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Author(s): Ron Cote. Published on March 1, 2016.

Look Ahead

Hazardous materials, integrated fire protection systems, and more: Previews of revisions to the 2018 NFPA 101


EACH NEW EDITION OF NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, addresses state-of-the-art subjects not codified in previous editions. In the November/December issue of NFPA Journal, I addressed First Revisions (FRs) proposed for the 2018 edition for tub and shower grab bars. Four additional, substantial subject areas are being introduced for the 2018 edition and each, like the grab bar provisions, requires occupancy chapter adoption to apply to a specific occupancy.

Hazardous materials. The Chapter 4 goals are being expanded to include the provision of reasonable life safety during emergencies involving hazardous materials. Each occupancy technical committee considered, at its First Draft meeting last August, the adoption of text that would regulate hazardous materials in two ways: to require the protection of hazardous materials as detailed in seven other NFPA standards, and to require the egress provisions of those specialized documents for hazardous materials to be compared to the egress requirements of NFPA 101 and for the stricter to be applied. Reviewers can follow the process in the NFPA 101 First Draft Report, beginning in early March, via FR-3021 on 4.1.3, FR-5019 on 7.12, FR-2507 on, and throughout the occupancy chapters. For assembly occupancies, for example, see FR-17 on, FR-18 on, FR-19 on, and FR-20 on

Integrated fire protection systems. A new provision is being added to Chapter 9 of the Life Safety Code to permit the occupancy chapters to require fire protection systems that are integrated with other building systems to be tested according to NFPA 4, Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing. To follow the process in the NFPA 101 First Draft Report, see FR-1007 on 9.11.4 and each occupancy chapter. For mercantile occupancies, for example, see FR-5509 on 36.7.8 and FR-5510 on 37.7.8.

Risk analysis for mass notification. Another provision is being added to Chapter 9 to permit the occupancy chapters to require a risk analysis for mass notification systems in accordance with the requirements of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. An emergency communications system would then be required where the need for such is identified by the risk analysis, commensurate with the likelihood, vulnerability, magnitude, and potential consequences of emergencies. To follow the process in the NFPA 101 First Draft Report, see FR-1006 on 9.14 and each occupancy chapter. For new educational occupancies, for example, see FR-2023 on

Construction, alteration, and demolition operations. A provision is being added to Chapter 4 of the Life Safety Code to permit the occupancy chapters to require construction, alteration, and demolition operations to be in accordance with NFPA 241, Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations. Currently, the only occupancies requiring compliance with NFPA 241 are healthcare and ambulatory healthcare facilities. Based on FRs prepared by the occupancy technical committees, all occupancies other than one- and two-family dwellings will require compliance with NFPA 241. To follow the process in the NFPA 101 First Draft Report, see FR-3047 on and each occupancy chapter.

Some of the technical committees chose not to prepare FRs on one or more of the above topics as they judged the requirement to be inappropriate for their occupancy. Other technical committees were interested in a subject but were unable to achieve the consensus needed to create an FR; in some cases those committees created Committee Inputs (CIs). CIs make no change at the First Draft phase of the revision process but permit the subject to be reconsidered during the Second Draft preparation phase. Please study the FRs and CIs in the First Draft Report and submit Public Comments by the May 16 closing date.

RON COTÉ, P.E. is principal life safety engineer at NFPA.