Q: One of the units in my hospital is about to go under expansion construction and they are looking to move combustible supplies from a storage room to a room that used to be a break-room in another area on the same floor. The break-room is greater than 50-square feet and the movement of supplies would then consider it a hazardous room. Since the room/facility was built in 2006 and is now considered existing with the adoption of the 2012 LSC, can these supplies be stored in the old break-room if the room is not 1 hour rated? The break-room has sprinklers, a self-closing and positive latching door, and the walls extend from the floor to the ceiling with the ceiling also resisting the passage of smoke.
A: You need to review Chapter 43 of the 2012 LSC. This is a change is use of a room but not a change in occupancy. Section 184.108.40.206 (2) says for existing healthcare occupancies protected throughout by an automatic sprinkler system, where a change in use or a room or space not exceeding 250-square feet results in a room or space that is described in 220.127.116.11.5(7), the requirements for new construction shall not apply provided the enclosure meets the requirements of 18.104.22.168.2 through 22.214.171.124.4.
What this means is:
• If your entire building is fully sprinklered;
• If the break room is not more than 250-square feet
• If you are moving combustible supplies into that room;
• If the break room meets the requirements for existing hazardous areas (walls, doors, and ceiling that resist the passage of smoke, self-closing positive latching door)
Then yes, your break room does not have to meet new construction requirements and be 1-hour fire rated. It would be permitted to have non-rated walls and doors as long as they are smoke resistant, and the door is self-closing.
Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.