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Georgia State Code
Title      25
Chapter       2  
Section Navigation     1 ... 9            10 ... 17    
    18 ... 26         27 ... 33.1  
    34 ... 40      
Section<<< 10 11 12 12.1 13 14 14.1 15 16 17 >>>  
Title 25, Chapter 2, Section 13 (25-2-13)

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) "Capacity" means the maximum number of persons who may be reasonably expected to be present in any building or on any floor thereof at a given time according to the use which is made of such building. The Commissioner shall determine and by rule declare the formula for determining capacity for each of the uses described in this Code section.

(2) "Historic building or structure" means any individual building or any building which contributes to the historic character of a historic district, so designated by the state historic preservation officer pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the Board of Natural Resources, or as so designated pursuant to the provisions of Article 2 of Chapter 10 of Title 44, the "Georgia Historic Preservation Act."

(3) "Landmark museum building" means a historic building or structure used as an exhibit of the building or structure itself which exhibits a high degree of architectural integrity and which is open to the public not fewer than 12 days per year; however, additional uses, original or ancillary, to the use as a museum shall be permitted within the same building subject to the provisions of paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of this Code section. Landmark museum buildings must be so designated by the state historic preservation officer pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the Board of Natural Resources.

(b)(1) Certain buildings and structures, because of construction or use, may constitute a special hazard to property or to the life and safety of persons on account of fire or panic from fear of fire. Buildings constructed or used in the following manner present such a special hazard:

(A) Buildings or structures more than three stories in height; provided, however, that nothing in this Code section shall apply to any individually owned residential unit within any such building;

(B) Any building three or more stories in height and used as a residence by three or more families, with individual cooking and bathroom facilities for each family; provided, however, that nothing in this Code section shall apply to any individually owned residential unit within any such building;

(C) Any building in which there are more than 15 sleeping accommodations for hire, with or without meals but without individual cooking facilities, whether designated as a hotel, motel, inn, club, dormitory, rooming or boarding house, or by any other name;

(D) Any building or group of buildings which contain schools and academies for any combination of grades one through 12 having more than 15 children or students in attendance at any given time and all state funded kindergarten programs;

(E) Hospitals, health care centers, mental health institutions, orphanages, nursing homes, convalescent homes, old age homes, jails, prisons, reformatories, and all administrative, public assembly, and academic buildings of colleges, universities, and vocational-technical schools. As used in this subparagraph, the terms "nursing homes," "convalescent homes," and "old age homes" mean any building used for the lodging, personal care, or nursing care on a 24 hour basis of four or more invalids, convalescents, or elderly persons who are not members of the same family;

(F) Racetracks, stadiums, and grandstands;

(G) Theaters, auditoriums, restaurants, bars, lounges, nightclubs, dance halls, recreation halls, and other places of public assembly having an occupant load of 300 or more persons, except that the occupant load shall be 100 or more persons in those buildings where alcoholic beverages are served;

(G.1) Churches having an occupant load of 500 or more persons in a common area or having an occupant load greater than 1,000 persons based on total occupant load of the building or structure;

(H) Department stores and retail mercantile establishments having a gross floor area of 25,000 square feet on any one floor or having three or more floors that are open to the public. For purposes of this subparagraph, shopping centers and malls shall be assessed upon the basis of the entire area covered by the same roof or sharing common walls; provided, however, that nothing in this Code section shall apply to single-story malls or shopping centers subdivided into areas of less than 25,000 square feet by a wall or walls with a two-hour fire resistance rating and where there are unobstructed exit doors in the front and rear of every such individual occupancy which open directly to the outside;

(I) Group day-care homes and day-care centers required to be licensed or commissioned as such by the Department of Human Resources and in which at least seven children receive care. As used in this subparagraph, the term "group day-care home" means a day-care facility subject to licensure by the Department of Human Resources where at least seven but not more than 12 children receive care; and the term "day-care center" means a day-care facility subject to licensure or issuance of a commission by the Department of Human Resources where more than 12 children receive care. Fire safety standards adopted by rules of the Commissioner pursuant to Code Section 25-2-4 which are applicable to group day-care homes and day-care centers shall not require staff-to-child ratios; and

(J) Personal care homes required to be licensed as such by the Department of Human Resources and having at least seven beds for nonfamily adults, and the Commissioner shall, pursuant to Code Section 25-2-4, by rule adopt state minimum fire safety standards for those homes, and any structure constructed as or converted to a personal care home on or after April 15, 1986, shall be deemed to be a proposed building pursuant to subsection (d) of Code Section 25-2-14 and that structure may be required to be furnished with a sprinkler system meeting the standards established by the Commissioner if he deems this necessary for proper fire safety. (2) Any building or structure which is used exclusively for agricultural purposes and which is located in an unincorporated area shall be exempt from the classification set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3)(A) The provisions of this paragraph relating to landmark museum buildings shall apply only to those portions of such buildings which meet all the requirements of a landmark museum building, except as otherwise provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this paragraph. Subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this paragraph shall, unless otherwise provided in such subparagraphs, preempt all state laws, regulations, or rules governing reconstruction, alteration, repair, or maintenance of landmark museum buildings. Local governing authorities may recognize the designation of landmark museum buildings by ordinance and authorize the local enforcement authority to incorporate the provisions of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this paragraph into their local building and fire codes. Subparagraphs (D) and (E) of this paragraph shall apply to other historic buildings or structures.

(B) A landmark museum building shall be subject to the following provisions:

(i) Repairs, maintenance, and restoration shall be allowed without conformity to any state building or fire safety related code, standard, rule, or regulation, provided the building is brought into and remains in full compliance with this paragraph;

(ii) In the case of fire or other casualty to a landmark museum building, it may be rebuilt, in total or in part, using such techniques and materials as are necessary to restore it to the condition prior to the fire or casualty and use as a totally preserved building; or

(iii) If a historic building or structure, as a result of proposed work or changes in use, would become eligible and would be so certified as a landmark museum building, and the state historic preservation officer so certifies and such is submitted to the state fire and building code official with the construction or building permit application, then the work may proceed under the provisions of this paragraph.

(C) All landmark museum buildings shall comply with the following requirements:

(i) Every landmark museum building shall have portable fire extinguishers as deemed appropriate by the state or local fire authority having jurisdiction based on the applicable state or local fire safety codes or regulations;

(ii) All landmark museum buildings which contain residential units shall have electrically powered smoke or products of combustion detectors installed within each living unit between living and sleeping areas. Such detectors shall be continuously powered by the building's electrical system. When activated, the detector shall initiate an alarm which is audible in sleeping rooms of that living unit. These unit detectors shall be required in addition to any other protective system that may be installed in the building;

(iii) For all landmark museum buildings, except those protected by a total automatic fire suppression system and one and two family dwellings, approved automatic fire warning protection shall be provided as follows: install at least one listed smoke or products of combustion detector for every 1,200 square feet of floor area per floor or story. In addition, all lobbies, common corridors, hallways, and ways of exit access shall be provided with listed smoke or products of combustion detectors not more than 30 feet apart. Detectors shall be so connected as to sound an alarm audible throughout the structure or building. With respect to buildings which are totally protected by an automatic fire suppression system, activation of the sprinkler system shall sound an alarm throughout the structure or building;

(iv) Smoke or products of combustion detectors shall be listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory;

(v) All multistory landmark museum buildings, except one and two family dwellings, with occupancy above or below the street or grade level shall have manual fire alarm pull stations in the natural path of egress. The activation of a manual pull station shall cause the building fire warning system to sound;

(vi) Approved exit signs shall be located where designated by the local or state authority having jurisdiction in accordance with the applicable state or local code, standard, rule, or regulation;

(vii) Except for one and two family dwellings, every landmark museum building occupied after daylight, or which has occupied areas subject to being totally darkened during daylight hours due to a power failure or failure of the electrical system, shall be equipped with approved emergency lighting meeting the provisions of the applicable state or local code, standard, rule, or regulation;

(viii) Occupant loading of landmark museum buildings or structures shall be limited by either the actual structural floor load capacity or by the limitations of means of egress or by a combination of factors. Actual floor load capacity shall be determined by a Georgia registered professional engineer. Said floor load shall be posted at a conspicuous location. The building owner shall submit evidence of this certification and related computations to the enforcement authority having jurisdiction, upon request. Where one or more floors of a landmark museum building have only one means of egress, the occupant load shall be computed and occupancy limited as determined by the state or local fire marshal; and

(ix) The electrical, heating, and mechanical systems of landmark museum buildings shall be inspected and any conditions that create a threat of fire or a threat to life shall be corrected in accordance with applicable standards to the extent deemed necessary by the state or local authority having jurisdiction.

(D) Historic buildings not classified as landmark museum buildings shall meet the requirements of applicable state or local building and fire safety laws, ordinances, codes, standards, rules, or regulations as they pertain to existing buildings. If a historic building or structure is damaged from fire or other casualty, it may be restored to the condition prior to the fire or casualty using techniques and methods consistent with its original construction, or it shall meet the requirements for new construction of the applicable state or local codes, standards, rules, or regulations, provided these requirements do not significantly compromise the features for which the building was considered historically significant.

(E) As to any buildings or structures in the State of Georgia which meet the criteria of paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section and thus fall under the jurisdiction of the Safety Fire Commissioner and which also have been designated as historically significant by the state historic preservation officer, the appropriate enforcement official, in granting or denying a variance pursuant to subsection (e) of Code Section 25-2-12, shall consider the intent of this chapter, with special attention to paragraph (3) of this subsection, Article 3 of Chapter 2 of Title 8, "The Uniform Act for the Application of Building and Fire Related Codes to Existing Buildings," Article 2 of Chapter 10 of Title 44, the "Georgia Historic Preservation Act," and the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Preservation Projects.

(4) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as exempting any building, structure, facility, or premises from ordinances enacted by any municipal governing authority in any incorporated area or any county governing authority in any unincorporated area, except to the extent stated in paragraph (3) of this subsection relative to landmark museum buildings or historic buildings or structures.

(c) Every person who owns or controls the use of any building, part of a building, or structure described in paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section, which, because of floor area, height, location, use or intended use as a gathering place for large groups, or use or intended use by or for the aged, the ill, the incompetent, or the imprisoned, constitutes a special hazard to property or to the life and safety of persons on account of fire or panic from fear of fire, must so construct, equip, maintain, and use such building or structure as to afford every reasonable and practical precaution and protection against injury from such hazards. No person who owns or controls the use or occupancy of such a building or structure shall permit the use of the premises so controlled for any such specially hazardous use unless he has provided such precautions against damage to property or injury to persons by these hazards as are found and determined by the Commissioner in the manner described in subsection (d) of this Code section to be reasonable and practical.

(d) The Commissioner is directed to investigate and examine construction and engineering techniques; properties of construction materials, fixtures, facilities, and appliances used in, upon, or in connection with buildings and structures; and fire prevention and protective techniques, including, but not limited to, the codes and standards adopted, recommended, or issued from time to time by the National Fire Protection Association (National Fire Code and National Electric Code), the American Insurance Association (National Building Code), the successor to the National Board of Fire Underwriters, the American Standards Association, and the Standard Building Code Congress (Southern Standard Building Code). Based upon such investigation, the Commissioner is authorized to determine and by rule to provide what reasonable and practical protection must be afforded property and persons with respect to: exits; fire walls and internal partitions adequate to resist fire and to retard the spread of fire, smoke, heat, and gases; electrical wiring, electrical appliances, and electrical installations; safety and protective devices, including, but not limited to, fire escapes, fire prevention equipment, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, panic hardware, fire alarm and detection systems, exit lights, emergency auxiliary lights, and other similar safety devices; flameproofing; motion picture equipment and projection booths; and similar facilities; provided, however, that any building described in subparagraph (b)(1)(C) of this Code section shall be required to have a smoke or products of combustion detector listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory; and, regardless of the manufacturer's instructions, such detectors in these buildings shall be located in all interior corridors, halls, and basements no more than 30 feet apart or more than 15 feet from any wall; where there are no interior halls or corridors, the detectors shall be installed in each sleeping room. All detection systems permitted after April 1, 1992, shall be powered from the building's electrical system and all detection systems required by this chapter, permitted after April 1, 1992, shall have a one and one-half hour emergency power supply source. Required corridor smoke detector systems shall be electrically interconnected to the fire alarm, if a fire alarm is required. If a fire alarm is not required, the detectors at a minimum shall be approved single station detectors powered from the building electrical service.

(e) All rules and regulations promulgated before April 1, 1968, by the Commissioner or the state fire marshal and the minimum fire safety standards adopted therein shall remain in full force and effect where applicable until such time as they are amended by the appropriate authority.

(f) The municipal governing authority in any incorporated area or the county governing authority in any unincorporated area of the state shall have the authority to enact such ordinances as it deems necessary to perform fire safety inspections and related activities for those buildings and structures not covered in this Code section.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law or any local ordinance to the contrary, in the event of a conflict between any code or standard of the National Fire Protection Association (National Fire Code and National Electric Code) and of the Standard Building Code Congress (Southern Standard Building Code), the code or standard of the National Fire Protection Association (National Fire Code and National Electric Code) shall prevail. The order of precedence established by this subsection shall apply to all buildings and structures whether or not such buildings and structures are covered under this Code section.

Saturday May 23 14:04 EDT


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