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"Assisted Living Facility" Occupancy Group

RJJ

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Oct 17, 2009
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about 1' east of the white water
Yankee: Could not agree more. That is why this is a difficult section to apply. I have this very situation to inspect end of next week. The State wants a reclassification of the buildings, use and if they comply with code. They also want a new CO. In PA we have to deal with Certified and un Certified buildings which muddies the water.
 

smeismer

Bronze Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
44
You also must examine the issue of the residents aging in place. Unless there is a clear policy to expel those who need the most assistance, then in a few years there may well be people incapable of recognizing an emergency, and it sets up a situation where some government official may be in the position to have to take very unpopular action. Better, if at all possible to build the building to the higher safety standard.
 

Yankee

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And how does one justify this with single family dwellings that house people who are bedridden, or not capable of recognizing an emergency? Do the courts pull people out of their homes (assuming they are being cared for) and place them in institutions? No, they don't.

I believe that is why a minimum number is set under the code, these enterprises are not subjecting their clients to any greater risk than one would most likely see in the general population. These units should be reviewed as single family dwellings units.
 

FyrBldgGuy

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Oct 19, 2009
Messages
358
Trying to classify an assisted living facility is like trying to hold water in your hands. Hold tight and watch the water slip through your fingers.

So you have 5 people in a facility. Based on license conditions all occupants participate in fire drills and can make it out in the required time. Then after aging in place one occupant can no longer meet the ability to self evacuate. Now does someone tell that occupant to leave?

I have worked this type of issue in a number of states and found the state license people unwilling to make the call, they said it was up to the fire department. I made the call that if assisted living residents in a commercial building were not able to self evacuate within the time frame required, then it wasn't assisted living. It is a performance requirement. Then the owner of the building called the states equal housing investigator to complain that I was preventing someone from being able to use assisted living. So I had to educate the equal housing investigator about the requirements.

In some cases there would be a couple (husband and wife). One was able to meet the requirements but the other had to go into a wheel chair. The building was not capable of having an area of refuge, so then what?

Just one more thing the building was under the direction of a local church board. The board members included the wife of the Deputy Chief of the Fire Department. Needless to say he didn't want to put any pressure on the fire department plan reviewers and inspectors, and he told them that in many ways, repeatedly. NO PRESSURE.
 

Frank

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Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
1,189
Location
Montpelier, VA
What state are you in?

Makes a big difference.

For example Virginia ammends this to include up to 5 that are incapable of self preservation and up to 8 can be just a house (R-5)

and to complicate matters the other state agencies have quit using the term "Group homes" and instead use a variety of descripters like CRF-- Childrens Residential Facility.

Snipped from VA Ammendments 2006

R-4 Residential occupancies shall include buildings arranged for occupancy as residential care/assisted living facilities including more than five but not more than 16 occupants, excluding staff.

Group R-4 occupancies shall meet the requirements for construction as defined for Group R-3, except as otherwise provided for in this code, or shall comply with the International Residential Code with the additional requirement to provide an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section 903.2.7.

Exception: Group homes licensed by the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services or the Virginia Department of Social Services that house no more than eight persons with one or more resident counselors shall be classified as Group R-2, R-3, R-4 or R-5. Not more than five of the persons may require physical assistance from staff to respond to an emergency situation.

R-5 Residential occupancies in detached one- and two-family dwellings, townhouses and accessory structures within the scope of the International Residential Code, also referred to as the “IRC.”

Add Section 310.3 to the IBC to read:

310.3 Group R-5. The construction of Group R-5 structures shall comply with the IRC. The amendments to the IRC set out in Section 310.6 shall be made to the IRC for its use as part of this code. In addition, all references to Section 101.2 in the IBC relating to the construction of such structures subject to the IRC shall be considered to be references to this section.
 

peach

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metro DC
Proper classification of any assisted living facility (I, R... aeiou).. is the toughest part of this job. So many variables (even in the I codes).. throw in state or local requirements, it's as clear as mud. It's tough because it depends on the rose colored glasses of the plan reviewer and the information provided by the applicant. I is always safer, because it allows for change, and generally provides more stringent standards upfront.
 

Yankee

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Mar 31, 2010
Messages
1,344
Location
New England
peach said:
Proper classification of any assisted living facility (I, R... aeiou).. is the toughest part of this job. So many variables (even in the I codes).. throw in state or local requirements, it's as clear as mud. It's tough because it depends on the rose colored glasses of the plan reviewer and the information provided by the applicant. I is always safer, because it allows for change, and generally provides more stringent standards upfront.
"I" has the possibility of indicating that personal freedoms of the occupants can be removed judged by a BO's interpretation of "inability".

Be careful.
 

peach

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metro DC
It's really up to the plan reviewer to fight the fight... not the inspector. If you start as an R occupancy, it may be tough to change to I as the resident's condition change. The only option may be to make them move. There's more flexibility building to I in the first place.
 

Yankee

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Mar 31, 2010
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New England
peach said:
There's more flexibility building to I in the first place.
Probably true, but that is an interpretation based on what might happen in the future. If the applicant wants residential, I don't believe that interpretation is defensible.
 
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