The Role of Building Codes in Fire Protection

April 25, 2023

The purpose of building codes in any jurisdiction is to help create buildings or building structures that are relatively safe for their occupants. There are some parts of building codes related to fire prevention and protection from fire.

In today’s blog article, we are going to talk about some of the ways that building codes relate to fire safety or fire prevention.

Occupant Load

One obvious building code related to fire safety is occupant load. While this refers to how much the structure can safely hold, for example, as weight on the floor, this also refers to how easily people can move around and, specifically, get out of the building in case of fire. Occupants need to be able to exit safely and also see where they are going (lighting).

Structural Components

There are many parts of building codes that discuss materials and structural components, and these often, at least in part, are related to how easily something can burn, or how long it would take for fire to pass from one area to another, such as when you have a separate rental unit. One consideration in the development of these rules is how combustible or flammable are certain materials.

Natural Gas

Whenever you are using natural gas for appliances or furnaces or fireplaces, there are always plenty of regulations that cover how they are to be located and what is required to limit the possibility of fire or explosion. While natural gas is a great energy source, it is also a safety hazard that needs to be addressed.

Even though there are some parts of building codes related to fire prevention and safety, building codes are no substitute for a fire safety program for either a building or a business. Building codes help with fire safety in certain areas but have obvious limitations.

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