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Existing Multi-Family Residential Converting to Restaurant

Discussion in 'Existing Buildings Codes' started by Hung Nguyen, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Hung Nguyen

    Hung Nguyen Member

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    Hi,

    I've been browsing this forum for quite some time and learned a bunch from the experience members in here.
    I am currently having some issues and it seems like the Architect that I hired is confused or doesn't know what to do.

    I purchased a multi-family house house and is looking to convert the first floor of the house to a fast food Vietnamese restaurant. The house is in a business zone and I will be living on the second floor. I have all the work done for the general contractor to pull the building permit, but came across an issue relating to fire protection. The building inspector discussed with my architect and brought up the issue of an automatic fire sprinkler system.

    My architect is saying that because my dwelling is a 3 unit dwellings, I am required to have an automatic fire sprinkler and told me that I need to hire a professional fire sprinkler contractor to do an assessment to see if an automatic fire sprinkler is needed. I thought that as an architect you should know the applicable codes to decide whether the project will be required to have an automatic fire sprinkler?

    I am trying to stay away from having to install the automatic fire sprinkler system due to costs and would really appreciate any help from the community.

    Some details about the multi-family house/proposed project.
    1) For some reason, the city's appraisal have the house listed as a 3 unit dwelling, but the building department record shows that the house is a 2 unit dwelling. This information was disclosed to me from the bank appraisal.
    2)The restaurant will be fast food serving and no sit in.
    3) the total floor space the house is less than 3500.

    Thanks!
     
  2. fatboy

    fatboy Administrator

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    Welcome!

    Not all architects are necessarily well versed in the Codes. Some are, but in my experience, it is the exception, rather than the rule when you find one that is knowledgeable in the Codes.

    You might be best to go visit the Building Department and make sure you understand what they think the building is, and then let them know your thoughts and plans for it.

    It will be time better spent, rather than trying to get your architect to figure out the Codes.

    Good Luck!
     
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  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    I am thinking sprinkler system will be required.

    Is it used as rental units now??

    How is the architect getting fire rated seperation between the residential and commercial??

    As suggested set down with the city

    There may be more surprises
     
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  4. Hung Nguyen

    Hung Nguyen Member

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    For the fire separation, the building department is okay with have fire rated sheetrocks (5/8) on the first floor ceiling and walls. The house is not a rental property. I will be living on the second floor.
     
  5. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    What is it now or what has it been the last couple of years
     
  6. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Besides the architecht you can hire a code consultant,,,,

    Which more than likely will save you money
     
  7. Hung Nguyen

    Hung Nguyen Member

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    I dont think understand your question. This property has always been a 2 family unit.
    any idea where i could start looking?
     
  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    That is the answer:::


    has always been a 2 family unit.
     
  9. Hung Nguyen

    Hung Nguyen Member

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    Based on my architect. He said that if this was a 2 family unit, then changing the use of the first floor to the restaurant would not warrant the automatic fire sprinkler. Would this be the case? Thanks
     
  10. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    I am going to let the more knowlegable ones answer that question.

    My answer would be fire sprinklers required
     
  11. CityKin

    CityKin Sawhorse

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    The restaurant, being carry-out only, and less than 1,500SF would be classified as B use (business), not A2 (restaurant assembly).

    However, the Residential unit above a commercial use is considered an R2 (apartment) and would trigger sprinklers. IBC chapter 9 (it is 903.2.8 in the 2105 IBC)

    Since the first floor is a change of use, (and increase in hazard) the sprinkler is triggered, even if the apartment is existing.
     
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  12. Francis Vineyard

    Francis Vineyard Sawhorse

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    Since it's an existing building they should be referencing IEBC as applicable.
    In accordance with 2012 IEBC Section 1012.2.1 Where a change in occupancy classification occurs that requires an automatic fire sprinkler system to be provided based on the new occupancy in accordance with Chapter 9 of the International Building Code, such system shall be provided throughout the area where the change of occupancy occurs.

    As I understand the provisions for 1 & 2 family dwellings a NFPA 13D system would be applicable although it's a business that would not require a sprinkler system.

    The other option would be a separation in accordance with 1012.1.1, Note the reference to Chapter 9 is the IEBC. It is not the intent that the change of occupancy itself is considered an alteration or creates a work area. 1012.1.1.1 and 1012.1.1.2 allow for limitation of the scope of the application of the IEBC alteration and work area provisions to the building based on the separation of occupancies provisions in IBC chapter 5.
     
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  13. Hung Nguyen

    Hung Nguyen Member

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    Hi Francis and thanks for the reply. I am still quite confused as to what codes are applicable to this change of use.

    Like you said, as this is an existing house, I was under the assumption that chapter 9 of the IEBC would be applicable to this project. So if this is the case, "901.3 Change of Occupancy Classification - Where the occupancy classification of a building changes, the provisions of Sections 902 through 912 shall apply. This includes a change of occupancy classification within a group as well as a change of occupancy classification from one group to a different group." would need to be met.

    Additionally, "904.1 General (STATE AMENDMENT (i am from Massachusetts)) Fire protection requirements of Section 912 shall apply where a building or portions thereof undergo a change of occupancy classification. In addition to the requirements in section 912 automatic sprinkler systems may be required in buildings undergoing major alterations per section 102.2.1.1"

    Based on 912.2.1, "Where a change in occupancy classification occurs that requires an automatic fire sprinkler system to be provided based on the new occupancy in accordance with Chapter 9 of the International Building Code, such system shall be provided throughout the area where the change of occupancy occurs" - does this mean that I now have to meet the code requirements in Chapter 9 of the IBC?

    Just very confused relating to which codes to use.

    Thanks!
     
  14. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Sounds like you need to set down with the city and go through all this.

    You are going to occupy the entire 2nd floor??

    Not rent out any of it??
     
  15. Hung Nguyen

    Hung Nguyen Member

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    yes this is true. It will not be a rental. I will occupy the whole house
     
  16. Francis Vineyard

    Francis Vineyard Sawhorse

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    Yes only where the change of occupancy occurs. If only the first floor or a portion thereof changes to a business from residential then only that area has to comply with chapter 9 of the IBC.

    The catch is Group B of itself does not require a fire sprinkler system under 55 ft. of building height.
     
  17. Francis Vineyard

    Francis Vineyard Sawhorse

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    Note 901.3.1 is for the partial change of occupancy and is written as a pointer directly to Section 912 even though the other sections state portions of the building undergoing a change of occupancy.
     
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  18. JBI

    JBI Sawhorse

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    Definitely Existing Building Code (if adopted), definitely a partial change of occupancy, the thing is if it was a 2-family and regulated by the Residential Code, this change will actually make the dwelling portion a change of occupancy to an R-2 in a mixed use building and possibly be a 'complete' change of occupancy. Chapters 9 and 10 are part of the 'work area' method in the EBC, with a relatively small building the 'performance' method MAY provide options in lieu of the sprinklers. Either way there will likely be more required than initially intended to comply with the Code.
     
  19. Hung Nguyen

    Hung Nguyen Member

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    Hi JBI, thanks for the input.

    If based on existing building code, then based on 912.2.1 Fire Sprinkler System "Where a change in occupancy classification occurs that requires an automatic fire sprinkler system to be provided based on the new occupancy in accordance with Chapter 9 of the International Building Code, such system shall be provided throughout the area where the change of occupancy occurs.", the fast food restaurant is considered in group B - which doesnt require automatic fire sprinkler.

    Does that sound right?
     
  20. JBI

    JBI Sawhorse

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    Yes but... Since the original 2-family was not classified as an R-2 occupancy previously and will become an R-2 with the proposed changes, it also is undergoing a change in occupancy, and an R-2 DOES require sprinklers.
    In a mixed use building I believe that an NFPA 13 system will be required (unaware of a way to sprinkler part of a building with a lesser standard like a 13R or 13D without sprinklering the entire building).
    It is the mixed use that will likely push the sprinklers, not the take-out restaurant per se.
    You may be able to pass review without sprinklers by using the performance method in Chapter 13 (or 14 depending on year edition) of the EBC.
     

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