TITLE 23
Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-28.6
Places of Assembly

SECTION 23-28.6-21


§ 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) of this section.

(b) The requirements of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to:

(1) Any place of assembly with an occupancy load of fifty (50) to three hundred (300) people of less concentrated use, exclusively calculated at fifteen (15) square feet per person;

(2) Any place of assembly with an occupancy load of fifty (50) to three hundred (300) people of concentrated use not classified as a "nightclub";

(3) Any place of assembly with an occupancy load of fifty (50) to three hundred (300) people of concentrated use, classified as a "nightclub" with a posted maximum occupancy of less than one hundred fifty (150) people;

(4) Any existing building used primarily as a place of worship that is in compliance with the requirements for places of worship established pursuant to § 23-28.6-24;

(5) The open assembly areas in existing unheated buildings used on a seasonal basis provided the building is protected by a properly maintained total (complete) fire alarm system during all periods of occupancy; and

(6) Student occupied assembly areas, such as auditorium(s), library(s), cafeteria(s) and gymnasium(s), within any existing building, classified as either an educational occupancy, or an institution of higher education such as a community college, a college and/or university, that is protected by a properly maintained total (complete) fire alarm system. In the event the owner or management of such a building plans to use one or more of the above assembly areas, in a manner inconsistent with the traditional educational use, for example a community meeting, a dance or a play, the owner or responsible management must first consult with the state fire marshal's designee, in the local fire department, and develop a plan of action for such use. The proposed event shall only be conducted pursuant to the above plan of action. This exception shall not apply to any such existing higher education assembly area(s) used generally for commercial purposes such as an arena, restaurant, bar or lounge.

(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 sprinklers.

(d) All places of assembly with a maximum occupancy of more than three hundred (300) people shall be fully sprinkled in accordance with the above standards on or before July 1, 2005. All "nightclubs" with a posted maximum occupancy of one hundred fifty (150) or more people, and up to three hundred (300) people shall be fully sprinkled in accordance with the above standards on or before July 1, 2006. For good cause shown, the above deadlines may be extended by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal & Review.

(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 fire alarm systems and/or 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. The ten percent (10%) and twenty percent (20%) reductions in maximum occupancy, herein set forth, may be waived, in writing, by the state fire marshal, assistant state fire marshal, deputy state fire marshals, the local fire chief of the jurisdiction in which the place of assembly is located, or an assistant deputy state fire marshal as designated by the local fire chief. Provided, however, that the owner or management responsible for the operation of the facility shall be required to operate said facility under an alternative plan of action for fire safety, which plan shall require the approval of the state fire marshal, the assistant state fire marshal, deputy state fire marshals, the local fire chief of the jurisdiction in which the place of assembly is located, or an assistant deputy state fire marshal as designated by the local fire chief, in order to qualify for the waiver provided for herein.

(f) A place of assembly with an occupancy of one hundred fifty (150) or greater and up to three hundred (300) 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.

(h) The provisions of this section, in its entirety, shall not apply to places of worship except as may be required by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review pursuant to § 23-28.6-24.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2003, ch. 106, § 8; P.L. 2003, ch. 107, § 8; P.L. 2004, ch. 220, § 7; P.L. 2004, ch. 225, § 7; P.L. 2005, ch. 151, § 6; P.L. 2005, ch. 155, § 6; P.L. 2006, ch. 311, § 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 506, § 2; P.L. 2008, ch. 142, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 180, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 415, § 24.)