2003 -- S 1132 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED
A N A C T
RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- FIRE SAFETY CODE
Introduced By: Senators Celona, Polisena, Lanzi, Algiere, and Irons
Date Introduced: June 10, 2003
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Legislative dedication. -- The general assembly and the State of Rhode
Island dedicate this act to all of the victims and the families of victims of “The Station” nightclub
fire of February 20, 2003, in West Warwick, Rhode Island. This act is also dedicated to all of the
public safety officials, fire, police, rescue, medical, emergency management, state, local, non-
profit, religious, and private sector personnel and volunteers, who assisted the victims and their
families and the survivors of the fire. It is the intent of the general assembly, that with the
passage of this act, Rhode Island will never again be the place of such a tragedy.
SECTION 2. Title 23 of the General Laws entitled "Health and Safety" is hereby
amended by adding thereto the following chapter:
COMPREHENSIVE FIRE SAFETY ACT
23-28.01-1. Short title. – This act shall be known and may be cited as "The
Comprehensive Fire Safety Act of 2003".
23-28.01-2. Legislative findings. -- The general assembly finds and declares that:
(a) Fires are a significant and preventable cause of the loss of life in the state;
(b) Catastrophic fires, while rare, have happened in the state with tragic loss of life;
(c) Fire safety and building codes can provide standards that substantially reduce the risk
of death, injury, and property damage caused by fires;
(d) Compliance with codes is critical to their being an effective means for achieving the
reduction of both risks and losses;
(e) Codes are more effective when they are comprehensive in their application, up-to-
date, and integrated;
(f) Rhode Island has a long history of developing, adopting, and implementing codes as
conditions in the state have changed and the means and practice of fire safety have evolved; and
(g) Rhode Island, in 2003, wishes in response to the tragic fire at “The Station” nightclub,
in West Warwick, to improve fire safety throughout the state.
23-28.01-3. Legislative purpose and intent. – The purposes of this act are to make
Rhode Island the safest state in the nation in terms of fire safety, to provide for the adoption and
implementation of an up-to-date comprehensive system of codes for fire safety and to foster a
culture of compliance with standards for fire safety, and to provide for amendments to title 23,
chapters 23-28.1, 23-28.2, 23-28.3, 23-28.6, 23-28.11, and 23-28.25, which are made in the
subsequent sections of the public law establishing this chapter.
23-28.01-4. Powers and duties. -- The powers necessary to implement the provisions of
this act shall be vested in the fire marshal, as provided for in chapter 23-28.2 as amended, who
may delegate authority as provided by law, and in the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and
Review, as provided for in chapter 23-28.3.
23-28.01-5. Planning and reporting. -- The system of fire safety codes, compliance,
enforcement, and education, shall be regularly reviewed in order to maintain the use of best
practices throughout Rhode Island and to plan for and implement professional, comprehensive,
efficient and effective fire safety measures in the state.
(a) The fire marshal shall, in conjunction with the fire safety code board of appeal and
review, the building code commission, the department of health, the economic development
corporation, the department of elementary and secondary education, and representatives of local
fire departments, prepare and approve by February 20, 2004, a comprehensive plan setting forth
goals and implementation measures for improving fire safety in Rhode Island, which plan shall
include recommendations regarding public, fire safety education. The plan may be periodically
reviewed and amended and shall be updated at least once every five (5) years. The plan, and any
amendments and updates, shall be submitted to the governor, the speaker of the house and the
president of the senate. A copy of the plan shall be provided to the secretary of state, and the
report shall be posted on the website of the fire marshal.
(b) The fire marshal shall submit a report on or before February 1, 2005, and annually not
later than February 1 in each year thereafter, to the governor, the speaker of the house and the
president of the senate on fire safety in Rhode Island, summarizing the incidence of fires in
Rhode Island, describing the status of fire safety efforts in Rhode Island and progress toward
meeting goals set forth in the five (5) year plan, and recommending actions for improving fire
safety. A copy of the report shall be provided to the secretary of state, and the report shall be
posted on the website of the fire marshal.
(c) In order to increase public information about fire risks in places of assembly, the fire
marshal shall make public the repeat and/or uncorrected fire safety code violations of all places of
assembly that are in special amusements buildings and provide this information on a website,
effective February 20, 2004.
23-28.01-6. Coordinated administration of Fire Safety and Building codes. – (a) The
fire marshal and the state building commissioner shall jointly advise by July 1, 2004, the joint
committee on the rehabilitation building code for existing buildings and structures, established by
chapter 23-29.1, with regard to any conflicts between fire safety codes and building codes and the
enforcement thereof. The joint committee shall develop comprehensive recommendations by
October 1, 2004, for resolving such conflicts, which recommendations shall be submitted to the
Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review and the State Building Code Standards
Committee, as appropriate, for consideration and for implementation by rule or agreement by July
(b) The Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review shall report by February 1, 2004,
to the general assembly with regard to all provisions of the general and public laws that will be
either superceded or made obsolete by the adoption of changes to the Fire Safety Code.
SECTION 3. Sections 23-28.1-1, 23-28.1-2, 23-28.1-5, 23-28.1-6 and 23-28.1-7 of the
General Laws in Chapter 23-28.1 entitled "Fire Safety Code-General Provisions" are hereby
amended to read as follows:
23-28.1-1. Short title. -- Chapters 28.1 -- 28.39 of this title, and all codes referenced
therein and adopted thereunder, shall be known and may be cited as the "Fire Safety Code".
23-28.1-2. Purposes – Rules of construction – General application. – (a) Effective
January 1, 2004, the Uniform Fire Code (NFPA 1) and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) of the
National Fire Protection Association, Inc., 2003 editions, with appendices, except as updated,
amended, altered or deleted and by the addition of certain provisions, as indicated in the rules and
regulations adopted by the fire safety code board, is hereby adopted as the "Rhode Island Fire
Safety Code". This code shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying
purposes and policies.
(b) The underlying purposes and policies of these chapters are:
(1) To simplify, clarify and modernize the law governing fires and fire prevention;
(2) To specify reasonable minimum requirements for fire safety in new and existing
buildings and facilities, except in private dwellings occupied by one (1), two (2) or three (3)
families, in the various cities or towns in this state; provided, however, this code shall provide
reasonable standards for the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in private
dwellings occupied by one (1), two (2), and three (3) families; provided, further, that after July 1,
2008, three (3) family dwellings shall be equipped with hard wired or supervised interconnected
UL approved wireless smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, in accordance with standards
established by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review; and
(3) Except as provided in subdivision (5) of this subsection, to permit the cities and
towns to enact ordinances and orders relating to fire safety provided those ordinances and orders
impose requirements equal to, additional to, or more stringent than those contained in this code
which ordinances and orders shall be effective only upon the approval by rule of the Fire Safety
Code Board of Appeal and Review. Any ordinance or order relating to fire safety enacted by any
city or town shall be prospective in its application and shall be enacted after public hearing. The
city or town shall cause printed notices of the time, place, and subject matter of the hearing to be
posted in three (3) public places in the city or town, for three (3) weeks next preceding the time of
the hearing, and shall advertise in a newspaper circulated in the city or town, if any there be, at
least once a week for the same period of time;
(4) Jurisdiction for the interpretation of any city or town ordinance or order relating to
safety shall be
in the division of fire safety vested in the Fire
Safety Code Board of Appeal
and Review; provided, however, that the responsibility for the enforcement of the ordinance or
order shall be with the local authorities and petitions for variations from the ordinance or order
shall be heard by the state fire safety board of appeal and review in the manner prescribed in
chapter 28.3 of this title; and
(5) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, no city or town may enact
any ordinance or order relating to the requirement for the handling of explosives pursuant to
28.28 23-28.28 or for the installation of, or specifications for,
the fire alarm sections of
code, the fire protection systems as prescribed by chapter
or for the
and display of commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics pursuant to chapter
of of this title, which
chapter shall exclusively govern the requirements for the installation of, and
for, fire protection systems,
and the handling of
explosives and possession and
display of commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics. All such ordinances or orders relating to the
for the installation of and specifications for such fire protection systems,
handling of explosives, or possession and display of commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics
heretofore enacted by any city or town are of no force and effect.
(c) In this code, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) Words in the singular number include the plural, and in the plural include the
(2) Words of the masculine gender include the feminine and the neuter and, when the
sense so indicates words of the neuter gender may refer to any gender.
23-28.1-5. Definitions. -- Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall,
purpose of this
code title, have the meanings indicated in this
section :; provided, however,
that the terms used in NFPA 1 (Uniform Fire Code), in NFPA 101 (Life Safety Code) and in such
other national codes as are authorized for adoption by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and
Review shall be given the definitions established in those codes unless another meaning is
provided for in this title and is essential to implementing the purposes of this title, and the Fire
Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review shall have authority to resolve any conflicts among
definitions in order to achieve the purposes of this title and/or provide for the efficient
administration of codes:
(1) Air supported structure. - A structural and mechanical system which is constructed of
high strength fabric or film and achieves its shape, stability, and support by pretensioning with
internal air pressure; air structures may be used for temporary applications.
(2) Alteration. - As applied to a building or structure means a change or rearrangement in
the structural parts or in the means of egress; or an enlargement, whether by extending on a side
or by increasing in height; or the moving from one location or position to another.
(3) Apartment house. - (i) The term "apartment house" shall mean a building containing
four (4) or more family units or apartments arranged such that a common means of egress is
shared by two (2) or more family units or apartments.
(ii) A family unit or apartment shall be that part of an apartment house that is arranged
for the use of one or more persons living and cooking together or alone as a single housekeeping
(4) Area of refuge. - The term "area of refuge" shall mean a ground area, reasonably
accessible from a building, of sufficient size and in safe condition for refuge by all building
occupants at a safe distance from the building. When used in relation to areas within buildings,
this term shall mean an area beyond a fire wall or smoke barrier of sufficient size to offer refuge
to all occupants on the same floor of the building.
(5) Attic. - The space between the ceiling beams of the top habitable story and the roof
(6) Attic (habitable). - A habitable attic is an attic which has a stairway as a means of
access and egress and in which the ceiling area at a height of seven and one-third feet (7 1/3')
above the attic floor is not more than one-third ( 1/3) the area of the floor next below.
(7) Authority having jurisdiction. - Unless specifically defined to the contrary in the
various occupancy chapters, the authority having jurisdiction shall be the state fire marshal, the
deputy fire marshal, and assistant deputies.
(8) Automatic. - As applied to fire protection devices, is a device or system providing an
emergency function without the necessity of a human intervention and activated as a result of a
predetermined temperature rise, rate of rise of temperature, or increase in the level of combustion
products, such as incorporated in an automatic sprinkler system, automatic fire door, etc.
(9) Automatic detecting device. - A device which automatically detects heat, smoke, or
other products of combustion.
(10) Automatic fire alarm system. - A manual fire alarm system containing automatic
detecting device(s) which actuates a fire alarm signal.
(11) Automatic fire door. - A fire door or other opening protective constructed and
arranged so that, if open, it shall close when subjected to:
(i) A predetermined temperature,
(ii) A predetermined rate of temperature rise, or
(iii) Smoke or other products of combustion.
(12) Automatic sprinkler. - A device, connected to a water supply system, that opens
automatically at a predetermined fixed temperature and disperses a spray of water.
(13) Automatic sprinkler system. - A sprinkler system, for fire protection purposes, is an
integrated system of underground and/or overhead piping designed in accordance with fire
protection engineering standards. The system includes a suitable water supply. The portion of the
system above ground is a network of specially or hydraulically designed piping installed in a
building, structure, or area, generally overhead, and to which automatic sprinklers are connected
in a systematic pattern. The system is usually activated by heat from a fire and discharges water
over the fire area.
(14) Automatic water supply. - Water supplied through a gravity or pressure tank or
automatically operated fire pumps, or from a direct connection to an approved municipal water
(15) Basement. - The term "basement" shall mean that portion of a building, the floor of
which is at least two feet (2') below the lowest adjacent ground level or sidewalk at any point, and
is below ground level for more than fifty percent (50%) of its area to a depth greater than fifty
percent (50%) of its clear story height (floor to ceiling). (See "Story," "Cellar.")
(16) Boarding homes. - The term "boarding home" shall mean a building used in whole
or in part as a place for the boarding and care of five (5) or more persons, excluding a family
group of a dwelling or home, and homes for the aged, but shall not include such places as are
defined under the term "hospital," "convalescent home," "nursing home," "foster home," "rest
(17) Building. - Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or
(18) Building (Existing). - Any structure erected prior to the adoption of the appropriate
code, or one for which a legal building permit has been issued.
(19) Business building. - The term "business building" shall mean a building used for or
planned for use in transacting business that does not involve the storage of stocks or goods,
wares, or merchandise in large quantities, except such as are incidental to display purposes;
included, among others shall be office buildings, civil administration activities, professional
services, testing, and research laboratories, radio stations, telephone exchanges, gasoline stations
having a storage capacity under twenty thousand (20,000) gallons, and similar establishments.
(20) Cellar. - That portion of a building the ceiling of which is completely below ground
level at all exterior walls. (See "Story," "Basement.")
(21) Child day care center. - The term "child day care center" shall mean a room or
group of rooms or spaces within a building used as a place for the care, guidance and/or
supervision of a total of five (5) or more children not of common parentage, which term shall
include all such places known as day nurseries, nursery schools, kindergarten schools, play
schools, and preschools.
(22) Chimney. - A primarily vertical enclosure containing one or more passageways.
(23) Chimney connector. - A pipe which connects a fuel burning appliance to a chimney.
(24) Classroom. - The term "classroom" shall mean a room used by a group of students
to receive instructions or pursue studies.
(25) Code. - The term "code" shall mean this Fire Safety Code established under the
provisions of section 23-28.1-1.
(26) Combustible. - The term "combustible" shall mean that which is not within the
category of "noncombustible," as defined in this section of the code.
(27) Convalescent home. - See intermediate care facility.
(28) Covered mall. - A covered or roofed interior area used as a pedestrian public way
and connecting buildings and/or a group of buildings housing individual or multiple tenants.
(29) Dumbwaiters. - A "dumbwaiter" is a lifting and lowering mechanism with a floor
area not exceeding nine (9) square feet, with a car top not more than four feet (4') above the car
floor, the capacity not to exceed five hundred pounds (500 lbs.), which is used exclusively for
carrying freight. No persons are permitted to ride on, in, or to step into the car.
(30) Elevator. - An elevator is a hoisting and lowering mechanism equipped with a car
platform which moves in guides in a substantially vertical direction which services two (2) or
more floors of a building or structure.
(31) Exit. - The term "exit" shall have the same meaning as "means of egress," as defined
in this section.
(32) Factory-built chimneys. - A chimney that is factory made, listed by a nationally
recognized testing or inspection agency, for venting gas appliances, gas incinerators, and solid or
liquid fuel burning appliances.
(33) Family day care home. - The term "family day care home" means any home other
than the child's home in which child day care in lieu of parental care and/or supervision is offered
at the same time to at least four (4) but not more than eight (8) children who are not relatives of
the care giver, and which is licensed by the state department of children, youth, and families and
subject to the department's regulations.
(34) Fire door. - The term "fire door" shall mean a door and its assembly with jamb, so
constructed and assembled in place as to have a certified fire-resistant rating of at least the herein
(35) Fire retardant treated wood. - (i) The term "fire retardant treated wood" shall mean
wood so treated by a pressure impregnation process as to reduce its combustibility. When
permitted as a structural element, fire retardant treated wood shall be tested in accordance with
Standards of N.F.P.A. 255, A.S.T.M.E.-84 and U.L. 723, and shall show a flamespread rating of
no greater than twenty-five (25) when exposed for a period of not less than thirty (30) minutes
with no evidence of significant progressive combustion. The material shall bear the identification
of an accredited authoritative testing agency showing the performance thereof.
(ii) When used as an interior finish, material fire retardant treated wood shall meet the
required flame spread ratings when tested in accordance with the test scale described in the
definition of flamespread.
(iii) Such material shall not be used on the exterior of buildings where it will be exposed
directly to the weather.
(36) Fire wall. - The term "fire wall" shall mean a wall of brick, reinforced concrete,
hollow masonry units or other approved noncombustible materials, which subdivides a building
or separates a building to restrict the spread of fire; and shall have sufficient structural stability
under fire conditions to allow collapse of construction on either side without collapse of the wall;
and shall be continuous from foundation to two feet eight inches (2'8") above the roof surface,
except the wall is permitted to terminate at the underside of the roof deck where the roof is of
noncombustible construction and is properly firestopped at the wall or the roof sheathing or deck
is constructed of approved noncombustible materials or approved fire-retardant treated wood and
the wall is properly firestopped at the deck for a distance of four feet (4') on both sides of the wall
and the roof covering has a minimum of a class C rating.
(37) Flame resistance. - The property of materials or combinations of component
materials which restricts the spread of flame as determined by the flame resistance tests specified
in this code.
(38) Flamespread. - The propagation of flame over a surface.
(39) Flamespread rating. - The measurement of flamespread on the surface of materials
or their assemblies as determined by tests conducted in compliance with recognized standards.
(40) Flamespread rating. - The term "flamespread rating" shall mean the classification of
materials in accordance with the method of testing the surface burning characteristics of building
materials as described in N.F.P.A. pamphlet 255, A.S.T.M.E.-84, and U.L. 723, in which asbestos
cement board rates zero (0) on the scale, and red oak lumber, one hundred (100).
(41) Flammable. - Subject to easy ignition and rapid flaming combustion.
(42) Floor furnace. - A self-contained, connected or vented furnace designed to be
suspended from the floor of the space being heated taking air for combustion outside this heated
space and with means for observing the flame and lighting the appliance from the space being
(43) Forced warm air furnace. - A furnace equipped with a blower to provide the primary
means for circulating air.
(44) Grade. - A reference plane representing the average of finished ground level
adjoining the building at all exterior walls.
(45) Grade hallway, grade lobby, grade passageway. - An enclosed hallway or corridor
that is an element of an exitway, terminating at a street or an open space or court communicating
with a street.
(46) Grandstand. - Any structure, except movable seating and sectional benches,
intended primarily to support individuals for the purposes of assembly, but this definition shall
not apply to the permanent seating in theatres, churches, auditoriums, and similar buildings.
(47) Group home I. - A "group home I" for children means a specialized facility for child
care and treatment in a dwelling or apartment owned, rented or leased by a public child-placing
agency, private licensed child-placing agency, a family and independent operator or private or
public organization which receives no more than eight (8) children for care both day and night. A
"group home I" shall be subject to the same fire and health regulations which apply to "homes for
the boarding of children" licensed by the state department of children, youth, and families with a
maximum total of eight (8) children as defined in chapter 28.13 of this title, sections 23-28.13-27
to 23-28.13-33, inclusive; provided, however, that the provisions of section 23-28.30-13 shall
also be applicable.
(48) Habitable space. - Space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking.
Bathrooms, toilet compartments, closets, halls, storage or utility space, and similar areas are not
considered habitable space.
(49) Habitable space, minimum height. - A clear height from finished floor to finished
ceiling of not less than seven and one-half feet (7 1/2'), except that in attics and top half stories
the height shall be not less than seven and one-third feet (7 1/3') over not less than one-third ( 1/3)
the area of the floor when used for sleeping, study, or similar activity.
(50) Habitable space, minimum size. - A space with a minimum dimension of seven feet
(7') and a minimum area of seventy square feet (70 sq. ft.) between enclosing walls or partitions,
exclusive of closet and storage spaces.
(51) Halogenated extinguishing system. - A system of pipes, nozzles, and an actuating
mechanism and a container of halogenated agent under pressure.
(52) Health care facilities. - A place, however named, which is established, offered,
maintained, or operated for the provision of organizing inpatient or ambulatory medical,
diagnostic, therapeutic, nursing, rehabilitative, or preventive care of persons with physical,
mental, or other disabling conditions or diseases; including, but not limited to, hospitals, skilled
nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities.
(53) Heating appliance. - Any device designed or constructed for the generation of heat
from solid, liquid, or gaseous fuel or electricity.
(54) High rise. - Is a structure more than six (6) stories or which is more than seventy-
five feet (75') in height above the basement or ground.
(55) Hollow masonry unit. - A masonry unit whose net cross-sectional area in any plane
parallel to the bearing surface is less than seventy-five percent (75%) of its gross cross-sectional
area measured in the same plane.
(56) Horizontal exit. - The "horizontal exit" shall mean a doorway through or around a
fire wall protected by a fire door, which door shall not be held in an open position by a device
which will require more than one movement of normal strength to close. This term shall also
include a bridge connecting two (2) buildings whose outside walls are of masonry construction.
(57) Hospital. - A "hospital" is a health facility with an organized medical staff providing
for twenty-four (24) hour inpatient services for the diagnosis, care and treatment of two (2) or
more individuals unrelated by blood or marriage.
(58) Hotel. - The term "hotel" shall mean a building or portion of a building used as a
place where sleeping accommodations are furnished for hire or other consideration, with or
without board, for twenty-one (21) or more guests or employees of the management, or in which
eleven (11) or more sleeping rooms are maintained for such guests or employees. The term
"hotel" shall include all clubs, schools, motels, dormitories, or other buildings which have similar
sleeping accommodations, but shall not include apartment houses, hospitals, penal institutions, or
buildings housing the insane.
(59) Industrial building. - The term "industrial building" shall mean a building or
structure used, or planned to be used for manufacturing primarily, or in which five (5) or more
persons, at any one time, are engaged in performing work or labor in fabricating, assembling, or
processing of products or materials. Included, among others, shall be factories, assembly plants,
industrial laboratories, and all other industrial or manufacturing uses; excluding high hazard uses.
This definition shall also apply to those industrial buildings the contents of which are classified as
ordinary hazard or high hazard in accordance with section 23-28.17-7 regardless of the number of
(60) Interior finish. - (i) The term "interior finish" shall mean and include the material on
walls, on partitions of fixed or movable type, on ceilings and on other exposed interior surfaces of
buildings and any surfacing material including paint or wall coverings applied thereto. "Interior
finish" includes materials affixed to the building structure as distinguished from decorations or
furnishings which are not so affixed. Finish floors and floor coverings shall be considered a part
of the interior finish.
(ii) The classification of interior finish materials shall be that of the basic material used,
without regard to subsequently applied paint or paper or materials of no greater fire hazard than
paper, provided such finish does not exceed one-twenty-eighth of an inch ( 1/28") in thickness
and is applied directly to a noncombustible base. Baseboards, chair rails, moulding, trim around
openings, and other interior trim not more than twelve inches (12") in width and not exceeding
ten percent (10%) of the exposed wall and ceiling surface of the area involved, may be Class A, B
or C. Exposed portions of heavy timber members shall not be subject to interior finish
regulations. Interior finish materials that give off smoke or gases more dense or more toxic than
that given off by untreated wood under comparable exposure to heat or flame shall not be
(iii) Interior finish materials shall be grouped in accordance with their flamespread
characteristics as follows:
(A) "Class A" includes any material classified at twenty-five (25) or less flamespread
rating as established by the test scale described in the definition of flamespread rating. Any
element thereof when so tested shall not continue to propagate flame.
(B) "Class B" includes any material classified at more than twenty-five (25) but not more
than seventy-five (75) as established by the test scale as described in the definition of flamespread
(C) "Class C" includes any material classified at more that seventy-five (75) but not
more than two hundred (200) as established by the test scale described in the definition of
(61) Intermediate care -- Class I. - An intermediate care -- Class I is a physical structure
properly equipped and employing sufficient appropriate personnel to render proper nursing care
to patients with chronic conditions who do not require professional nursing service.
(62) Intermediate care -- Class II. - An intermediate care -- Class II is a physical
structure properly equipped and employing sufficient appropriate personnel capable of providing
care for ambulatory persons requiring minimal or no specialized nursing service but in need of
personal care and supervision.
(63) Intermediate care facility. - An intermediate care facility is a health care facility or
an identifiable unit or distinct part of a facility which provides twenty-four (24) hour inpatient
preventive and supportive nursing care to two (2) or more persons unrelated by blood or marriage
whose condition is stabilized but requires continued nursing care and supervision.
(64) Labeled. - The word "labeled" used in connection with equipment throughout these
regulations refers to equipment bearing the inspection label of the nationally recognized testing
(65) Limited area sprinkler system. - An automatic sprinkler system consisting of not
more than twenty (20) sprinklers for use in a room or space enclosed by construction assemblies
as required by this code.
(66) Liquefied natural gas. - A fluid in the liquid state composed predominantly of
methane and which may contain minor quantities of ethane, propane, nitrogen or other
components normally found in natural gas.
(67) Liquefied petroleum gas. - The term "liquefied petroleum gas" and its symbol, "LP-
Gas," as used in this code, shall mean and include any material which is composed predominantly
of any of the following hydrocarbons, or mixtures of them; propane, propylene, butanes (normal
butane or iso-butane), and butylenes.
(68) Listed. - The word "listed" used throughout these regulations in connection with
equipment refers to devices and materials that have been investigated by and meet the listing
requirements of a nationally recognized testing agency. This equipment shall be identifiable by
means of a label or other distinguishing marking specified in the current list published by the
(69) Lobby. - The enclosed vestibule between the principal entrance to the building and
the doors to the main floor of the auditorium or assembly room of a theatre or place of assembly,
or to the main floor corridor of a business building.
(70) Masonry chimney. - A field constructed chimney of solid masonry units, bricks,
stones, listed hollow masonry units, or reinforced concrete built in accordance with nationally
(71) Means of egress. - A continuous and unobstructed path of travel from any point in a
building or structure to a public space and consists of three (3) separate and distinct parts: (i) the
exitway access; (ii) the exitway; and (iii) the exitway discharge. A means of egress comprises the
vertical and horizontal means of travel and shall include intervening room spaces, doors,
hallways, corridors, passageways, balconies, ramps, stairs, enclosures, lobbies, escalators,
horizontal exits, courts, and yards.
(72) Mercantile buildings. - The term "mercantile building" shall mean a building or
structure used or intended to be used for the display or sale of goods, wares, and merchandise and
in which people congregate, but involving only storage of stocks and goods that are incidental to
display and merchandising, including among others, retail stores, shops, sales rooms, and
markets, excluding high hazard contents.
(73) Metal chimney (Smokestack). - A field constructed chimney made of metal and
built in accordance with nationally recognized standards.
(74) Mezzanine. - An intermediate level between the floor and ceiling of any story, and
covering not more than thirty-three percent (33%) of the floor area of the room in which it is
(75) Motels. - See "hotels."
(76) Noncombustible. - The term "noncombustible" as applied to building construction
materials means material which, in the form in which it is used, falls in one of the following
groups (i) through (iii). No material shall be classed as noncombustible which is subject to
increase in combustibility or flamespread rating beyond the limits established in this code,
through the effects of age, moisture, or other atmospheric condition. Flamespread rating as used
herein refers to ratings established by the test scale described in the definition of flamespread
(i) Materials no part of which will ignite and burn when subjected to fire.
(ii) Materials having a structural base of noncombustible material as defined in (i) with a
surfacing material not over one-eighth inch ( 1/8") thick which has a flamespread rating not
higher than fifty (50).
(iii) Materials, other than as described in (i) and (ii), having a surface flamespread rating
not higher than twenty-five (25) without evidence of continued progressive combustion and of
such composition that surfaces that would be exposed by cutting through the material in any way
would not have a flamespread rating higher than twenty-five (25) without evidence of continued
(77) Noncombustible material. - (i) The term "noncombustible material" when used in
relation to interior finish on walls or on partitions of fixed or movable type or on other exposed
interior wall surfaces and any surface material such as paint or other wall coverings shall mean
material which in the form it is used falls into clause (A) or (B): (A) Materials no part of which
will ignite or burn when subjected to fire; (B) Materials other than described in clause (A) having
a maximum surface flamespread rating on both front and back faces not higher than Class A
without evidence of continued progressive combustion and of such composition that surfaces
exposed by cutting through the material in any way would not have a flamespread rating higher
than Class A without evidence of continued progressive combustion.
(ii) The term "noncombustible material" when used in relation to acoustical ceiling tile
or other interior finish on ceilings shall mean materials having a maximum surface flamespread
rating on both front and back faces not higher than Class A without evidence of continued
progressive combustion and of such composition that surfaces exposed by cutting through the
material in any way would not have a flamespread rating higher than Class A without evidence of
continued progressive combustion and when used as a part of a ceiling assembly the assembly
shall be of a design tested and listed by underwriters' laboratories, inc., as having a fire resistance
rating of not less than one hour.
(iii) No material shall be classed as noncombustible which is subject to increase in
combustibility or flamespread rating beyond the limits established in this code through the effects
of age, moisture, or other atmospheric condition. Flamespread rating, as used in this code refers
to ratings obtained according to standard tunnel test methods of a nationally recognized
laboratory in which asbestos cement board rates zero (0) on the scale and red oak lumber one
hundred (100), in accordance with Standards of N.F.P.A. 255, A.S.T.M.E.-84 and U.L. 723.
(iv) The term "noncombustible" when used in relation to buildings in general and
components of buildings shall mean that type of structure which is constructed completely of
masonry, reinforced concrete, metal, or other materials having fire resistance rating of not less
than two (2) hours. A building shall be termed "noncombustible" whether or not wood flooring
has been laid over solid or slab masonry, and whether or not door and window assemblies are of
(78) Occupancy. - The term "occupancy" shall mean the use of space or rooms within a
building by a person or group of persons.
(79) Place of assembly. - The term "place of assembly" shall mean a room or space
within a building in which the possible maximum occupancy is more than seventy-five (75)
persons in existing buildings and in which more than fifty (50) persons assemble in new
structures for religious, recreational, educational, political, fraternal, social or amusement
purposes, or for the consumption of food or drink, except school classrooms, libraries,
courtrooms, or any portion of a private dwelling. The room or space shall include adjacent rooms
with intervening partitions, open or capable of being opened so as to allow for occupancy with a
(80) Place of outdoor assembly. - Premises used or intended to be used for public
gatherings of two hundred (200) or more individuals in other than buildings.
(81) Plastic, combustible. - A plastic material more than one-twentieth inches ( 1/20") in
thickness which burns at a rate of not more than two and one-half inches (2 1/2") per minute
when subjected to ASTM D 635, standard method of test of flammability of self-supporting
(82) Posted sign. - The tablet, card, or plate which defines the use, occupancy, fire
grading and floor loads of each story, floor or parts thereof for which the building or part thereof
has been approved.
(83) Proprietary system. - A protective signaling system under constant supervision by
competent and experienced personnel in a central supervision station at the property protected.
The system includes equipment and other facilities required to permit the operators to test and
operate the system and, upon receipt of a signal, to take such action as shall be required under the
rules established for their guidance by the authority having jurisdiction.
(84) Protected corridor. - A corridor or hallway in a building which extends from exit to
exit and which has walls or partitions of materials and construction having a fire resistant rating
of one hour or more.
(85) Public space. - A legal open space on the premises, accessible to a public way or
street, such as yards, courts, or open spaces permanently devoted to public use which abuts the
(86) Pyroxylin plastic. - Any nitro-cellulose product or compound soluble in a volatile,
flammable liquid, including such substances as celluloid, pyroxylin, fiberloid, and other cellulose
nitrates (other than nitrocellulose film) which are susceptible to explosion from rapid ignition of
the gases emitted therefrom.
(87) Recessed heater. - A completely self-contained heating unit usually recessed in a
wall and located entirely above the floor of the space it is intended to heat.
(88) Remote station system. - An electrical alarm system capable of automatically
notifying the public or private fire departments, or other approved constantly attended location,
when the system is activated.
(89) Riser. - The vertical supply pipes in a sprinkler system or standpipe system.
(90) Rooming houses. - The term "rooming house" shall mean any building which is
used in whole or in part as a place where sleeping accommodations are furnished for hire or other
consideration, with or without board, for not more than twenty (20) guests or employees of the
management, or only ten (10) or less sleeping rooms are maintained for such guests or
employees. This term shall include all tourist homes, lodging homes, convents, monasteries, and
other nonprofit or charitable institutions which have accommodations as aforesaid, but shall not
include private dwellings which accommodate not more than four (4) habitational guests or
employees, or apartment houses, hotels, or convalescent homes, nursing home, home for the
aged, or boarding home, as defined in this code.
(91) Schools. - A school is a building used for the gathering of six (6) or more persons
for the purpose of instruction. Exceptions: Child day care centers and proprietary schools for
adults, which must conform to the provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code relating to the
occupancies in which they are located.
(92) Sheltered care facility for adults. - A sheltered care facility for adults is any
establishment, facility, place, building, agency, institution, corporation or part thereof, or a
partnership whether public or private, whether organized for profit or not, used, operated, or
engaged in providing lodging or board or housekeeping in a protective environment, to two (2) or
more residents unrelated to the owner, excluding however, any privately operated establishment
or facility licensed pursuant to chapter 17 of this title, and those facilities licensed by the
department of mental health, retardation, and hospitals or any other state agency. A resident of a
sheltered care facility for adults is an individual who is an adult not requiring medical or nursing
care as provided in a health care facility and who has impairments as a result of age and/or
physical or mental limitations requiring lodging or board or housekeeping in a protective
environment but is capable of self preservation in emergency situations. The term sheltered care
facility for adults may include rooming houses or hotels which provide the above mentioned
services and whose residents meet the above mentioned criteria. The term shall not include health
care facility, boarding homes, group homes, or community residences as defined in this code.
(93) Skilled nursing facility. - A health facility or unit thereof that provides twenty-four
(24) hour inpatient skilled nursing, therapeutic or restorative care services for two (2) or more
patients unrelated by blood or marriage with a rehabilitative potential or condition requiring
(94) Smoke barrier. - The term "smoke barrier" shall mean a partition with a fire-
resistance rating of not less than one-half ( 1/2) hour with any door openings therein equipped
with a door so hung as to be reasonably smoke and gas tight when closed. Any such door shall be
at least equivalent to a one and three-eighth inch (1 3/8") solid bonded core wood door. The door
shall not be fastened in an open position by a device which will require more than one movement
of normal strength to swing the door to a closed position. The barrier shall be located to provide
ample area of refuge on each side of the partition of all occupants of the story secured by the
barrier and shall extend through any dropped ceiling to the floor or roof above. The barrier may
have wire-glass panels each not to exceed six square feet.
(95) Special amusement building concentrated occupancy place of assembly. - The term
“special amusement building concentrated occupancy place of assembly” shall mean a Class A,
B, or C place of assembly with a maximum occupancy calculated on the basis of less than fifteen
square feet (15 sq. ft) per person and for which either there is a license issued pursuant to chapter
3-7 or there is entertainment or there are both a liquor license and entertainment.
(95) (96) Sprinklered. - The term "sprinklered" shall
mean to be completely protected by
an approved system of automatic sprinklers installed and maintained in accordance with N.F.P.A.
(96) (97) Stage. - A partially enclosed portion of an assembly
building which is designed
or used for the presentation of plays, demonstrations, or other entertainment wherein scenery,
drops, or other effects may be installed or used, and where the distance between the top of the
proscenium opening and the ceiling of the stage is more than five feet (5').
(97) (98) Stairway. - One or more flights of stairs, and the
necessary landings and
platforms connecting them, to form a continuous and uninterrupted passage from one floor to
another. A flight of stairs, for the purposes of this article, must have at least three (3) risers.
(98) (99) Standpipe. - A wet or dry fire pipe line, extending
from the lowest to the
topmost story of a building or structure, equipped with a shut-off valve with hose outlets at every
(99) (100) Storage building. - The term "storage
building" shall mean a building or
structure used, or planned for use primarily for the storage of goods, wares, and merchandise, and
in which less than five (5) persons are employed in the labor of manufacturing or processing.
Included, among others, shall be warehouses, storehouses, and freight depots. Buildings in this
heading storing high hazard contents shall be protected as described and classified in the section
(100) (101) Story. - The term "story" shall mean that
portion of a building between a
floor and the floor next above; and shall apply to the basement. The first story shall be that story
which is of such height above ground level that it does not come within the definitions of a
basement or shall be that story located immediately above a basement. The second story shall
mean a story located immediately above the first story and upper stories shall be in numerical
sequence accordingly. (See also "Mezzanine.")
(101) (102) Story (First). - The lowermost story entirely above
the grade plane. (102) (103) Theatre. - The term "theatre" shall mean a
building or part of a building in which
more than seventy-five (75) persons may assemble in existing buildings and in which fifty
or more persons may assemble
in new building for presentation of a
performance or motion picture presentation. All theatres shall comply with applicable
requirements for places of assembly.
(103) (104) Unit heater. - A factory assembled device designed to
heat and circulate air.
Essential components are a heat transfer element, housing, and fan with driving motor. Normally
designed for free delivery of recirculated air.
(104) (105) Vertical opening. - An opening through a floor or
roof. (105) (106) Warm air furnace. - A solid, liquid, or gas fired
appliance for heating air to
be distributed with or without duct systems to the space to be heated.
(106) (107) Winding stairs. - The term "winding stairs"
shall mean a flight of two (2) or
more steps which, in changing direction, does so by benefit of variance in the width along each
tread. This term shall not include such stairs as have treads of uniform width throughout and
change direction by benefit of intermediate landings or platforms.
Applicability to new or existing structures. –
expressly provided, all All regulations contained in this code apply
to all new structures unless specifically
exempted. Prior to a building permit being issued, all plans for buildings regulated under this
code shall be submitted to the authority having
jurisdiction. The authority having jurisdiction
fifteen (15) days after submission to review and
approve or disapprove the completed set of
plans within a reasonable time, not to exceed ninety (90) days. When a change of use or type of
occupancy is made in an existing building, the building shall conform to the requirements
established by the rehabilitation building and fire code for existing buildings and structures, or if
the rehabilitation building and fire code for existing structures is not applicable, to the
requirements for new structures as related to the proposed use or type of occupancy.
23-28.1-7. Conformity required. -- (a) No building shall be constructed for, used for, or
converted to, any occupancy regulated by the code, and no addition shall be made to a building
except in accordance with the applicable provisions of the code or the rehabilitation building and
fire code for existing buildings and structures, as applicable. In case two (2) or more classes of
occupancy occur in the same building, the most hazardous occupancy or the class of occupancy
calling for the most stringent requirements for life safety under the code shall govern the
classification of the entire building, unless suitable separation or other acceptable fire safety
provisions are afforded by compliance with other pertinent codes.
(b) Any existing structure that is not in conformity with the provisions of this code is
governed by the following:
(1) The authority having jurisdiction is authorized to give building owners a reasonable
notice of fire safety code violations and establish a timetable for compliance or, in cases of
practical difficulty, establish a time by which the owner must petition to the fire safety code board
for a variation.
(2) The fire marshal, or his or her designee within the division, or a nonsalaried deputy
state fire marshal in accordance with guidelines
established by the fire marshal
with the approval of the chairperson of the board of appeal and review, has the authority to
summarily abate any
which is in violation of any provision
of this code and which presents immediate
danger to life, which conditions shall include improper management or use of flammable and
combustible materials, liquids and gasses, pyrotechnics, fireworks or explosives, malfunctioning
automatic sprinklers, fire alarms and emergency lighting, malfunctioning heating and electrical
systems, and blocked or inadequate exits or means of egress, and such other conditions as may be
established by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review. A failure to abate a condition
that presents a clear and immediate danger to life shall be grounds for the person issuing the order
to abate, to require that the premises be vacated, which action shall be either authorized by the
fire marshal or a designee of the fire marshal who has been given advanced written authority by
the fire marshal to approve such actions.
buildings which are deemed to be in compliance with specific provisions of the code prior to any 1978 amendment are exempt
from the amendment unless there is a change of occupancy or more than fifty percent (50%)
of the total valuation of the building is to be changed within a one year period or unless the
rehabilitation building and fire code for existing buildings and structures is applicable. Those
requirements not met prior to 1978 are subject to the latest amendment. All new buildings and structures, for
which a building permit is issued on or
after February 20, 2004, shall be subject to the provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code
addressing the new occupancy. All existing buildings and structures, and those buildings and
structures for which a building permit was issued prior to February 20, 2004, shall be subject to
the provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code addressing the existing occupancy. Any
existing building or structure, subject to the provisions of the Rehabilitation Building and Fire
Code for Existing Buildings and Structures, shall also comply with the existing occupancy
provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code addressing the current or proposed occupancy.
All active fire protection systems, such as sprinklers, fire alarms, emergency lighting and exit
signs, previously required and installed in existing buildings, shall continue to be required under
the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code and shall be properly maintained.
SECTION 4. Sections 23-28.2-4, 23-28.2-14, 23-28.2-20 and 23-28.2-21 of the General
Laws in Chapter 28.2 entitled "Division of Fire Safety" are hereby amended to read as follows:
23-28.2-4. Duties and responsibilities of state fire marshal. -- The state fire marshal
shall have the authority to enforce and perform the duties required by the Fire Safety Code,
chapters 28.1 - 28.39 of this title, and all other provisions of the general laws and public laws
insofar as such powers and duties relate to fires, fire prevention, fire protection, fire inspection,
and fire investigation. It shall also be the duty of the state fire marshal to enforce all laws of this
state in regard to:
(1) The keeping, storage, use, manufacture, sale, handling, transportation, or other
disposition of explosives and inflammable materials.
(2) Conducting and supervising fire safety inspections of all buildings regulated by the
code within the state.
(3) It shall be the duty of the state fire marshal and his or her deputies to certify to any
state or federal agency whether or not any building covered satisfies the requirements of chapters
28.1 - 28.39 of this title.
(4) It shall the duty of the fire marshal to plan for and oversee the comprehensive,
professional enforcement of the fire safety code.
23-28.2-14. Enforcement. -- (a) Within the division, there shall be an enforcement unit
responsible for the initiation of criminal prosecution of any person(s) in violation of the state Fire
Safety Code or failure to comply with an order to abate conditions that constitute a violation of
the Fire Safety Code, chapters 28.1 - 28.39 of this title, and/or the general public laws of the state
as they relate to fires, fire prevention, fire inspections, and fire investigations. This unit will
consist of the state fire marshal, chief deputy state fire marshal, chief of technical services,
explosive technician, assistant explosive technicians, and the arson investigative staff, each of
whom must satisfactorily complete at the Rhode Island state police training academy an
appropriate course of training in law enforcement or must have previously completed a
comparable course. To fulfill their responsibilities, this unit shall have and may exercise in any
part of the state all powers of sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, town sergeants, chiefs of police, police
officers, and constables.
(b) The fire marshal shall have the power to implement a system of civil enforcement to
achieve compliance with the Fire Safety Code, which shall include inspections as provided for in
section 23-28.2-20, the issuance of citations in a form approved by the fire marshal, and the
issuance of formal notices of violation. The Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review, with
recommendations from the fire marshal, shall by February 20, 2004, adopt rules establishing, for
those categories of violation of the Fire Safety Code that can be identified through inspection,
citations requiring correction of the violation within a reasonable time period. The Fire Safety
Code Board of Appeal and Review shall recommend a system of penalties for violations subject
to citation for adoption by the general assembly, which fines would be used for fire prevention
purposes by the jurisdiction that issues the citation.
23-28.2-20. Right of entry. – (a) In the discharge of its duties, the authority having
jurisdiction shall have the authority to enter at any reasonable hour, any building, structure, or
premises in the state to enforce the provisions of the Fire Safety Code, chapters 28.1 - 28.39 of
this title. If any owner, occupant, or other person refuses, impedes, inhibits, interferes with,
restricts, or obstructs entry and free access to every part of the structure, operation, or premise
where inspection authorized by this code is sought, the authority having jurisdiction may:
(1) Seek in a court of competent jurisdiction a search warrant so as to apprise the owner,
occupant, or other person concerning the nature of the inspection and justification for it, and may
seek the assistance of police authorities in presenting the warrant; and/or
(2) Revoke or suspend any license, permit, or other permission regulated under this code
where inspection of the structures, operation or premises, is sought to determine compliance with
(3) Enter, examine or survey at any reasonable time such places as the fire marshal or his
or her designee deems necessary to carry out his or her responsibilities under any provision of law
subject to the provisions set forth below. For places of assembly as defined in section 23-28.1-5,
including special amusement building concentrated occupancy places of assembly, inspections
shall be reasonable during actual hours of maximum operation, regardless of the time, and such
inspections for special amusement building concentrated occupancy places of assembly, shall be
conducted at least annually.
(1) For criminal investigations, the fire marshal shall, pursuant to chapter 5 of title 12,
seek a search warrant from an official of a court authorized to issue warrants, unless a search
without a warrant is otherwise allowed or provided by law;
(2) (a) All administrative inspections shall be conducted pursuant to administrative
guidelines promulgated pursuant to chapter 42-35, the "Administrative Procedures Act" with
chapter 35 of title 42.
(b) A warrant shall not be required for administrative inspections if conducted under the
following circumstances, in accordance with the applicable constitutional standards:
(i) For closely regulated industries;
(ii) In situations involving open fields or conditions that are in plain view;
(iii) In emergency situations;
(iv) In situations presenting an imminent threat to the environment or public health,
safety or welfare;
(v) If the owner, operator, or agent in charge of the facility, property, site or location
(vi) In other situations in which a warrant is not constitutionally required.
(c) Whenever it shall be constitutionally or otherwise required by law, or whenever the
fire marshal in his or her discretion deems it advisable, an administrative search warrant, or its
functional equivalent, may be obtained by the fire marshal from a judge or magistrate for the
purpose of conducting an administrative inspection. The warrant shall be issued in accordance
with the applicable constitutional standards for the issuance of administrative search warrants.
The administrative standard of probable cause, not the criminal standard of probable cause, shall
apply to applications for administrative search warrants.
(i) The need for, or reliance upon, an administrative warrant shall not be construed as
requiring the fire marshal to forfeit the element of surprise in his or her inspection efforts.
(ii) An administrative warrant issued pursuant to this subsection must be executed and
returned within ten (10) days of its issuance date unless, upon a showing of need for additional
time, the court orders otherwise.
(iii) An administrative warrant may authorize the review and copying of documents that
are relevant to the purpose of the inspection. If documents must be seized for the purpose of
copying, and the warrant authorizes such seizure, the person executing the warrant shall prepare
an inventory of the documents taken. The time, place and manner regarding the making of the
inventory shall be set forth in the terms of the warrant itself, as dictated by the court. A copy of
the inventory shall be delivered to the person from whose possession or facility the documents
were taken. The seized documents shall be copied as soon as feasible under circumstances
preserving their authenticity, then returned to the person from whose possession or facility the
documents were taken.
(iv) An administrative warrant may authorize the taking of samples of materials that are
part of, or are generated, stored or treated at the facility, property, site or location. Upon request,
the fire marshal shall make split samples available to the person whose facility, property, site or
location is being inspected.
(v) Service of an administrative warrant may be required only to the extent provided for
in the terms of the warrant itself by the issuing court.
(d) Penalties. Any willful and unjustified refusal of right of entry and inspection pursuant
to an administrative warrant shall constitute a contempt of court and shall subject the refusing
party to sanctions, which in the court's discretion may result in up to six (6) months imprisonment
and/or a monetary fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per refusal.
23-28.2-21. National Fire Code. – Except wherever herein specifically defined or
covered in this code, the provisions of the N.F.P.A. Standards included in the National Fire Code,
1990 2003 edition, shall be used by the authority
having jurisdiction as the accepted standard
with regard to fire safety regarding any unforeseen condition.
SECTION 5. Chapter 23-28.2 of the General Laws entitled “Division of Fire Safety,” is
hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
23-28.2-20.1 Notices of violation. -- The fire marshal and persons designated specifically
in writing by the fire marshal shall have the power to issue notices of violation as herein provided
for, and the powers herein established shall be in addition to other powers of inspection and
enforcement of the Fire Safety Code provided for in this title. The fire marshal or authorized
designee of the fire marshal shall have the power to give notice of an alleged violation of law to
the person responsible therefor whenever the fire marshal or authorized designee determines that
there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is a violation of any provision of law within his
or her jurisdiction or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to authority granted to him or her,
unless other notice and hearing procedure is specifically provided by that law. Nothing in this
chapter shall limit the authority of the attorney general to prosecute offenders as required by law.
(A) The notice shall provide for a time within which the alleged violation shall be
remedied, and shall inform the person to whom it is directed that a written request for a hearing
on the alleged violation may be filed with the fire safety code board of appeal and review within
ten (10) days after service of the notice. The notice will be deemed properly served upon a person
if a copy thereof is served him or her personally, or sent by registered or certified mail to his or
her last known address, or if he or she is served with notice by any other method of service now
or hereafter authorized in a civil action under the laws of this state. If no written request for a
hearing is made to the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review within ten (10) days of the
service of notice, the notice shall automatically become a compliance order.
(B) (1) Whenever the fire marshal or authorized designee determines that there exists a
violation of any law, rule, or regulation within his or her jurisdiction which requires immediate
action to protect public safety or property, he or she may, without prior notice of violation or
hearing, issue an immediate compliance order stating the existence of the violation and the action
he or she deems necessary. The compliance order shall become effective immediately upon
service or within such time as is specified by the fire marshal in such order. No request for a
hearing on an immediate compliance order may be made.
(2) Any immediate compliance order issued under this section without notice and prior
hearing shall be effective for no longer than forty-five (45) days, provided, however, that for good
cause shown the order may be extended one additional period not exceeding forty-five (45) days.
(C) If a person upon whom a notice of violation has been served under the provisions of
this section or if a person aggrieved by any such notice of violation requests a hearing before the
Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review within ten (10) days of the service of notice of
violation, the Board shall set a time and place for the hearing, and shall give the person requesting
that hearing at least ten (10) days written notice thereof, unless waived by the requesting person.
After the hearing, the Board may make findings of fact and shall sustain, modify, or withdraw the
notice of violation. If the Board sustains or modifies the notice, that decision shall be deemed a
compliance order and shall be served upon the person responsible in any manner provided for the
service of the notice in this section.
(D) The compliance order shall state a time within which the violation shall be remedied,
and the original time specified in the notice of violation shall be extended to the time set in the
(E) Whenever a compliance order has become effective, whether automatically where no
hearing has been requested, where an immediate compliance order has been issued, or upon
decision following a hearing, the fire marshal may institute injunction proceedings in the superior
court of the state for enforcement of the compliance order and for appropriate temporary relief,
and in that proceeding the correctness of a compliance order shall be presumed and the person
attacking the order shall bear the burden of proving error in the compliance order, except that the
fire marshal shall bear the burden of proving in the proceeding the correctness of an immediate
compliance order. The remedy provided for in this section shall be cumulative and not exclusive
and shall be in addition to remedies relating to the removal or abatement of nuisances or any
other remedies provided by law.
(F) Any party aggrieved by a final judgment of the superior court may, within thirty (30)
days from the date of entry of such judgment, petition the supreme court for a writ of certiorari to
review any questions of law. The petition shall set forth the errors claimed. Upon the filing of the
petition with the clerk of the supreme court, the supreme court may, if it sees fit, issue its writ of
SECTION 6. Sections 23-28.3-1, 23-28.3-3, 23-28.3-3.1, and 23-28.3-5 in chapter 23-
28.3 of the general laws entitled "Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review" are hereby
amended to read as follows:
23-28.3-1. Definitions. -- When used in this chapter:
(1) "Amendment" means any modification or change in the code that shall be formulated,
adopted, and issued by the board;
(2) "Board" means the fire safety code board created by this chapter;
(3) "Building" includes new and existing buildings and facilities, except private dwellings
occupied by one, two (2), or three (3) families, in the various cities and towns in this state;
(4) "Code" means the minimum standard body of rules for fire safety known as the Fire
Safety Code, chapters 28.1 - 28.39 of this title, or the rehabilitation building and fire code for
existing buildings and structures, chapter 29.1 of this title;
(5) "Variation or Variance” means a special limited modification or change in the code
which is applicable only to a particular type of
or facility, regulated process or
hazardous activity upon the petition of the person owning the building or facility, or maintaining
the regulated process or hazardous activity. All variances shall be in keeping with recognized
. ; and
(6) “Blanket Variance” is generalized relief from any provision of the fire safety code
when, in the opinion of the fire safety code board, these provisions have been rendered obsolete
and/or impose an unanticipated, unreasonable hardship upon the general public, and the board
finds that the decision to grant a blanket variance will not conflict with the general objectives of
the code. All blanket variances shall only be effective until the next code adoption process
by the board.
23-28.3-3. Rules and regulations. -- (a) The state fire safety code board has the power
to promulgate, amend, and repeal rules and regulations to safeguard life and property from the
hazards of fire and explosives consistent with the provisions of the Fire Safety Code, chapters
28.1 through 28.39 of this title, and consistent with the rehabilitation building and fire code for
existing buildings and structures, chapter 29.1 of this title. The regulations, amendments, or
repeals shall be in accordance with standard safe practice as embodied in widely recognized
standards of good practice for fire prevention and fire protection. The rules and regulations
promulgated by the board, which are known as the state Fire Safety Code, are in effect in all the
cities, towns, counties, and political subdivisions in the state. Whenever the provisions of any
other statute or local regulation are more stringent or impose higher standards than the state fire
safety code, that statute or local regulations will govern, unless it is not consistent with the state
code or contrary to recognized standards or good engineering practices. The board determines the
relative priority of the regulations.
Prior to the promulgation, amendment, or repeal of any regulation, the state
code board shall hold a public hearing on the proposed changes, amendments,
notice of which
hearing shall be published fifteen (15) days before the date of the hearing in a
newspapers of general circulation throughout the state. A copy of the notice
shall be sent at the same
time to every city and town clerk and every person, firm, or corporation who
shall have registered
with the state fire safety code board a request to be so notified. The notice
shall contain the
time and place of hearing, subjects to be discussed, and shall specify the
place and time at which
the proposed regulation, amendment, or repeal may be examined.
All rules and regulations
adopted by the state fire safety code board shall be adopted in accordance with the Administrative
Procedures Act (R.I.G.L. 42-35-1 et seq.).
(c) For the purpose of any public hearing under this chapter, the state fire safety code
board has the power to summon witnesses and administer oaths for the purpose of giving
(d) The board shall provide for reasonable interpretation of the provisions of this code,
and rule on appeals from decisions of the fire marshal.
23-28.3-3.1. Rules and regulations, rehabilitation of existing buildings and
structures. – The state fire safety code board has the power to adopt, promulgate, amend, and
repeal the fire safety code elements of the rehabilitation building and fire code for existing
and structures, which shall be administered as a sub-code of the fire safety
supercede other codes and regulations pertaining to the rehabilitation and
change of use of existing
buildings and structures, unless the provisions of those other codes and
regulations are not
inconsistent with the provisions of the rehabilitation building and fire code
for existing buildings
and structures. Any existing building or structure,
subject to the provisions of the
rehabilitation building and fire code for existing buildings and structures, shall also comply with
the existing occupancy provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code addressing the current or
23-28.3-5. Assistance to building owners -- Petition for variations. -- (a) Any building
owner, and/or the operator of any regulated process or hazardous activity, may consult with the
authority having jurisdiction for advice and assistance in complying with the provisions of the fire
safety code adopted pursuant to chapters 28.1 -- 28.39 and chapter 29.1 of this title, or any
amendments to those codes or any codes adopted under them. In case of practical difficulties, the
authority having jurisdiction shall refer all requests for variations from particular provisions of
the fire safety code adopted pursuant to chapters 28.1 to 28.39 of this title or any code adopted
under them to the fire safety code board. All requests for variations from the particular provisions
of the fire safety code adopted pursuant to chapter 29.1 of this title shall be referred to the joint
committee pursuant to the provisions of section 23-29.1-4. The petitioner shall set forth in his or
her petition to the board the grounds or reasons for requesting the variations.
(b) The board shall fix a day for hearing on the petition and shall give reasonable notice
of the hearing to the petitioner and the property owners within two hundred feet (200') of the
petitioner's building or structure when, in the board's discretion, it may have an adverse effect on
neighboring properties. A properly indexed record of all variations made shall be kept in the
office of the state fire marshal and shall be open to public inspection. Any building owner may
file a petition for a variance to the board by registered mail, and a hearing date shall be set by the
board within thirty (30) days of filing a completed application including a filing fee, established
in accordance with the following fee schedule:
(1) Petitions related to existing covered occupancies, not involving construction,
alteration, and/or renovation . . . . . $100 filing fee.
(2) Petitions related to construction, alteration, renovation, and/or conversion or other
buildings and structures:
(i) not more than 8,000 square feet . . . $100 filing fee
(ii) more than 8,000 square feet but not more than 25,000 square feet . . . $300 filing fee
(iii) more than 25,000 square feet but not more than 50,000 square feet . . . $500 filing fee
(iv) more than 50,000 square feet . . . $1,000 filing fee
(3) Petitions related to maintenance or use of buildings or materials and any petition not
otherwise provided for above . . . $100 filing fee.
(4) The term "square feet", as used in this chapter, is the total floor space and/or storage
capacity of the subject building or structure, as determined and certified by the state fire marshal
or his or her designee, subject to review by the board. The board chairperson may delegate a
subcommittee of the board to conduct a hearing and take testimony from the petitioner. The
subcommittee shall make recommendations to the board as to their findings, and a decision shall
be rendered within ten (10) days of the subcommittee's report. If the petitioner is aggrieved by the
subcommittee's recommendations, the petitioner has the right of hearing before the entire board
within thirty (30) days of the rendered decision.
(c) The application filing fee income shall be deposited as general revenue.
(d) The fire safety code board may grant a blanket variance when, in the opinion of the
fire safety code board, any specific provision of the fire safety code has been rendered obsolete
and/or imposes an unanticipated, unreasonable hardship upon the general public, and the board
finds that the decision to grant a blanket variance will not conflict with the general objectives of
the code. All blanket variances shall only be effective until the next code adoption process by the
SECTION 7. Sections 23-28.6-1, 23-28.6-2, 23-28.6-4, 23-28.6-5, and 23-28.6-18, in
chapter 23-28.6 of the general laws entitled "Places of Assembly" are hereby amended to read as
23-28.6-1. Applicability. -- (a) The regulations contained in this chapter shall apply to
all places of assembly as defined in § 23-28.1-5
except only such places as are expressly exempt in accordance with the provisions of this code.
(1) Class A, capacity one thousand one (1001) persons or more.
(2) Class B, capacity three hundred one (301) to one thousand (1000) persons.
(3) Class C, capacity
fifty (50) to three hundred (300) persons
in new buildings. (4) Class C,
capacity seventy-six (76) to three hundred (300) persons in existing buildings.
(b) Fire escapes and other outdoor stairways, heating, and ventilating facilities, and the
use of electric wiring and appliances, shall be governed by special articles related thereto.
23-28.6-2. Egress facilities required - Inspection by owner. -- (a) All places of
assembly shall be provided with approved egress facilities as determined under the provisions of
(b) In places of assembly which have scheduled activities for recreational, educational,
political, fraternal, social, or amusement purposes, the owner or management must inspect every
exit from the building not more than ninety (90) minutes prior to the beginning of any meeting,
concert, etc. If the inspection reveals blocked exits, the scheduled presentation must not begin
until the exits are cleared and made easily accessible, assuring the safety and welfare of the
patrons. Any person or entity violating the provisions of this section shall be fined an amount in
accordance with a schedule of fines approved by the general assembly not exceeding five
thousand dollars ($5,000) for each offense.
23-28.6-4. Standing conditions. -- (a) Standing patrons may be allowed, in approved
waiting areas, in places of assembly at the rate of one person for each five square feet (5 sq. ft.) of
area available for standing; provided, that aisle area, except rear cross aisles, shall not be
considered in determining the number of standing patrons allowed.
(b) The provisions in this section do not apply to churches and places of worship,
wherein patrons retain their outer clothing for immediate exit, and where they are confined for a
period not exceeding two (2) hours duration. Only that part of the building directly accessible to
doors for hasty exit may be used in this manner.
23-28.6-5. Admissions restricted and supervised. -- (a) Admissions to all places of
assembly shall be supervised by the responsible management or by the person or persons
delegated with the responsibility by the management, and the responsible person shall not allow
admissions in excess of the maximum occupancy as provided in section 23-28.6-3, provided,
subsections (c), (d), and (e) below do not apply to churches and places of worship, wherein
patrons retain their outer clothing for immediate exit, and where they are confined for a period
not exceeding two (2) hours duration. Only those portions of a building used exclusively for
religious worship are included in this exception.
(b) The maximum occupancy of all areas shall be conspicuously posted by means of a
sign furnished by the state fire marshal's office.
(c) All Class A places of assembly shall have one uniformed fire fighter, and any
additional uniformed fire fighters on duty when deemed necessary by the chief of the local fire
(d) All Class B places of assembly of less concentrated use shall have a uniformed fire
fighter and any additional uniformed fire fighters on duty when deemed necessary by the chief of
the local fire department.
(e) All Class B and C places of assembly of concentrated use shall have one uniformed
fire fighter on duty when deemed necessary by the
of the local fire department state fire
marshal or his/her local designee except as provided under subsection (f) of this section.
The Rhode Island Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review is hereby directed to
conduct a review of the impact of this subsection (section 23-28.6-5(e)) upon municipalities, fire
departments and business owners and report its findings to the General Assembly on or before
January 30, 2004.
(f) All Class B and C places of assembly of concentrated or less concentrated use being
utilized for activities
of unusual hazard, that
would cause the place of assembly to be unsafe,
dangerous or hazardous shall have one uniformed fire fighter on duty during such activity, and
any additional uniformed fire fighters on duty when deemed necessary by the chief of the local
fire department unless this requirement is specifically waived in writing for each such event.
(g) The cost of all fire fighters on duty under subsections (c) through (f) of this section
shall be borne by the management of the facility.
(h) The above assigned fire fighter(s) shall be equipped with portable communication
devices which shall be provided for by the local fire department to allow direct communication to
the dispatcher of the local fire department.
(i) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be fined not exceeding five
thousand dollars ($5,000) for each offense.
(j) The provisions of section 23-28.2-17 shall apply to any fire fighter assigned to a place
of assembly pursuant to this section.
23-28.6-18. Alarm systems. -- (a) A fire alarm system as prescribed in section 23-28.25-
4(a), and in accordance with requirements adopted by the fire safety code board of appeal and
review, shall be installed in all Class 'C' places of assembly.
(b) A fire alarm system as prescribed in section 23-28.25-4(b) and in accordance with
requirements adopted by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review shall be installed in
all Class 'A' and 'B' places of assembly.
(c) In addition to the locations prescribed in chapter 28.25 of this title, and in accordance
with requirements adopted by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review, a manual alarm
station shall be installed on every stage and near any fixed lighting control panel and any
thirty-five degrees (135ø) to one hundred forty degrees (140ø) F. rate
of rise or fixed temperature detector or detectors approved by the authority having jurisdiction
shall be installed above all stage areas and below all accessible stage areas and projection booths.
SECTION 8. Chapter 23-28.6 of the General Laws entitled "Places of Assembly" is
hereby amended by adding thereto the following sections:
23-28.6-21. Sprinklers required. -- (a) All new and existing places of assembly shall be
completely protected by an approved system of automatic sprinklers installed and maintained in
accordance with N.F.P.A. Standard 13, 2002 Edition and its related standards pursuant to the
schedule outlined in subsection (d).
(b) The requirements of subsection (a) shall not apply to:
(i) Any Class “C” place of assembly of less concentrated use, exclusively calculated at
fifteen (15) square feet per person;
(ii) Any Class “C” place of assembly of concentrated use not classified as a “special
amusement building concentrated occupancy place of assembly”;
(iii) Any Class “C” place of assembly of concentrated use, classified as a “special
amusement building concentrated occupancy place of assembly” with a posted maximum
occupancy of less than one hundred fifty (150) people;
(iv) Any existing fully alarmed building used exclusively as a place of worship.
(c) Alternatively engineered sprinkler systems, approved by the Fire Safety Code Board
of Appeal and Review, shall be allowed in the retrofitting of an existing place of assembly with
(d) All Class A and B places of assembly shall be fully sprinkled in accordance with the
above standards on or before July 1, 2005. All Class “C” special amusement buildings
concentrated occupancy places of assembly” with a posted maximum occupancy of one hundred
fifty (150) or more people, shall be fully sprinkled in accordance with the above standards on or
before July 1, 2006.
(e) The occupancy of any place of assembly without a fire alarm system and/or sprinkler
system after July 1, 2004, shall have its maximum occupancy adjusted by minus ten percent
(10%) for the absence of a fire alarm system and minus twenty percent (20%) for the absence for
the sprinklers, when sprinklers are required by law or regulation. Such downward adjustment in
occupancy shall be cumulative and shall cease to apply when the premises are in compliance with
requirements for fire alarms systems and sprinklers, and shall not affect any other requirements of
the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review applicable to the premises.
(f) A Class “C” place of assembly with an occupancy of one hundred fifty (150) or
greater may avoid the above occupancy adjustment by requiring a fire fighter to be on duty during
all hours of occupancy. In no event shall the occupancy adjustment to the firefighter requirement
alter the July 1, 2006 deadline for the installation of sprinklers.
(g) All places of assembly with an occupancy of less than one hundred fifty (150) shall
use fire retardant paints or other coverings, to a standard acceptable to the Fire Safety Code Board
of Appeal and Review, unless the building has sprinklers by July 1, 2006.
23-28.6-22. Special amusement building concentrated occupancy places of assembly.
– Every special amusement building concentrated occupancy place of assembly as defined in
section 23-28.1-5 shall comply with following requirements, consistent with requirements related
thereto established by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review and the state fire
marshal. All such buildings shall:
(a) Have fire alarms that are municipally connected for occupancies of one hundred fifty
(150) or greater and for all Class A and B places of assembly by July 1, 2004. Such fire alarm
systems shall be tested no less than quarterly.
(b) Have sprinklers in Class C places of assembly of one hundred fifty (150) or greater by
July 1, 2006 and in Class A and B places of assembly by July 1, 2005; provided, however, that
this requirement shall not apply to fully alarmed buildings used exclusively as places of worship.
(c) Have alarm systems sound and upon the actuation of any smoke detector or fire
alarm, have emergency lighting or other appropriate lighting activate, and require that any
conflicting sounds or visuals cease, by February 20, 2004.
(d) Have two fire extinguishers, which shall be at least twenty (20) pounds or such other
size as may be established as appropriate by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review,
in each stage area, by February 20, 2004.
(e) Have floor proximity exit signs for all occupancies greater than one hundred fifty
(150) by February 20, 2005.
(f) Shall provide an audible announcement of the location of emergency exits prior to
each act or set.
(g) Have an emergency plan for the premises, approved by a fire marshal and consistent
with rules established by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal a person on duty or a crowd
manager on duty, who has been trained by the fire marshal with regard to the emergency plan and
basic crowd management techniques by October 1, 2004. This requirement shall be in addition to
the requirement for a detail fire fighter.
23-28.6-23. Prohibited activities in places of assembly. -- (a) Pyrotechnics. The
storage, handling, use or display of pyrotechnics is prohibited in all Class B places of assembly,
except as may be authorized below, and in all Class C places of assembly. Pyrotechnics may be
permitted only in class A places of assembly that are fully fire alarmed and sprinklered and in
Class B places of assembly that are theatres and are fully fire alarmed and sprinklered and have
specific advanced approval from the fire marshal, or his designee, for the use of such
pyrotechnics in accordance with requirements established by the Fire Safety Code Board of
Appeal and Review.
(b) The use of decorative or acoustical materials that are not certified, consistent with
NFPA requirements or such other requirements as may be established by the Fire Safety Code
Board of Appeal and Review is prohibited. Any person or entity violating the provisions of this
section shall be fined in an amount not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each offense.
SECTION 9. Sections 23-28.11-3, 23.28.11-4. 23-28.11-7, and 23-28.11-9 in chapter 23-
28.11 of the General Laws entitled "Fireworks and Pyrotechnics are hereby amended to read as
Permits. 23-28.11-3. Permits for storage, handling, transportation
display of fireworks and pyrotechnics. -- (a) All storage, handling, transportation and display
of fireworks shall be in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Standard 1123 entitled “Code for Fireworks Display”, and NFPA Standard 1124 entitled “Code
for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Retail Sales of Fireworks and Pyrotechnic
Articles” 2003 Edition, and the requirements of this chapter.
(b) All storage, handling, transportation and display of pyrotechnics shall be in
accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1126 entitled
“Standard for the Use of Pyrotechnics before a Proximate Audience”, and NFPA Standard 1124
entitled “Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Retail Sales of Fireworks and
Pyrotechnic Articles” 2003 Edition, and the requirements of this chapter.
Permits to possess and display commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics shall be
issued by the local fire authority on forms provided by the state fire marshal.
No permit to possess and display fireworks or pyrotechnics shall be issued by
local fire authority until the applicant has first obtained a valid certificate of competency from the
state fire marshal. For the purposes of this chapter, 'pyrotechnics' means a chemical mixture,
including pyrotech-compositions, intended to produce a visible and/or audible effect by
combustion, deflagration or detonation before a proximate audience closer than allowed for
outdoor fireworks displays as permitted under this chapter. All pyrotechnics shall be in
accordance with the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association Standard 1126,
entitled 'Use of Pyrotechnics Before A Proximate Audience', 1992 Edition, and the requirements
of this chapter.
23-28.11-4. Certificate of competency. -- (a) Every person desiring to obtain a
certificate of competency to possess and display commercial fireworks and/or pyrotechnics shall
make application to the state fire marshal. A fee of ten dollars ($10.00) shall accompany each
application and shall be for processing the application and for examination to be given within
ninety (90) days of receipt of application to determine applicant's experience and ability to
conduct commercial fireworks and/or pyrotechnics demonstrations. Separate applications,
examinations and certificates shall be issued by the state fire marshal for fireworks and
pyrotechnics and shall be in such form as the state fire marshal may require. The examinations
herein provided for shall require the applicant to demonstrate adequate understanding of
applicable NFPA requirements.
(b) Each applicant found to be qualified by examination shall forthwith be issued a
certificate of competency upon payment of fifty dollars ($50.00) and submission of certification
indicating satisfactory completion of psychiatric examination administered by a qualified
physician within the previous year. All fees collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited as
23-28.11-5. Duration -- Expiration -- Renewal -- Duplication. -- Every certificate
issued shall be valid for one year, and shall be renewable without examination, except as herein
provided, on March first after the original date of issue upon payment of fifty dollars ($50.00).
Any holder of a certificate whose certificate was lost, misplaced, or stolen may obtain a duplicate
certificate from the state fire marshal upon payment of ten dollars ($10.00). No renewal shall be
issued after July 1, 2003, unless the applicant for the renewal shall demonstrate adequate
familiarity to the satisfaction of the Fire Marshal with applicable NFPA requirements, which
demonstration may be made by passing an appropriate examination.
23-28.11-7. Financial responsibility. -- No permit shall be issued to any applicant
desiring to possess and display fireworks and/or pyrotechnics until the applicant furnishes to the
local fire authority satisfactory proof of financial
responsibility in an amount not less than
fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) one million
dollars($1,000,000) to satisfy claims for damage to
property or persons resulting from the possession or use of fireworks and/or pyrotechnics. The
local fire authority may require additional financial responsibility as he or she may deem
necessary due to existing conditions.
23-28.11-9. Violations. -- (a) Any person found to be in violation of the provisions of
this chapter relating to possession of commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics shall be fined not less
than one hundred ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) or imprisoned for not more
than one year. Any person found to be in violation of the provisions of this chapter relating to use
or display of commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics shall be guilty of a felony, and shall be fined
not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or imprisoned for not more than five (5) years, or
(b) The state fire marshal or the fire marshal's deputies or any officer qualified to serve
criminal process may arrest without a warrant any person found in violation of this chapter and
shall seize immediately any and all of the fireworks and/or pyrotechnics in illegal use, possession,
or under that person's control, and the fireworks seized shall upon conviction of the person be
forfeited to the state.
(c) Notice of the seizure of the fireworks and/or pyrotechnics shall immediately be sent
to the marshal by the officer making the seizure and the fireworks and/or pyrotechnics seized
shall be held and securely stored by that department until the marshal or the marshal's authorized
explosives technician takes them into his or her possession for disposal.
SECTION 10. Section 23-28.25-1 in chapter 23-28.25 of the General Laws entitled "Fire
Alarm Systems" is hereby amended to read as follows:
(a) This chapter and the fire alarm sections of
the several occupancy chapters which refer to this chapter shall
apply to pertinent new buildings, to buildings where there is a change of occupancy to one which
will require a fire alarm system, and to existing buildings which are altered or renovated to
an extent equal to or in excess of fifty percent (50%) of market value in a one-year period as
determined by a qualified appraiser. Existing buildings which have a fire alarm system which was
in compliance with the requirements of the earlier edition of the Fire Safety Code, chapters
28.1 - 28.39 of this title, shall not be required to comply with this chapter or the fire alarm sections
of the several occupancy chapters which refer to this chapter. (b) Existing
buildings which are not in compliance with the fire alarm system requirements of the earlier edition of the Fire
Safety Code shall be required to install fire alarm systems in accordance with this chapter and the fire
alarm sections of the several occupancy chapters. All buildings and facilities covered under the
Fire Safety Code, and all codes adopted
pursuant thereto, shall be equipped with an approved fire alarm system installed and maintained
in accordance with this chapter and any updated fire alarm regulations adopted by the Fire Safety
Code Board of Appeal & Review. Any building that is not a place of assembly, that is required to
be equipped with a fire alarm system pursuant to the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code, shall be so
equipped on or before July 1, 2005.
SECTION 11. This act shall take effect upon passage.