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Converted 2-Family to 3-Family - New Jersey

Discussion in 'Residential Fire Codes' started by BrendanLead, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. BrendanLead

    BrendanLead Registered User

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    Just discovered this forum exists by way of Archinect. This looks to be an incredible resource!

    What led me to post on here is I have someone interested in converting an existing 2-family, 3 story residential building into a 3-family in New Jersey. Based on my research via the Rehabilitation Code and Uniform Construction Code, this would require a change from an R-5 TO R-2 occupancy which would likely require the entire building to be entirely sprinkled.

    This would likely be cost prohibitive and not something the homeowner would pursue if sprinkling the entire building is required.

    Am I interpreting the code incorrectly or overlooking something that may allow us to to convert to a 3-family without requiring sprinklers?

    Thank you!
     
  2. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    Welcome, we are glad to have you here with us. If you do find the site to be a valuable resource, please contribute by becoming a Sawhorse (link in my signature below). Joining helps support the website and allows you to post photos directly (link otherwise).

    And apologies, not familiar with NJ code, but give it a couple days and you'll get some feedback.
     
  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Welcome
    The best little building forum !!
     
  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Does NJ have the existing building code adopted?

    Any conversation with the local BO?
     
  5. BrendanLead

    BrendanLead Registered User

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    I spoke with the local Fire Subcode Official and he believes it would require the entire building to have sprinklers installed, but I was seeking the opinions of other's on here in the event we may be overlooking something.

    I am still awaiting my NY/NJ License so I'm not in a HUGE rush, but I would like to come to a definitive conclusin regarding this matter. Based on my research it appears because it would require a change of occupancy, from R-5 (2 -family) to R-2 (3-family), the change of occupancy would automatically require sprinklers.
     
  6. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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  7. BrendanLead

    BrendanLead Registered User

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    So it appears when converting from a 2-family to a 3-family, a change of use and occupancy is required, from R-3 to R-2. Because of this, there is an increase in hazard.

    When converting from a 2-family, to a 3-family residential building, I would either have to sprinkler the entire building or switch from TYPE V-B Construction to TYPE V-A Construction, which would require a 1-hr fire rating for all exterior & interior bearing walls and floor and roof construction

    https://nfsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Fire-Sprinkler-Guide-IBC-2015.pdf

    Does this seem to be accurate?

    Thank you!
     
  8. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    Welcome to the crew.
    Age of building.
    And what of exiting from each unit? each floor served by two stairs?
    Is at least one unit to be accessible?
    Licensed as what? Do they not require code knowledge for licensee's?
    Worse case and bad suggestion, if they need the income they could go Air BnB!
     
  9. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    New Jersey Building Code requires all R occupancy's to have sprinklers in the whole building, period. The fire sprinkler guide you noted is based on the IBC, not the NJBC.
     
  10. BrendanLead

    BrendanLead Registered User

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    Rick, so in NJ anytime a new 1 or 2-family house is built, sprinklers are required? I need to study the code book! Unfortunately, most of my experience has been working in NYC on renovations and mixed-use projects, so existing residential is something I'm not well versed in.
     
  11. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    You asked about a three family house which is covered by The New Jersey Building Code. A 1 or 2 family house is covered under New Jersey Residential Code.
     
  12. BrendanLead

    BrendanLead Registered User

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    Thank you for your patience and the provided information. I was getting myself turned around jumping from Rehab Code to Residential, to Existing Building Code and NJBC!!

    Do you have any experience converting 2-family to 3+ dwelling units?
     
  13. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    I'm only an inspector. Never inspected someone converting 2-family to 3+ dwelling units. Always seemed cost prohibitive.
     
  14. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    Consider additional parking required?
    What does zoning allow?
    Have you checked in with the local AHJ?
     
  15. BrendanLead

    BrendanLead Registered User

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    Although Zoning allows for a 3-family dwelling unit in this particular area, we would be required to file for a variance given the lot size / existing built sq. ft.

    I have checked with the local fire subcode official regarding the sprinkler requirements and he seems to think the building would require sprinklers, but he seemed a bit unsure.

    each floor served by two stairs?
    Floors 1 & 2 both have 2 means of egress, while the third floor will require the installation of a fire escape/ladder.

    Is at least one unit to be accessible?
    Not at this time. although given the extent of this renovation, it will likely be required.

    Licensed as what? Do they not require code knowledge for licensee's?
    I will be licensed as an Architect. While the exams do require SOME code and zoning knowledge, this mostly pertains to ada clearances, fire egress, and building heights/far, etc. The exam is pretty light on sprinklers and the intricacies that arise when changing use.
     
  16. BrendanLead

    BrendanLead Registered User

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    Doesn't this essentially state that sprinklers are not a requirement unless exceeding 3 stories?

    ยง 5:23-6.26A Supplemental requirements--Groups R-2 and R-4

    (a)Automatic Sprinkler System: Automatic fire sprinkler systems shall be installed in Group R-2 and R-4 as follows:
    1.In Group R-2 buildings four or more stories in height (excluding basements), when the work area is an entire floor, an automatic fire sprinkler system shall be installed throughout the work area.
     
  17. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    This would be a change of use for the whole building, from residential to R-2

    vi.Automatic Sprinkler System: Changes of use as specified in N.J.A.C. 5:23-6.31(g) must have an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 5:23-6.31(g) before the building can be occupied for the new use.

    (g)Automatic Sprinkler Systems: The following automatic sprinkler system requirements apply in changes of use. TABLE G Hazard Categories and Classifications Automatic Sprinkler Systems Relative Hazard Use Classification 1 (highest) A-2 nightclubs, H, I 2 A-2 (other than nightclubs), R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4 3 A-1, A-3, A-4 4 F-1, M, S-1 5 A-3 Churches, E 6 (lowest) A-5, B, F-2, R-5, S-2, U 1.When a change of use is made to a higher hazard category as shown in Table G, the building shall be provided with an automatic sprinkler system as required by the following sections of the building subcode: 903.2.1 for Group A occupancies, 903.2.3 for Group E occupancies, 903.2.4 for Group F-1 occupancies, 903.2.5 for Group H occupancies, 903.2.6 for Group I occupancies, 903.2.7 for Group M occupancies, 903.2.8 for Group R occupancies, 903.2.9 for Group S-1, 903.2.10 for Group S-2, and 903.2.11.1 for windowless stories (stories without openings.) When this section requires an automatic sprinkler system, compliance with 903.3 of the building subcode is also required.

    903.2.8 Group R. An automatic sprinkler system
    installed in accordance with Section 903.3 shall be provided
    throughout all buildings with a Group R fire area.
     
  18. BrendanLead

    BrendanLead Registered User

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    Thanks so much for the incredibly helpful reply! I owe you a beer! I believe my misunderstanding occurred the moment I encountered Section 903.2.8. Because the subsection doesn't make reference to R-2 specifically, I assumed sprinklers were not a requirement.

    This forum is an invaluable resource and an amazing way to learn and digest building code. I really appreciate your time and patience.
     
  19. Ty J.

    Ty J. Sawhorse

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    If you find the value, consider supporting the forum by becoming a Sawhorse. Helps keep the page up and running and will allow you to directly post images.
     

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