Seems to be some conflict here at my facility re: MER space
Do the walls need to be rated?
My understanding is that, yes the walls should be 1 hr., Am I misinformed?
Thanks in advance-
Please explain "MER space"
Is your question about Section 8.7 of NFPA 101?
Yes- 8.7.1 basically states it at the first sentence and so does the annex "not limited to" so I would think this MER room fits the
"not limited to". and a "hazard greater than that to the normal occupancy of the building". (healthcare) Not unless I'm reading it wrong?
MER - mechanical equipment room- In this room there's an air handler with steam coils, exhaust fans, and 2 electrical panels that serves all the quarantine rooms on the floor
In our LS drawings it shows 2 F/S dampers, but the walls are not marked as a barrier of any type, my understanding is that mechanical space should be rated. Originally this room was a day room many moons ago
In a fully sprinklered building, without the fuel fired equipment within and the storage use of the space (incidental supplies for maintenance of the equipment such as air filters in a storage cabinet to me would not be storage use), I would not consider a mechanical room of this sort to be hazardous area during a LSC survey of your facility. Maybe the F/S dampers were remnants of the earlier construction or an engineering judgement for a smoke partition/corridor wall separation. How does the life safety plan designate smoke partitions that are commonly used to separate hazardous areas in existing buildings?
Anyway your facility can designate any area in the building to any degree in compliance with Section 8.7 and dictate the safety features of the building to preclude the LSC surveyor from doing it.
I just spoke to one of our consultants- he stated basically the same, as long as the MER doesn't have fuel firing equipment or used to store combustibles the room does not have to be rated, but it has to be smoke tight
where in the codes can I find this info? Thanks
...it has to be smoke tight where in the codes can I find this info?
Since the MER was not considered a hazardous area, 2012 NFPA 101 (LSC) has requirements for construction to resist the transfer of smoke that might be a function of the walls and floor that enclose the room [should be shown on the LS plans], but not limited to:
If the consultant is a licensed professional engineer that makes a judgement the walls are to resist the transfer of smoke for the air ducts and air transfer openings by installing smoke dampers even though the above Codes do not require them, one should respect their judgement because they are legally responsible for their designs when they seal the drawings. If they are not the designer, its your word against their's, I would follow the LS drawing to identify the fire protection features the facility desires to comply with the LSC.
Our LS drawings list fire and smoke barriers and this MER in question is not marked as a fire or smoke barrier
so, we should be good?
Yes. I agree. from your description, it appears the mechanical designer may have specified them in the MER's walls without the LS plans identifying the function of the wall in terms of the LSC.
If I were do to a LSC survey of the facility, I would focus on the observation of the smoke dampers and document review of the plans, and your interview. There are many fire safety features that earlier LSC and building codes in many locations of your building that may be no longer be required for new construction in the current edition of the LSC. Since I also did plan reviews for new construction, my mind focuses the LSC survey using the new construction requirements. The deficiencies are identified that do not meet the new requirements. I then verify the actual construction is existing construction per the LSC and review it against the requirements for existing building. Then I decide if there is a deficiency. Clear corridor widths is a good example of this.
Are the walls barriers to control the transfer of smoke? What are you planning to do with the LS plan with the MER wall having of the smoke dampers?
The LSC for health care occupancies generally requires rooms in that occupancy to confine the spread of fire and smoke to some degree by having staff ensure that all doors are in the closed position during a fire emergency per 18/188.8.131.52. Other subsections of the Code requires a higher degree of confining the spread of fire and smoke for specific function areas.
You should let the LSC surveyor who uses the LS plan during the observations know what your facility's intentions of the fire safety function of the walls. Otherwise, the surveyor may come up up with their own fire safety function of the MER walls and non-defensible deficiency citations and plans of correction will most likely result. The TJC health care facility certification organizations may cite the lack of an inaccurate LS plan in addition to citations on what they felt fire safety feature the wall with the smoke dampers has.
"I would focus on the observation of the smoke dampers and document review of the plans, and your interview."
That's the thing- The MER shows it has 2 smoke dampers and the walls are not marked as any type of barrier, will this raise concern with a surveyor?
I would also be verifying the following.
You should know the answers to the inquiries for the survey not to stray. It very important that the smoke damper functions are very well documented as possible so the surveyor was satisfied with their existence.
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