Fire Safety & Permitting Requirements in Florida

by | Apr 12, 2021 | Fire Damage, Fire Damage Repairs

The Florida fire safety and permitting standards are defined under the Florida Fire Prevention Code (FFPC). The Florida Fire Marshal adopts the FFPC in intervals of three years. The FFPC lists code provisions to be adopted by respective counties, municipalities, and fire districts within the state. 

The content highlights the overarching fire safety and permitting requirements in Florida and leaves out any county or municipality-specific local amendments. The post looks at fire safety requirements for building structures from two perspectives i.e., Construction and Fire Safety Systems. 

Construction 

Fire resistive materials: fire dampers, barriers, and walls are to be created with specific standards. Fire dampers should be installed to safeguard ducts and air transfer vents that connect the fire barriers and firewalls. The fire dampers in use should meet a minimum damper rating as per the table shown below:

table showign minimum damper rating for fire dampers

 Impact damage: when the wall in a building structure could be exposed to physical impact or pressure from moving vehicles or other activities, protection against impact has to be provided. 

Joint systems: joint systems shall be provided to protect the joins or connections between fire-resistance-rated assemblies. The joint systems used should thwart the spread of fire for the duration equal to that of the assembly in which the joint is a part of.  

Fire doors: the fire doors have to be self-closing unless otherwise specified. 

Wire glass: Fire protection-rated Glasses with a thickness of 6.3 mm should be used in the approved opening protectives.

Fire stops: fire stops with an F rating of at least one hour should be used for any penetrations in the wall to accommodate cables, wires, pipes, tubes for installing electrical, mechanic, communication, or plumbing systems. 

Protective sleeves for penetration: when the item is penetrated using a sleeve, ensure that the sleeve is securely positioned within the wall. The space between the sleeve and the penetrating object should be filled with fire-resistive or non-combustible materials. 

Fire protection systems 

The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) (person or office responsible for enforcing the Life Safety Code) has the authority to request and review all the construction and fire protection systems to approve and issue permits before installation, rehabilitation r modification. This section details the AHJ’s rights related to fire protection systems maintenance and review. 

Restrain obstructions: the area surrounding the fire hydrants and respective department inlets should be free of any obstructions. The fire protection system control valves and fire hydrants are to be visible and accessible at all times. A minimum of 915 mm of clear space is a must around these systems for easy accessibility and operability. 

Documentation: Detailed and timely updated documents featuring all system and equipment upgrades, testing, and maintenance must be kept by the property owners to be made available to the AJH on request. 

Fire protective system maintenance: the property owner should engage with a certified fire protection agency for routine maintenance, review, and replacement of the fire protection systems and devices. The devices should be tested under reliable operating conditions.  

Notifying AHJ: notifying AHJ when the fire protection system has to be under restoration or out of order. Any repair or correction required to the fire protection devices must be carried out in a time frame approved by the AHJ. 

Critical deficiencies: in situations where the fire systems fail or is involved in many accidental activations, the AHJ has the right to appoint an approved fire watch until the system is repaired. 

This piece of content covered a small portion of the fire safety and permitting requirements in Florida. In addition to these, the country or municipality may have some additional corresponding regulations attached to this.