Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

October 18, 2012

Codes key consideration in construction

TAHLEQUAH — When considering fire codes that regulate the remodeling or building of a home or business, the specific guidelines and rules stem from the intent and purpose of the room or building to be constructed.

October is Fire Prevention Month, and being aware of when the installation of a fire door or a sprinkler system is required can help avoid tragedy and disaster.

Tahlequah residents who may be considering adding a bedroom or an office space to their home need to contact Tahlequah Building Inspector Mark Secratt, said Tahlequah Fire Department Chief Ray Hammons.

“It will take building permits. That way, proper mechanical inspections of plumbing, wiring, HVAC can be made,” he said.

Hammons said fire codes regulate everything from window size to shingle materials.

“[Roof shingles have] to meet a certain standard, whether it’s flame retardant or not,” said Hammons.

A private residence is required to have one exit allowing people safe passage outside, and in multi-level homes, the stairs must connect to portion of the structure where the exit is located, said Secratt.

“Stairs in a private home do not have to lead directly to an exit. Each floor must have stairs that lead to a floor with an exit. For example, the stairs can lead to the bottom floor, and the exit can be on the opposite end of the house on the bottom floor. When a homeowner is adding an office space, the regulations wouldn’t change. The city would still consider that a residential structure,” he said. “For commercial [businesses], they have to be able to get people somewhere safe, as well.”

Secratt said commercial building fire codes are must stricter.

“Not only do you have to have illuminated exits, you have to have emergency lighting, especially in schools and bigger areas where people gather. It all depends on the business. It depends on the size, and the classification of the building. Each one is going to have different requirements. You may even have to [add a sprinkler system to] the building.”

A vital detail that needs to be confirmed when adding a room on to a private home is the intent and purpose of the room, said Hammons.

“Are you building for an extra bedroom or are you building it for an office? And now do we become a resident slash business, and what type of business is it?” he said. “If there are flammable, dangerous substances [involved], those are the types of things that we really need to know about.”

The city ordinance will allow only 20 percent of a private residence to be used for commercial purposes, said Secratt.

“Any bigger than that, and you have to change your house to a commercial structure,” he said. “If someone wanted to turn their private home into a commercial business, they would have to get their property rezoned to commercial, and then we would treat that structure as a commercial business. And depending on the business and the requirements of the 2009 International Fire Code, that might change the structure’s number of exits needed.”

Hammons said businesses the size of a convenience store or a small retail store may not require a sprinkler system or use of fire doors, or panic hardware or single-motion doors, depending on the nature of the business and the square-footage and floor-plan design.

“If we have a small business, such as a Dollar Store, and I’m just using that as an example, you don’t have a fire escape, you have exits marked,” he said. “If you have a building that’s not wide open that has doors, hallways, corridors, then what we’ll do we’ll have them post signs at each turn ‘this is where you are.’”

Hammons said a fire door - or panic hardware door, must be able to be opened with a single hand.

“In certain instances, such as Walmart or some daycare centers, you have to have a single-motion or panic hardware door. Some people even call it a handicap door, but you should be able to push a button [or push bar], with a single hand or motion or a single turn of the knob to open the door,” he said.

“You can lock everybody out of the building, but you can’t lock anybody in a building.”

In businesses the size of Walmart, there will be fire extinguishers posted 150 feet apart, said Hammons.

“You shouldn’t have to travel more than 75 feet to get to an extinguisher. That means that you can put them 150 apart,” he said. “That’s kind of a rule of thumb as far as the NFPA Life Safety code is concerned.”

The need for a sprinkler system is determined  by the building’s purpose and the square-footage involved, said Secratt.

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • svw-Marijuana-guy.jpg Grassroots efforts

    Group seeks area support to put medical marijuana on November ballot

    Legalized medical marijuana will be on the ballots in November if Oklahomans for Health, the organization putting forward the proposed amendment, can get 155,216 signatures by Aug. 16.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • washington-marshal.jpg Man charged following June pursuit

    Prosecutors have filed formal charges against a Hulbert man accused of leading authorities on a pursuit and running a roadblock last month.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-3rd-Thurs-group.jpg Third Thursday downtown event gaining momentum

    Most new events take time to build a following and Third Thursday Art Walk is still gaining momentum.
    The cloudy weather may have kept some shoppers home, but those out were enjoying the evening and buying gifts.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Council to mull TMSA contract

    Tahlequah city councilors on Monday are set to discuss and possibly act on a request to renew a contract with the local main street program worth $25,000 per year.
    If the contract is approved for the Tahlequah Main Street Association, it would automatically renew each year unless otherwise terminated or canceled.

    July 21, 2014

  • Motorcycle crash sends driver to Tulsa hospital

    A 55-year-old Welling man was in stable condition Friday after crashing a 2001 Kawasaki southeast of Tahlequah.

    July 21, 2014

  • sg-TKD-air-kick.jpg Little Dragons

    This Little Dragon program started at Ramos School of Taekwondo three years ago when the business opened. It is geared for 3-5 year olds. It teaches them motor skills, balance, left and right recognition, and to be aware of their surroundings.
    “It’s really basic and fun,” said Denisse Ramos, instructor. “They don’t even realize that they are learning.”

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • shriver-jennifer.jpg Woman arrested on murder charge

    A Cherokee County woman accused of crashing into and killing an 8-year-old Tulsa child last October while driving under the influence of synthetic cannabinoids and marijuana is being held on a bond of more than $300,000.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • proctor-and-kid.jpg Proctor a finalist for Teacher of the Year

    Jason Proctor believes connecting with his students builds trust and sets the stage for academic success.
    Proctor, teacher at Tahlequah High School, has been named one of 12 finalists for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • jn-file-canine-cop.jpg Tahlequah Police Dept. may add to canine program

    Tahlequah canine Officer Bo could soon have a four-legged colleague to help keep an eye on local drug problems.
    Police Chief Nate King has plans to expand the Tahlequah Police Department’s canine program.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • sg-Big-Jims.jpg Rally to bring over 3,000 motorcycles to Tahlequah

    The chance to win a 2014 883 Iron Harley-Davidson, enjoy live music, scheduled rides, and more comes to downtown Tahlequah in August.
    Big Jim’s Motorcycle Rally will take place in the North End Entertainment District Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 20–23.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe marijuana should be legalized in Oklahoma?

Absolutely not.
No, but it should be decriminalized.
Yes, but only for medicinal purposes.
Yes, both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Stocks