Q: Can an existing 8-foot wide corridor be reduced in width to 4 feet by temporary construction barriers?
A: Yes, but you will need to conduct an assessment for Alternative Life Safety Measures (or Interim Life Safety Measures as one accreditation organization calls it). All of the AHJs understand there will be times when you will need to have non-compliance with the Life Safety Code during periods of construction, maintenance, or emergency repairs.
It is understandable that you will need to build a ‘bump-out’ in an existing corridor of an occupied unit, in order to conduct demolition, and reconstruction, which will obstruct the required width of the corridor during the period of construction. The Life Safety Code already has considered this situation and section 188.8.131.52 of the 2012 LSC permits buildings to be occupied during periods of construction provided that ALSMs (or ILSMs) are in place.
So, when you know that the corridor needs to be obstructed for the purpose of construction, you assess the situation for ALSM (ILSM) and you follow what your ALSM (ILSM) policy requires you to do. For a corridor obstruction, it is likely that you would be required to do:
• Staff education on the obstruction, informing them of alternative routes for exiting
• Daily inspections, looking for accumulation of debris, supplies or other items
• An additional fire drill in the affected area to ensure staff understands that an alternate route for exiting is required
There may be other measures that need to be implemented, such as additional education, or additional fire-extinguishment devices. Once the assessment is conducted, it must be recorded and available for review by surveyors.
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.
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