Fire Safety

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"It shall be unlawful to occupy or let to another for occupancy or use any building, or portion thereof, for which a Certificate of Occupancy has not been issued where such Certificate is required by the Oakland Building Code."

from the California Housing Code

According to DK, most rooms should already have the correct occupancy type: Bocce ball court should already have Business Group B occupancy and stay that way. Ballroom should have Assembly (A-3?) occupancy and stay that way. And Cafe presumably has Business Group A-2 (food & drink) occupancy. A day spa (Backspace) should also fall under Business Group B (along with barber and beauty shops, and dentists). If we can verify the existing occupancy types for the different rooms, and make sure those do not change, we may not needs sprinklers and other fire code upgrades.

Approximate room sizes

  • Big black stage room: ~4,800 sqft without stage/backstage areas, or ~5,500 sqft with stage/backstage areas.
    Not sure those numbers are right. Based on floor plan, it should be 3779 sqft for the ballroom, 4116 sqft including the stage. --Patrik (talk) 01:40, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Bar room: ~1,900 sqft
    1991 sqft --Patrik (talk) 01:40, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Bocce ball court: 2,785 sqft
  • Total building floor plan: ~12,400
    footprint is ~12,280, total sqft is 21,720, according to Floorplan#Annotated_Floorplan

No other sizes are likely to be relevant to fire safety.

Use and occupancy classifications that may apply to us

Assembly Group A-2: Assembly uses intended for food and/or drink consumption including, but not limited to:

  • Restaurants, cafeterias and similar dining facilities (including associated commercial kitchens)
  • Taverns and bars
  • (others omitted)

Assembly Group A-3. Assembly uses intended for worship, recreation or amusement and other assembly uses not classified elsewhere in Group A including, but not limited to:

  • Art galleries
  • Community halls
  • Exhibition halls
  • Lecture halls
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • (others omitted)

Business Group B. Business Group B occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, for office, professional or service-type transactions, including storage of records and accounts. Business occupancies shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Educational occupancies for students above the 12th grade
  • Electronic data processing
  • Laboratories: testing, research and [SFM] instruction
  • Training and skill development not within a school oracademic program
  • (others omitted)

Group L occupancy includes the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, containing one or more laboratory suites as defined in Section 443.

Additional that probably don't apply to us:

  • Group E is education below grade 12.
  • Group F is factory/industrial/manufacturing
  • Group H is high-hazard
  • Group I is basically healthcare facilities, prisons and similar.
  • Group R is residential
  • Group S is storage: Places intended mostly for storing products/materials.
  • Group U is utility: Other places where humans don't stay for very long.

Source:

Laboratories

Since all of the occupancy stuff is implemented at the state level, we can imitate what people are doing in other places outside of Oakland.

Here are the guidelines for Stanford. It references tables 3D and 3E of the 1999 California Building Code. The equivalent tables in the 2013 building code are tables 307.1(1) and 307.1(2). Here's a copy of the tables: File:Maximum amounts of hazardous materials california building code 2013.pdf.

  • Flammable liquids: up to 30 gallon of Class IA (e.g. ether); up to 120 gallon of Class IB (acetone, ethanol, methanol, gasoline).
  • Flammable gas, liquified: up to 150lb
  • Flammable solid: up to 125lb
  • Oxidizers:
    • Up to 250lb Class 2 (e.g. peroxide (27.5-52%), calcium chlorate, calcium hypochlorite (<50%), chromic acid (chromium trioxide), magnesium perchlorate, nitric acid (40%-86%), potassium permanganate, sodium permanganate, sodium chlorite (<40%), sodium perchlorate, sodium peroxide).
    • Up to 10 lb Class 3 (e.g. ammonium dichromate, hydrogen peroxide (52-91%) nitric acid, fuming (>86%), perchloric acid solutions (60-72%), potassium bromate, potassium chlorate, potassium dichloroisocyanurate, sodium chlorate, sodium chlorite (>40%), sodium dichloroisocyanurate).
    • Up to 1lb Class 4 (ammonium perchlorate (>15 microns), ammonium permanganate, hydrogen peroxide (>91%), perchloric acid solutions (>72.5%), tetranitromethane)
  • Oxidizing gas, liquid: 150lb
  • Inert gas / Cryogenic inert gas: Not Limited

Definitions from the California building code:

  • LABORATORY: A room, building or area where the use and storage of hazardous material are utilized for testing, analysis, instruction, research or developmental activities.
  • LABORATORY SUITE: A laboratory suit is a space within a building or structure, which may include multiple laboratories, offices, storage, equipment rooms or similar support functions, where the aggregate quantities of hazardous material stored and used do not exceed the quantities set forth in Table 443.7.3. 1.
  • HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. Those chemicals or substances that are physical hazards or health hazards as classified in section 307 and the California Fire Code, whether the materials are in usable or waste condition.

It seems that Counter Culture Labs will be able to operate under use group B as long as they store less than the amounts outlined in the 307.1 tables: File:Maximum amounts of hazardous materials california building code 2013.pdf.

Construction requirements for existing buildings

All of the California requirements are here.

Still looking for Alameda and Oakland requirements.

Fire area

This is the definition of a "fire area" from the California Fire Code:

The aggregate floor area enclosed and bounded by fire walls, fire barriers, exterior walls or horizontal assemblies of a building. Areas of the building not provided with surrounding walls shall be included in the fire area if such areas are included within the horizontal projection of the roof or floor next above.

source (search for fire area).

This may be problematic. We need to figure out if any of the walls in the building constitute so-called fire walls or fire barriers. If not, then the whole building will require sprinkler systems. If the major walls separating the different areas constitute fire walls or fire barriers then we probably don't need any sprinklers.

Fire walls and fire barriers

These are defined in NFPA 221. They require you to create an account in order to read it. Someone should create an account and have a look.

Created an account, and still couldn't read it. They use some stupid "RealRead" Java applet - obviously with the sole purpose of preventing people from copying the whole document. --Patrik (talk) 02:03, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Here is a draft of the proposed 2015 code: http://www.nfpa.org/Assets/files/AboutTheCodes/221/221_A2014_BLD-BLC_FD_FirstDraftforballot.pdf

3.3.14.5 Fire Barrier Wall. A wall, other than a fire wall, having a fire resistance rating.
3.3.14.6* Fire Wall. A wall separating buildings or subdividing a building to prevent the spread of fire and having a fire resistance rating and structural stability.
3.3.14.7 High Challenge Fire Wall. A wall used to separate buildings or subdivide a building with high fire challenge occupancies, having enhanced fire resistance ratings and enhanced appurtenance protection to prevent the spread of fire, and having structural stability.

Given the type of construction, and the random openings left and right, I would highly doubt that the wall between the ballroom and Bocce ball court would classify as a fire wall. The walls for the upstairs disco might qualify - dunno. --Patrik (talk) 02:13, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Sprinkler systems

If the major walls separating the large rooms in the building count as either fire walls or fire barriers, then we don't need a sprinkler system. If they don't count as fire walls or fire barriers, then we'll need to outfit the entire building with sprinkler systems. This is based on the assumption that the building's use/occupancy classification will change. We need to figure out what it is now.


There are almost no requirements in the California Fire Code for existing buildings. Unfortunately the Alameda County Fire Code, being a changeset to the California Fire Code, adds the following to section 903.2.19:

When a change in occupancy or use to more hazardous occurs, the structure will be required to meet the requirements as set forth for new construction for the new occupancy classification.

Relevant section of Alameda County Fire Code

New buildings

Group A-2 (only if we run a bar/restaurant/eatery): An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group A-2 occupancies where one of the following conditions exists:

  1. The fire area exceeds 5,000 square feet (464 m2).
  2. The fire area has an occupant load of 100 or more.
  3. The fire area is located on a floor other than a level of exit discharge serving such occupancies.
  4. The structure exceeds 5,000 square feet (465 m2), contains more than one fire area containing a Group A-2 occupancy, and is separated into two or more buildings by fire walls of less than four hour fire resistance rating without openings.

Group A-3. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group A-3 occupancies where one of the following conditions exists:

  1. The fire area exceeds 12,000 square feet (1115 m2).
  2. The fire area has an occupant load of 300 or more.
  3. The fire area is located on a floor other than a level of exit discharge serving such occupancies.
  4. The structure exceeds 12,000 square feet (1155 m2), contains more than one fire area containing exhibition and display rooms, and is separated into two or more buildings by fire walls of less than four hour fire resistance rating without openings.

Existing buildings

  • 4603.4 Sprinkler systems. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided in existing buildings in accordance with Sections 4603.4.1 and 4603.4.2.
    • 4603.4.1 Pyroxylin plastics. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout existing buildings where cellulose nitrate film or pyroxylin plastics are manufactured, stored or handled in quantities exceeding 100 pounds (45 kg). Vaults located within buildings for the storage of raw pyroxylin shall be protected with an approved automatic sprinkler system capable of discharging 1.66 gallons per minute per square foot (68 L/min/m2) over the area of the vault.
    • 4603.4.2 Group I-2. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout existing Group I-2 fire areas. The sprinkler system shall be provided throughout the floor where the Group I-2 occupancy is located, and in all floors between the Group I-2 occupancy and the level of exit discharge.