One of the most important responsibilities that engineers have is to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Throughout the past few decades, and as a result of numerous fires and disasters, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed and expanded their recommendations into what we know today as NFPA 101: Life Safety Code.
NFPA 101 is one of the most widely utilized safety documents in the United States. The code predominantly covers the safety and protection of occupants in both new and existing buildings. This is done by classifying a building’s occupancy and ensuring that the building meets the requirements identified in the code for that specific occupancy type. Many states and local governments have adopted these requirements as law and implemented them as safety standards for buildings. These laws are then enforced by the appropriate building or fire inspectors within that government’s jurisdiction, also known as the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).
Encorus applies this code to building designs where the local AHJ has adopted NFPA 101. In these instances, it is the definitive guide to determining the level of fire protection needed for a given building. Another key use of NFPA 101 is determining how many and what type of exits are required so that people can escape in the event of a fire.
As architects and engineers designing buildings and systems, it is our responsibility to ensure that what we design meets the requirements of the applicable safety codes that are adopted into law. If you have any questions about the life safety requirements for your building, or want to know if your building meets code, contact Director of Engineering Design Services, Tom Gilmartin, PE, LEED AP, at 716-592-3980 ext. 124 or at [email protected].