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    Fire separation between tenants

    Fire separation between tenants

    New postby wagurto on Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:54 am

    Hi guys, i have this project which is a office building. My client bought 1,500 sf of office space and i noticed that the a/c units for this space come from the other units. The building is fire sprinklered but i am not sure if it is properly compartmented between tenants. Do you think the code will force me to compartment and fire separate my office from the others? Do i need to separate electrical and mechanical systems?
    please let me know what do you think.
    thanks
    Wil
    wagurto
     
    Posts: 10
    Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:00 pm

    Re: Fire separation between tenants

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:31 pm

    wagurto wrote:Hi guys, i have this project which is a office building. My client bought 1,500 sf of office space and i noticed that the a/c units for this space come from the other units. The building is fire sprinklered but i am not sure if it is properly compartmented between tenants. Do you think the code will force me to compartment and fire separate my office from the others? Do i need to separate electrical and mechanical systems?


    Will,

    You have a couple of concerns/issues there, so I will separate them out from each other:

    1) "Do you think the code will force me to compartment and fire separate my office from the others?"

    - First, though, a couple of stated conditions: a) it is an office building, that means the occupancy is Group B Business; b) the building is fire sprinklered.

    - From the 2017 (6th Edition) Florida Building Code (I recall you said you are in Florida before):
    - - 508.4.4 Separation.
    - - - Individual occupancies shall be separated from adjacent occupancies in accordance with Table 508.4.
    - - - 508.4.4.1 Construction.
    - - - - Required separations shall be fire barriers constructed in accordance with Section 707 or horizontal assemblies constructed in accordance with Section 711, or both, so as to completely separate adjacent occupancies.
    - - Table 508.4
    - - - REQUIRED SEPARATION OF OCCUPANCIES (HOURS)
    - - - - (sixth main column over to the right from the left, not counting the left most column) B e ... "B" occupancies with a note "e"
    - - - - (sixth row down, not counting the top heading row) B e ... "B" occupancies with a note "e"
    - - - - - (where they intersect) under both "S" and "NS" , the separation is listed as "N"
    - - - - - the notes show this:
    - - - - - - S = Buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1.
    - - - - - - NS = Buildings not equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1.
    - - - - - - N = No separation requirement.
    - - - - - - e. See Section 422.2 for ambulatory care facilities.

    Being as all of the occupancies are B (it is an office building, with no ambulatory care facilities), the table shows that no separation is required between individual occupancies (tenant spaces).

    2) "Do i need to separate electrical and mechanical systems?"

    - Not for fire separation purposes.

    - For tenant needs and uses, you should, yes.

    - I had an office in an office building for many years, the building had been split into various large office areas from previous tenants. Over the years, the large offices area were split into smaller office spaces and rented to businesses who only needed smaller office spaces - the electrical and HVAC systems were split up to serve the larger office areas, which mean that the smaller offices spaces shared electrical and HVAC systems ... and if one tenant wants the air conditioning set low while another wants it set higher ... you can see the conflict it could create. The electrical system was so much of an issue as tenants simply switched the lights on in their own office spaces, albeit one larger office space was wired such that all the lights in that larger space turned on with one main switch, which lead to re-wiring each office space with its own switch for lighting control. Occasionally, one tenant would overload a circuit and trip a breaker, shutting down all receptacles and lights for all other tenants which had receptacles and lights on that circuit - those circuit would be re-wired when that happened.

    - I highly recommend separate HVAC and electrical systems for each tenant space.

    There are times and occasions where fire-separation walls are required and installed, in some of those cases, the fire-separation wall would create "separate buildings" within one "structure", and, yes, everything would be required to be separate in those installations - separate service, separate meter, separate everything - but that is unusual to find in an office building; however, it is common to find that separation in strip shopping centers.
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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    Re: Fire separation between tenants

    New postby wagurto on Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:54 pm

    Thank you Jerry always helpful and knowledgeable.
    wagurto
     
    Posts: 10
    Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:00 pm


    Return to Fire-rated assemblies: Fire walls, fire partitions, smoke barriers, ceiling-floor, ceiling-attic; Separation of garages from dwelling unit; Separation between structure's exterior walls and property line



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