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Smoke Detectors in Business Occupancies

by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Nov 6, 2020 12:00:21 AM

Q: Are smoke detectors required in existing business occupancies that do not have a fire alarm system or automatic sprinkler system if the occupancy load is less than 500 persons?

A: Fire alarm systems are required in business occupancies based on the number of floors, the number of occupants, and the occupancy load. Section 38.3.4.1 of the 2012 Life Safety Code says a fire alarm system is required in new business occupancies where any one of the following conditions exist:

  • The building is three stories or more in height
  • There are 50 or more occupants above or below the level of exit discharge
  • The occupancy load of the building is subject to 300 or more total occupants

Section 39.3.4.1 says a fire alarm system is required in existing business occupancies where any one of the following conditions exist:

  • The building is three stories or more in height
  • There are 100 or more occupants above or below the level of exit discharge
  • The occupancy load of the building is subject to 1000 or more total occupants

If you are required to have a fire alarm system, then sections 38/39.3.4.2 of the 2012 LSC provides three options for initiation of a fire alarm signal:

  • Manual pull stations
  • Smoke detection provided throughout the building
  • Sprinkler system provided throughout the building

If you are not required to have a fire alarm system, then I see no requirement for smoke alarms to be installed.

Topics:Business OccupanciesFire AlarmSmoke Detectors

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