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Title: Section 403  •  Size: 20235

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403.1 Scope. This section applies to all Group B office buildings and Group R, Division 1 Occupancies, each having floors used for human occupancy located more than 75 feet (22 860 mm) above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access. Such buildings shall be of Type I or II-F.R. construction and shall be provided with an approved automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 403.2.


403.2 Automatic Sprinkler System.

403.2.1 System design. The automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout the building as specified by U.B.C. Standard 9-1, and shall be designed in accordance with that standard and the following.

1. Shutoff valves and a water-flow device shall be provided for each floor. The sprinkler riser may be combined with the standpipe riser.

2. In Seismic Zones 2, 3 and 4, in addition to the main water supply, a secondary on-site supply of water equal to the hydraulically calculated sprinkler design demand plus 100 gallons per minute (378.5 L/min.) additional for the total standpipe system shall be provided. This supply shall be automatically available if the principal supply fails and shall have a duration of 30 minutes.

403.2.2 Modifications. The following modifications of code requirements are permitted:

1. In buildings of Type I construction the fire-resistive time periods set forth in Table 6-A may be reduced by one hour for interior bearing walls, exterior bearing and nonbearing walls, roofs and the beams supporting roofs, provided they do not frame into columns. In buildings of Type II-F.R. construction the fire-resistive time period set forth in Table 6-A may be reduced by one hour for interior bearing walls, exterior bearing and nonbearing walls, but no reduction is allowed for roofs. The fire-resistive time period reduction as specified herein shall not apply to exterior bearing and nonbearing walls whose fire-resistive rating is less than four hours.

Vertical shafts other than stairway enclosures and elevator shafts may be reduced to one hour when sprinklers are installed within the shafts at alternate floors.

2. Except for corridors in Group B offices and Group R, Division 1 Occupancies and partitions separating dwelling units or guest rooms, all interior nonbearing partitions required to be one-hour fire-resistive construction by Table 6-A may be of noncombustible construction without a fire-resistive time period.


3. Fire dampers, other than those needed to protect floor-ceiling assemblies to maintain the fire resistance of the assembly, are not required.

4. Emergency windows required by Section 310.4 are not required.

403.3 Smoke Detection. Smoke detectors shall be provided in accordance with this subsection. Smoke detectors shall be connected to an automatic fire alarm system installed in accordance with the Fire Code. The actuation of any detector required by this subsection shall operate the emergency voice alarm signaling system and shall place into operation all equipment necessary to prevent the recirculation of smoke.

Smoke detectors shall be located as follows:

1. In every mechanical equipment, electrical, transformer, telephone equipment, elevator machine or similar room and in elevator lobbies. Elevator lobby detectors shall be connected to an alarm verification zone or be listed as releasing devices.

2. In the main return-air and exhaust-air plenum of each air-conditioning system. Such detector shall be located in a serviceable area downstream of the last duct inlet.

3. At each connection to a vertical duct or riser serving two or more stories from a return-air duct or plenum of an air-conditioning system. In Group R, Division 1 Occupancies, an approved smoke detector may be used in each return-air riser carrying not more than 5,000 cubic feet per minute (2360 L/s) and serving not more than 10 air inlet openings.

4. For Group R, Division 1 Occupancies in all interior corridors serving as a required exit for a occupant load of 10 or more.

403.4 Smoke Control. A smoke-control system meeting the requirements of Chapter 9 shall be provided.

403.5 Fire Alarm and Communication Systems.

403.5.1 General. The fire alarm, emergency voice/alarm signaling system and fire department communication systems shall be designed and installed as set forth in this code and the Fire Code.

403.5.2 Emergency voice alarm signaling system. The operation of any automatic fire detector, sprinkler or water-flow device shall automatically sound an alert tone followed by voice instructions giving appropriate information and direction on a general or selective basis to the following terminal areas:

1. Elevators.

2. Elevator lobbies.

3. Corridors.

4. Exit stairways.

5. Rooms and tenant spaces exceeding 1,000 square feet (93 m²) in area.

6. Dwelling units in apartment houses.

7. Hotel guest rooms or suites.

A manual override for emergency voice communication shall be provided for all paging zones.

403.5.3 Fire department communication system. A two-way, approved fire department communication system shall be provided for fire department use. It shall operate between the central control station and elevators, elevator lobbies, emergency and standby power rooms and at entries into enclosed stairways.

403.6 Central Control Station.

403.6.1 General. A central control station room for fire department operations shall be provided. The location and accessibility of the central control station room shall be approved by the fire department. The central control station room shall be separated from the remainder of the building by not less than a one-hour fire-resistive occupancy separation. The room shall be a minimum of 96 square feet (9 m²) with a minimum dimension of 8 feet (2438 mm). It shall contain the following as a minimum:

1. The voice alarm and public address system panels.

2. The fire department communications panel.

3. Fire-detection and alarm system annunciator panels.

4. Annunciator visually indicating the location of the elevators and whether they are operational.

5. Status indicators and controls for air-handling systems.

6. Controls for unlocking all stairway doors simultaneously.

7. Sprinkler valve and water-flow detector display panels.

8. Emergency and standby power status indicators.

9. A telephone for fire department use with controlled access to the public telephone system.

10. Fire pump status indicators.

11. Schematic building plans indicating the typical floor plan and detailing the building core, exit facilities, fire-protection systems, firefighting equipment and fire department access.

12. Work table.

403.6.2 Annunciation identification. Control panels in the central control station shall be permanently identified as to function.

Alarm, supervisory and trouble signals as required by Items 3 and 7 above shall be annunciated in compliance with the Fire Code in the central control station by means of an audible and visual indicator. For purposes of annunciation, zoning shall be in accordance with the following:

1. When the system serves more than one building, each building shall be considered separately.

2. Each floor shall be considered a separate zone. When one or more sprinkler risers serve the same floor, each riser shall be considered a separate zone.

EXCEPTION: When more than one riser serves the same system on the floor.


403.7 Elevators. Elevators and elevator lobbies shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 30 and the following:

NOTE: A bank of elevators is a group of elevators or a single elevator controlled by a common operating system; that is, all those elevators which respond to a single call button constitute a bank of elevators. There is no limit on the number of cars which may be in a bank or group, but there may not be more than four cars within a common hoistway.

1. Elevators on all floors shall open into elevator lobbies which are separated from the remainder of the building, including corridors and other exits, by walls extending from the floor to the underside of the fire-resistive floor or roof above. Such walls shall not be of less than one-hour fire-resistive construction. Openings through such walls shall conform to Section 1005.8.

EXCEPTIONS: 1. The main entrance-level elevator lobby in office buildings.

2. Elevator lobbies located within an atrium complying with the provisions of Section 402.

3. In fully sprinklered office buildings, corridors may lead through enclosed elevator lobbies if all areas of the building have access to at least one required exit without passing through the elevator lobby.

2. Each elevator lobby shall be provided with an approved listed smoke detector located on the lobby ceiling. When the detector is activated, elevator doors shall not open and all cars serving that lobby are to return to the main floor and be under manual control only. If the main floor detector or a transfer floor detector is activated, all cars serving the main floor or transfer floor shall return to a location approved by the fire department and building official and be under manual control only. The detector may serve to close the lobby doors, additional doors at the hoistway opening allowed in Section 3007 and smoke dampers serving the lobby.

3. Elevator hoistways shall not be vented through an elevator machine room. Cable slots entering the machine room shall be sleeved into the machine room. Such sleeves shall be no larger than necessary for free passage of the cables. Each elevator machine room shall be treated as a separate smoke-control zone.

403.8 Standby Power, Light and Emergency Systems.

403.8.1 Standby power. A standby power-generator set conforming to the Electrical Code shall be provided on the premises. The set shall supply all functions required by this section at full power. Set supervisions with manual start and transfer override features shall be provided at the central control station.

An on-premises fuel supply sufficient for not less than two hours' full-demand operation of the system shall be provided.

The standby system shall have a capacity and rating that would supply all equipment required to be operational at the same time. The generating capacity need not be sized to operate all the connected electrical equipment simultaneously.

All power, lighting, signal and communication facilities specified in Sections 403.3, 403.4, 403.5, 403.6, 403.7 and 403.8, as applicable; fire pumps required to maintain pressure, standby lighting and normal circuits supplying exit signs and exit illumination shall be transferable to the standby source.

403.8.2 Standby lighting. Standby lighting shall be provided as follows:

1. Separate lighting circuits and fixtures sufficient to provide light with an intensity of not less than one footcandle measured at floor level in all exit corridors, stairways, pressurized enclosures, elevator cars and lobbies and other areas which are clearly a part of the escape route.

2. All circuits supply lighting for the central control station and mechanical equipment room.

403.8.3 Emergency systems. The following are classified as emergency systems and shall operate within 10 seconds of failure of the normal power supply:

1. Exit sign and exit illumination as required by Sections 1012 and 1013.

2. Elevator car lighting.

403.9 Exits. Exits shall comply with other requirements of this code and the following:

1. All stairway doors which are locked from the stairway side shall have the capability of being unlocked simultaneously without unlatching upon a signal from the central control station.

2. A telephone or other two-way communications system connected to an approved emergency service which operates continuously shall be provided at not less than every fifth floor in each required stairway where other provisions of this code permit the doors to be locked.

403.10 Seismic Considerations. In Seismic Zones 2, 3 and 4, the anchorage of mechanical and electrical equipment required for life-safety systems, including fire pumps and elevator drive and suspension systems, shall be designed in accordance with the requirements of Section 1624.

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