The Omni/Fire safety

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Executive summary: If the major walls separating the large rooms in the building count as either fire walls or fire barriers, then we don't need a sprinkler system. If they don't count as fire walls or fire barriers, then we'll need to outfit the entire building with sprinkler systems. This is based on the assumption that the building's use/occupancy classification will change. We need to figure out what it is now.

Approximate room sizes

  • Big black stage room: ~4,800 sqft without stage/backstage areas, or ~5,500 sqft with stage/backstage areas.
  • Bar room: ~1,900 sqft
  • Total building floor plan: ~12,400

No other sizes are likely to be relevant to fire safety.

Use and occupancy classifications that may apply to us

Assembly Group A-2: Assembly uses intended for food and/or drink consumption including, but not limited to:

  • Restaurants, cafeterias and similar dining facilities (including associated commercial kitchens)
  • Taverns and bars
  • (others omitted)

Assembly Group A-3. Assembly uses intended for worship, recreation or amusement and other assembly uses not classified elsewhere in Group A including, but not limited to:

  • Art galleries
  • Community halls
  • Exhibition halls
  • Lecture halls
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • (others omitted)

Business Group B. Business Group B occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, for office, professional or service-type transactions, including storage of records and accounts. Business occupancies shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Educational occupancies for students above the 12th grade
  • Electronic data processing
  • Laboratories: testing, research and [SFM] instruction
  • Training and skill development not within a school oracademic program
  • (others omitted)

Group L occupancy includes the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, containing one or more laboratory suites as defined in Section 443.

Additional that probably don't apply to us:

  • Group E is education below grade 12.
  • Group F is factory/industrial/manufacturing
  • Group H is high-hazard
  • Group I is basically healthcare facilities, prisons and similar.
  • Group R is residential
  • Group S is storage: Places intended mostly for storing products/materials.
  • Group U is utility: Other places where humans don't stay for very long.

Source:


Construction requirements for existing buildings

All of the California requirements are here.

Still looking for Alameda and Oakland requirements.

Fire area

This is the definition of a "fire area" from the California Fire Code:

The aggregate floor area enclosed and bounded by fire walls, fire barriers, exterior walls or horizontal assemblies of a building. Areas of the building not provided with surrounding walls shall be included in the fire area if such areas are included within the horizontal projection of the roof or floor next above.

source (search for fire area).

This may be problematic. We need to figure out if any of the walls in the building constitute so-called fire walls or fire barriers. If not, then the whole building will require sprinkler systems. If the major walls separating the different areas constitute fire walls or fire barriers then we probably don't need any sprinklers.

Fire walls and fire barriers

These are defined in NFPA 80. They require you to create an account in order to read it. Someone should create an account and have a look.

Sprinkler systems

There are almost no requirements in the California Fire Code for existing buildings. Unfortunately the Alameda County Fire Code, being a changeset to the California Fire Code, adds the following to section 903.2.19:

When a change in occupancy or use to more hazardous occurs, the structure will be required to meet the requirements as set forth for new construction for the new occupancy classification.

Relevant section of Alameda County Fire Code

New buildings

Group A-2 (only if we run a bar/restaurant/eatery): An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group A-2 occupancies where one of the following conditions exists:

  1. The fire area exceeds 5,000 square feet (464 m2).
  2. The fire area has an occupant load of 100 or more.
  3. The fire area is located on a floor other than a level of exit discharge serving such occupancies.
  4. The structure exceeds 5,000 square feet (465 m2), contains more than one fire area containing a Group A-2 occupancy, and is separated into two or more buildings by fire walls of less than four hour fire resistance rating without openings.

Group A-3. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided for Group A-3 occupancies where one of the following conditions exists:

  1. The fire area exceeds 12,000 square feet (1115 m2).
  2. The fire area has an occupant load of 300 or more.
  3. The fire area is located on a floor other than a level of exit discharge serving such occupancies.
  4. The structure exceeds 12,000 square feet (1155 m2), contains more than one fire area containing exhibition and display rooms, and is separated into two or more buildings by fire walls of less than four hour fire resistance rating without openings.

Existing buildings

  • 4603.4 Sprinkler systems. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided in existing buildings in accordance with Sections 4603.4.1 and 4603.4.2.
    • 4603.4.1 Pyroxylin plastics. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout existing buildings where cellulose nitrate film or pyroxylin plastics are manufactured, stored or handled in quantities exceeding 100 pounds (45 kg). Vaults located within buildings for the storage of raw pyroxylin shall be protected with an approved automatic sprinkler system capable of discharging 1.66 gallons per minute per square foot (68 L/min/m2) over the area of the vault.
    • 4603.4.2 Group I-2. An automatic sprinkler system shall be provided throughout existing Group I-2 fire areas. The sprinkler system shall be provided throughout the floor where the Group I-2 occupancy is located, and in all floors between the Group I-2 occupancy and the level of exit discharge.