Code Consulting at Trampoline ParkThis is part 2 of our 3 part series of how How Qualified Fire Code Consultants Can Help You Avoid Fire Code Problems.

Harrington Group’s code consultants began investigating the various elements of the indoor trampoline park project, such as how many people would be on the trampolines simultaneously and so on. Then, early in this process, the building official opted to change gears and consider the trampolines to be part of the building’s floor assembly because they covered such a large percentage of the building area and nearly all occupants would be standing, or jumping, directly on them. As such, the trampolines would have to meet the prescriptive code requirements for floor assemblies. This had our code consultants concerned that the ability to test the trampoline assembly as a flooring assembly could be impractical.

Challenges of Fire Testing

Fire tests for floor assemblies are conducted in a relatively small bench scale chamber in which the flooring material is tested in the configuration in which it will be installed in a building. For example, if the goal is to test the fire characteristics of vinyl flooring, the vinyl flooring sample is installed over a wood or concrete substrate within the test chamber, just as it would be in a building. The test wasn’t designed to take a sample of trampoline material and suspend it four feet above a concrete floor. A different approach was needed.

Seeking Outside Expertise

Since the building official was citing interior finish criteria from the International Building Code (IBC), our code consultants sought the advice of technical staff with the International Code Council.  Their opinion was that the interior finish requirements “probably” should not be applied and suggested that the IBC’s criteria covering children’s playground structures in Chapter 4 may provide some relevant guidance. While the IBC did not address trampoline parks specifically, it did address a similar scenario: indoor play parks in large malls. The indoor play park scenario is slightly different, since malls aren’t designed exclusively as a host site for playgrounds, but some of the basic fire safety principles could be applied. The code’s objective is to make sure that if a fire occurred; it would be contained and not spread beyond the playground.

…And A Little Bit of Luck

The code officials agreed to apply certain criteria from this section in lieu of applying the interior finish criteria from Chapter 8 of the IBC. Data from certain fire tests previously conducted was provided from the trampoline manufacturer and the code officials approved the installation and issued a permit. It is suspected that this process was also aided by the fact that coincidentally, our code consultants learned that the code officials in another County had recently permitted an indoor trampoline park very similar to the one under consideration.

Just when we thought we had every angle covered, we were met with another obstacle which is continued in Unforeseen Challenges In Meeting Fire CodesTrampoline Park Code Consulting

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