, How Qualified Fire Code Consultants Can Help You Avoid Fire Code Problems, Harrington Group IncRecently, a couple of our code consultants were asked to venture into uncharted territory. A client in North Carolina was building an indoor trampoline park, and at that point, the state did not have any other such facilities. This was also a first for Harrington Group and fitting the facility into current building and fire codes proved to be challenging. The responsible building official was initially cautious in his interpretation of the code, insisting that the trampolines should be considered part of the building structure. Because the trampoline side ramps would be defined as walls, meeting the interior finish requirements (flame spread and smoke development ratings) would be difficult, if not impossible. The client worried that building the park to meet code requirements would be cost prohibitive, and would jeopardize the entire project.

Our code consultants had our marching orders – we needed to do our research and learn more about indoor trampoline parks. We believed the facility could be constructed and operated safely at a reasonable cost to our client.

A Late Start for Fire Code Intervention

The trampoline park owner wanted approximately 14,000 square-feet of trampoline surface, spread across three separate trampoline systems, within the facility. This would be accomplished by completely renovating an existing building that was formerly a big box construction supply company similar to Lowe’s or Home Depot.

The owner first became aware of serious potential code violations when his construction permit application was rejected by the building official. The owner then decided to seek code analysis assistance from Harrington Group, which has expertise in code consulting.

Moving Forward

To move forward, we had to look at the scenario from every angle and answer questions like:

  • How is this used; how many people?
  • What other factors play a role should it be considered a floor?
  • How can we test it?
  • Are there comparable scenarios that have been explicitly codified?

Once we had all of the facts, we could approach the AHJ’s with our findings and let them make their final decision.

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By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.