The BFPD Fire Prevention Bureau has the responsibility of applying the Fire Prevention and Building Codes to all commercial buildings within the Boles Fire Protection District boundaries. Commercial buildings must have their plans reviewed prior to construction and are inspected during construction, upon occupancy by any new business or tenant, and regularly throughout the year. Regular inspections of all commercial buildings are designed and intended to minimize the possibility that a fire would start and limit the spread of a fire should it occur. The highest priority in commercial building inspections are schools and assembly buildings making sure that the occupants will have the ability to rapidly and safely exit the building in the event of a fire. Building Permits are also required for a new duplex and multi-family residential structures.
Any new business, change of business ownership or change of tenant is required to contact the Boles Fire Protection District for a Fire Inspection of the premises and purchase a Occupancy permit from the Fire Protection District. The cost of the permit is a one time fee of $35.00. The contact number is 636-742-2515 for this inspection.
Common Mistakes on Commercial Projects:
1. Preliminary meetings are very beneficial. We would prefer to meet with the Owner, Architect/Engineer and Franklin County Building Department. Obviously simple interior finishes and small single tenant buildings do not typically require such a meeting. If you are doing anything unusual it probably would be helpful. Typically, a couple of days notice is required for scheduling purposes.
2. When making revisions, please highlight or otherwise identify the changes on your plans. This will make it much easier (and less time consuming) to verify that the changes now comply with the code and/or adopting ordinance.
3.. Typical errors on plans include:
A. Failure to identify the correct code edition. Typically, the adoption dates for the County and the Fire Protection District are not the same, so you need to verify the correct code edition before you begin design.
B. Failure to properly determine the Use Group of the building. This is the first thing that the design professional must do. Also remember that many buildings are mixed use and you have several options within the code for dealing with them. Plans should clearly show which one of the mixed use options is being used, if applicable.
C. Once the Use Group is determined, the next thing that must be done is to determine the minimum type of construction allowed for the proposed building. The code clearly identifies each of the construction types and often we see a mixture of constructions within the building, e.g. metal stud walls and a wood truss roof C this would have to be classified as a type V or wood frame building since it does not comply with the fire resistance and combustibility requirements for a noncombustible type II building.
D. Failure to include a site plan. This typically occurs on franchise type operations where they have a limited number of plans and they use it throughout the country. Many construction requirements are based on building set back distances and accessibility to the building.
E. Failure to identify any hazardous materials (according to the International Fire Code©) and submit the information required to determine if a given occupancy is a high hazard of if limited amounts can be allowed within the basic use group.
F. Restaurants of types III, IV or V construction invariably run into problems with clearance to the combustible roof structure from the range hood exhaust duct. The International Mechanical Code© and NFPA 96 - Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations provide for several methods to reduce the clearance from the typical 18" minimum required to combustible materials.
G. Failure to identify the appropriate design number and details for any fire resistance rated assemblies in the structure. You need to identify the UL, Gypsum Association or FM design number and system used on the plans. Your details should clearly show the items required for construction from the chosen design. Notations such as AL-528 similar automatically throw up a RED FLAG to the plan reviewer that something does not agree with the tested design. Along with this, you need to show details of how you are going to protect penetrations of floor/ceiling assemblies and walls. Again we need reference numbers to tested and approved through-penetration fire-stop systems. Typically, we would expect to see sufficient detail for each size and type of opening to be protected.
H. Fire rated swinging fire doors are a complete assembly consisting of: fire rated door and frame; ball bearing hinges (three per door, typically); closer (if using spring hinges C two are required per door), latching device (dead bolt is not acceptable), if panic hardware is required, it must be fire exit hardware, not just an exit device.
I. Provide a complete hardware schedule. It is also helpful if you provide catalog cut sheets showing the lock functions so we can verify the hardware meets the egress requirements.
4. A fire prevention building permit is required PRIOR to the start of any construction. The permit is not just for inspections. If you need to start with the footings and foundations prior to the issuance of a permit, you need to send a letter requesting footing and foundation authorization. If the building height and area issues fire separation distance issues and exterior exiting are resolved, we will issue a footing and foundation letter. This will allow you to begin work at your own risk, before the actual permit issuance. If you go beyond that point, you will need your permit. In very rare cases, we have issued exterior wall and roof letters, but this is highly unusual.