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Is it reasonable to apply the "Business" occupancy Worksheet and methodology of NFPA 101A to a "special Purpose Industrial" occupancy.?

Question asked by Thomas Kraft on Feb 20, 2018
Latest reply on Feb 20, 2018 by Milton Werner

There are large pre-1960 reinforced concrete former process buildings that are currently in "cold and dark" status (i.e.: they are not occupied, have no utilities, and are maintained in a surveillance and maintenance mode only).  The buildings do not have automatic sprinkler protection, permanent emergency lighting, or fire alarm systems. Personnel must enter to maintain contamination control exhaust ventilation and other barrier/confinement systems.  This work is performed under work control packages and specific permit procedures, including a formal accountability system and pre-notification to the fire department.  Battery-backed lighting, radio communications and portable fire extinguishers are required to accompany personnel.  An entry control coordinator provides constant communication and coordination among work teams and the fire department. 

 

NFPA 101 does not strictly apply, since the facility is no longer being actively occupied.  However, NFPA 41 is not yet applicable since building demolition or modification activities will not be authorized or performed for several years.

 

Since only experience personnel may enter the buildings (e.g.:formal training, building feature familiarization, and pre-job briefing), fire loading has been reduced to a limited-combustible level, and there are very limited ignition sources, can NFPA 101A be used with the "Business" Occupancy checklist to determine an equivalent level of life safety to permit more than ten (10) personnel to work within the building (no hot work or flammable liquids handling allowed) and/or teams in multiple locations at one time? 

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