedures and to whom, first level request for review 3 rd, ask the AHJ for the appeal procedures and to whom, first level request for review 4 th, Follow appeal procedures 4 th, Follow appeal procedures The AHJ is professional and should not mind the appeal (On few appeals to VACO 25% time I was wrong) The AHJ is professional and should not mind the appeal (On few appeals to VACO 25% time I was wrong)

49 49 Options to attempt correction: Depends on the AHJ and their authority: Depends on the AHJ and their authority: Building codes – definite appeal procedure to the Board of Appeals Fire Dept – Fire Chief, then board of appeals, maybe City Manager/City Council TJC – call to George Mills, Clarification process CMS- State CMS office, Wash DC Jim Merrill

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52 52 DFCI Successful appeal Fire alarm system replacement - Simplex Fire alarm system replacement - Simplex MASS Code for high-rise REQUIRED evacuation automatic voice floor of, floor above and floor below – no exceptions MASS Code for high-rise REQUIRED evacuation automatic voice floor of, floor above and floor below – no exceptions 1. DFCI asked BFD to approve automatic voice announcement to match the fire plan, rather than the evacuation announcement. 1. DFCI asked BFD to approve automatic voice announcement to match the fire plan, rather than the evacuation announcement.

53 53 DFCI Successful appeal BFD, Paul Donga, FPE plan reviewer, agreed and encouraged the design approach but denied the request and referred DFCI to City Code enforcement (Bldg Dept) 2. BFD, Paul Donga, FPE plan reviewer, agreed and encouraged the design approach but denied the request and referred DFCI to City Code enforcement (Bldg Dept) 3. The Bldg Dept (Mark Anderson) required a special permit to request the variance. $$$ DFCI submitted the Permit request for a waiver to MASS Code fire alarm notification, the Boston BLDG dept denied the request referred DFCI to State Board of Appeals. 3. The Bldg Dept (Mark Anderson) required a special permit to request the variance. $$$ DFCI submitted the Permit request for a waiver to MASS Code fire alarm notification, the Boston BLDG dept denied the request referred DFCI to State Board of Appeals.

54 54 DFCI Successful appeal Appeals Board Hearing requested, 3 member board heard DFCI’s appeal, and 4. Appeals Board Hearing requested, 3 member board heard DFCI’s appeal, and 5. A Variance was granted allowing DFCI a fire alarm system for “defend in place” private mode and voice announcements both automatic and by operator if needed. 5. A Variance was granted allowing DFCI a fire alarm system for “defend in place” private mode and voice announcements both automatic and by operator if needed. Ed Lewicki, DFCI, “ Get the variance and design the fire alarm system to match patient care needs, you don’t have to live with a canned fire alarm system that confuses everyone and conflicts with your fire plan. Ed Lewicki, DFCI, “ Get the variance and design the fire alarm system to match patient care needs, you don’t have to live with a canned fire alarm system that confuses everyone and conflicts with your fire plan.

55 55 IBC/ MASS Building Code 7 th Edition CMR BOARD OF APPEALS State Building Code Appeals Board. Except for actions taken pursuant to 780 CMR 121.0, whoever is aggrieved by an interpretation, order, requirement, direction or failure to act under 780 CMR....may appeal directly to the State Building Code Appeals Board or may appeal first to a local or regional building code appeals board and if aggrieved thereby he may then appeal to the State Building Code Appeals Board as provided in 780 CMR 122.0

56 56 IBC, MASS Code 7th Edition Exception. In Group I-1 and I-2 occupancies, the alarm shall sound in a constantly attended area and a general occupant notification shall be broadcast over the overhead page.

57 57 Conclusion Only you are “holding” the AHJ accountable, no one else is watching Only you are “holding” the AHJ accountable, no one else is watching Listen, ask to be educated, and use the code to encourage the AHJ to be reasonable Listen, ask to be educated, and use the code to encourage the AHJ to be reasonable Lastly, know you always have an appeal process available, you might need it to practice good engineering. Lastly, know you always have an appeal process available, you might need it to practice good engineering.


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