OFM TG-00-1995: Life Study Plan

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OFM-TG-00-1995

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GUIDELINE

Preparing A Life Safety Study

A Guideline for Property Owners

1995 (Revised May 2013)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECTION

Abstract

1.0 WHAT IS A LIFE SAFETY STUDY?

2.0 WHEN SHOULD A LIFE SAFETY STUDY BE PREPARED?

3.0 WHO SHOULD PREPARE THE LIFE SAFETY STUDY?

4.0 WHAT IS INCLUDED IN A LIFE SAFETY STUDY?

5.0 WHAT ARE SOME COMMON ERRORS FOUND IN LIFE SAFETY STUDIES?

6.0 WHAT IF A LIFE SAFETY STUDY IS NOT APPROVED?

7.0 EXAMPLE OF AN ISSUE COVERED BY A LIFE SAFETY STUDY

1995 (Revised May 2013)

OFM Section: Fire Safety Standards at (416) 325-3100

The reproduction of this guideline for non-commercial purposes is permitted and encouraged. Permission to reproduce the guideline for commercial purposes must be obtained from the Office of the Fire Marshal, Ontario.

Abstract

This document is intended as a guide for property owners on the purpose and contents of a Life Safety Study. The guide includes examples of common errors found in Life Safety Studies and also includes an example of a Life Safety Study found to provide an acceptable level of life safety to achieve compliance with Part 9 of Division B of the Fire Code.

1.0 WHAT IS A LIFE SAFETY STUDY?

A Life Safety Study is a proposal submitted to the Chief Fire Official that identifies alternate methods of meeting the requirements of Retrofit under Part 9 of Division B of the Fire Code.

2.0 WHEN SHOULD A LIFE SAFETY STUDY BE PREPARED?

A Life Safety Study may be prepared if an owner considers that a particular Retrofit requirement is not feasible and that alternate fire protection measures will achieve an acceptable level of life safety.

3.0 WHO SHOULD PREPARE THE LIFE SAFETY STUDY?

This study must be prepared by an Architect and/or Professional Engineer. Architect means a licensee of the Ontario Association of Architects under the Architects Act. Professional Engineer means a licensee of the Professional Engineers of Ontario under the Professional Engineers Act.

4.0 WHAT IS INCLUDED IN A LIFE SAFETY STUDY?

The proposal must be prepared in accordance with Subsection 9.1.4. of Division B of the Fire Code and include:

  • a list of the items that do not comply with the retrofit regulations;
  • how an acceptable level of life safety as envisioned in the Fire Code may be achieved;
  • a detailed timetable for implementing the proposal; and,
  • interim measures that will be established for life safety, if appropriate.

5.0 WHAT ARE SOME COMMON ERRORS FOUND IN LIFE SAFETY STUDIES?

There are a number of misconceptions over what constitutes a Life Safety Study. For example, some owners, or their consultants, have submitted only a list of building deficiencies. Others have tried to explain why it is unnecessary to correct a particular deficiency as required by the Retrofit regulations. In some instances, a lengthy schedule of compliance was submitted without any interim measures proposed. In each of these cases, the applicant had to provide additional information before the proposal could be processed.

6.0 WHAT IF A LIFE SAFETY STUDY IS NOT APPROVED?

If a Life Safety Study is not approved by the Chief Fire Official, Article 9.1.4.7. of Division B of the Fire Code allows an owner to appeal the decision in the same manner as an Order. Appeal provisions are outlined in s. 25 to s. 27 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997. For more information on this process, please see Section 5.0 of OFM Guideline, “OFM-TG-01-2012 - Fire Safety Inspections and Enforcement”.

7.0 EXAMPLE OF AN ISSUE COVERED BY A LIFE SAFETY STUDY

A Life Safety Study was submitted for a four storey combustible building used for assembly purposes, which was required to be in compliance with Section 9.2 of Division B of the Fire Code. All walls and ceilings were plaster on wood lathe. Doors opening onto corridors were two inch (actual dimension) hardwood. There was a standpipe system equipped with 38 mm hose. Although there were an adequate number of exit stairs, they were not enclosed from the ground floor to the top storey. As the building had legally been designated as a historical building, it was preferred that certain features not be changed and that the exit stairs not be enclosed in the conventional manner.

The building was required to have a full fire alarm system, emergency lighting and exit signs to comply with Section 9.2. In addition, the following proposal was made to compensate for the lack of enclosed exit stairs:

  1. the building would be fully sprinklered;
  2. smoke detectors would be installed in all corridors;
  3. self-closing devices would be installed on all doors opening onto corridors which served as access to exit;
  4. double egress doors with a 3/4 hour fire protection rating would be installed across the corridors on all storeys to divide the building (approximately) into quadrants; and
  5. cross-corridor doors would be located so that each quadrant was served by at least one exit stair.

The proposal stated that the compliance schedule for the above items would be as follows: Item 3 in one month; Items 2, 4 and 5 in two months; and Item 1 in six months.

The existing wall and ceiling construction and the existing doors were considered to provide adequate containment of a fire. This, in conjunction with a full sprinkler system, would ensure that any fire would be small and contained and that there would be no significant smoke movement into the corridors and exit stairs. The cross corridor doors would ensure that any vertical movement of smoke would be confined to one quadrant of the building and keep travel distances to a smoke free quadrant short. The combination of containment, automatic suppression, early warning and short travel distances to a zone of refuge were considered to provide an acceptable level of life safety for the building occupants and the Life Safety Study was accepted.