Sprinkler retro-fits

2/28/2008:

Hoboken is home to several mid-rise buildings that do not have fire sprinkler systems. One such location was 1203 Washington St., which claimed the life of one man this year.

The NJ Department of Community Affairs is considering a Uniform Fire Code amendment that would require all high-rise buildings in the state to install full coverage sprinkler systems. Commercial and residential buildings erected prior to 1987 were not required to install sprinkler systems at the time of their construction. Since construction, these buildings were unfortunately neither encouraged nor required to retrofit sprinklers. The lack of sprinkler coverage severely diminishes the life safety of people who live in such Hoboken high-rises as Church Towers, Fox Hill and Marine View Towers. Even though 1203 Washington Street would not fall under the state’s definition of a high-rise building (at least 75 feet tall), it nevertheless underscores importance of life safety and fire protection.

The Hoboken Firefighters’ Union sent a letter to DCA Commissioner Joseph Doria regarding their support for the proposed Uniform Fire Code amendment.

Hoboken fire sprinklers

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27 Comments on "Sprinkler retro-fits"

nosferatu
Member

Neither ADA nor FHA guidelines are applicable per se in the state of NJ for purposes of building construction. The governing code for all construction in NJ is the NJUCC (NJ Uniform Construction Code – part of the NJ Administrative Code, Section 5:23), which in turn refers to certain model codes and standards that are published by independent bodies. So, in the Barrier-Free Subcode of the NJUCC (sec. 5:23-7), it states that the acessibility standards are as published in ICC/ANSI 117.1, which for years has been the standard for accessible facilities in NJ. Even so, the ANSI code is modified by the NJUCC in places.

In any case, it’s important to understand that the ADA is a federal anti-discriminatory legislation – not a building code. It’s up to individual states and municipalities to modify and enforce ADA via construction codes as they see fit. In NJ, 1,2 and 3-family homes need not comply with ANSI standards, but all buildings with more than 4 units (among other requirements) must comply.

Journey
Member
Journey

There are folk that can walk, but because they have injuries or a disability that affects their hands those ADA door handles are great. They are also great if your hands are full.

moe
Member

correction to my last post – FHA rules and not ADA most likely apply in the duplex case, so the handicap bathroom is required if the unit is on the ground floor and there are 4 or more units in the building.

hud.gov/offices/fheo/disabilities/fhguidelines/fhefha1.cfm#guidelines

moe
Member

[quote comment=”70747″]

Remember that the barrier-free code and the ADA are two different things. The ADA is an anti-discriminatory legislation. It says that a handicapped person should not be denied access to all the amenities that anyone else in the country has. The barrier-free code is an interpretation of this legislation and thus requires that ALL units be accessible, so that a handicapped person cannot later state that he was denied the ability to choose from all the apartment choices in a given building.

Take out of that what you will.[/quote]

I thought ADA only applied to commercial structures. Homes and condos would have no requirements to be ada compliant.

However, there is a trend to include ADA like features in new construction to allow the units to be marketed as Senior friendly. Including the ADA compliant unit on the first floor of a duplex might just have been a design fluke – for ease of construction the bathroom might have ended up with the odd dimensional needs for an ADA ok bathroom so rather then think of another reason it is so square, they just labeled it ADA compliant.

nosferatu
Member

Well, far be it from me to defend the handicapped code, which I’ll be the first to admit doesn’t make a lot of sense, esp. in NJ, which requires ALL units in multifamily bldgs (>4 units) and esp. with regards to duplexes.

However, in the case you mentioned, the logic(?) is that at least one floor has all the required accessible amenities for a handicapped person to function, keeping in mind that a handicapped person may not be the only person living in the unit. Although you’re correct – why would a family with a HC person buy a unit in which one member couldn’t access an entire floor – I’ll admit this does happen, though.

Also, they assume that this is the minimal level of requirement and a handicapped person can install chairlifts on the stairs of a duplex and modify the 2nd floor later, if required. I know, it doesn’t make much sense, but that’s how it is.

Remember that the barrier-free code and the ADA are two different things. The ADA is an anti-discriminatory legislation. It says that a handicapped person should not be denied access to all the amenities that anyone else in the country has. The barrier-free code is an interpretation of this legislation and thus requires that ALL units be accessible, so that a handicapped person cannot later state that he was denied the ability to choose from all the apartment choices in a given building.

Take out of that what you will.

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