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  • 2018 Safety, Fire Code Changes Affecting Colleges and Universities

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    Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash

    Looking to build on your college or university campus? Fire and safety codes are changing, as they often do, to keep up with evolving threats. For colleges and universities, that means you’re now required to conduct risk analyses for certain new buildings.

    We’re talking about 2018 changes to the International Building and Fire codes, and NFPA 1 and 101 Life Safety codes. Here’s how Mark Blackburn, a vice president with Jensen Hughes, explained it in a Campus Safety webinar:

    Under the 2018 International Fire Code, new provisions added to chapter 9 require a risk analysis for new college and university buildings that (a) require a fire alarm system, and (b) sit on a campus with a cumulative occupant load of 1,000 or more.

    “In a campus setting that may have 100 buildings, let’s say there’s a new dorm being built on a remote part of the campus,” explains Mark. “Under these new IFC requirements, the campus would be required to undergo a risk analysis to determine whether a mass notification system is warranted.”

    The NFPA 1 Fire Code is more broad and stringent: It requires a risk analysis for any new building on a college or university campus, regardless of occupancy. The NFPA 101 Life Safety Code isn’t as broad as NFPA 1, but contains occupancy-specific requirements for assembly, high-rises, mercantile, education, business dorms.

    Ultimately, the risk analysis should drive the facility’s emergency response plan, says Mark. When a mass notification system is deemed necessary, note that effective mass notification isn’t a singular system, he cautions. Rather, effective mass notification requires leveraging and integrating systems like fire alarms, paging systems and more, continuously enhancing it over time.

    Not sure how to proceed, or how to best leverage a tight budget and existing systems? We can help. Grab a printable problem/solutions checklist, ask a question or request a demo.