Thread: Cleaning Up a Mess
06-24-2001, 10:15 AM #19C7Firehouse.com Guest
Cleaning Up a Mess
Here's the issue: I am involved in trying to "clean up" an ongoing code problem. Renovations and repairs were made to a building. The structure as built does not match the plans that were reviewed and approved for the building permit.
Long story short, the Building Department took the owner to court. The day before the court hearing, the owner caved and wants to develop a consent decree that addresses the issues to be resolved before a certificate of occupancy can be issued. My list of issues:
- As built building plans
- As built sprinkler plans
- As built fire alarm plans
- Documentation of current maintenance, inspection, and testing of fire alarm, sprinkler systems
- Written agreement in advance that any code violations discovered during review of the as-builts will be corrected
FYI: The building is predominantly a B occupancy, with some A areas (a gym, dance studio, etc.). Four stories, three above grade.
Does this agreement sound reasonable to you?
You asked for my opinion, now you have it. Any similarity to another opinion, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
06-28-2001, 10:27 PM #2
- Join Date
- Feb 2001
- Central New York
My best guess is that they wanted to deal just before they went to court because they knew that they would get spanked! I think that you need to deal very carefully as this may set a president that could make things very difficult in the future. In my city this has happened and now all the smart contractors know that if they build it before the fire marshall sees it then the building department will let it go! NOT GOOD FOR ANYONE! I'll think more on the subject and try to be of more help to you.
06-29-2001, 10:13 AM #3
That sounds like a very reasonable and accomodating solution - by all rights you would have the legal basis to 'hold their feet to the fire' and require correction to meet the originally approved plans - but, in today's climate of being business-friendly, it will probably be more politically palatable to work with the contractor to accept the building as-built as long as it meets code requirements. I strongly agree that, if the as-builts show non-compliance, then a revision to achieve a compliant solution would be required.
Good luck with it!
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
07-31-2001, 06:04 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- Durham, NH
Is the engineer who designed the building willing to sign off on the modifications. If not I would stay away from it. If the engineer will sign off you course of action seems appropriate.
Mark W. Tetreault, Fire Marshal
Durham Fire Department
51 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
08-01-2001, 03:21 AM #5
I have a few ideas I'll share. The architect or engineer that puts their licensed seal on the plans are "supposedly" assuring code compliance. I am not one who buys into the fact if they "sign off" on plans that the building is any safer for occupants. Of course the final plans should reflect as built conditions. We have used a system of compensatory measures in lieu of strict code compliance. In the case of the sprinkler plans, don't cave in! A system not installed to design specs could be worse than NO system at all! Separation issues can be addressed with early warning systems (smoke detection) and strict maintenance requirments WITH documentation. You didn't specify what types of deficiencies the building has, but figuring the building dept was going to court, I am guessing significant. I hope this helps.
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