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Motel to Apartment Conversion and Fire Codes

When converting two single story and one two story motel (all exterior door exits) built in the early 80's on a piece of property what are the requirements for fire codes? We were told today that we could not have two units side by side and we would have to add an exit at the back (creating a shotgun style/single wide mobile home) type apartment. A single unit efficiency apartment was completely out of the question because of not having two exits (we can live with this).

Additionally we have to add the sprinklers to this. No idea of the cost on that yet, but we know its going to be very expensive.

They basically said you can't have two exits on the same side of the building. Is that true?

Can anyone shed any light?
Do they have sprinklers?....
I see your logic and the IEBC attempts to recognize the difference between the legacy codes and the ICC codes. The OP is in Arkansas and I do not know if the SBCCI had apartments and hotels in the same classification like the UBC does. You bring up an interesting perspective considering the number of older hotels being converted over to studio and 1 bedroom apartments.
The DP should start in the IEBC and choose one of the 3 ways to proceed. Then only go to IBC Or IFC as instructed in the IEBC. That's the way i was instructed it should go.
Thanks for the replies. We are not going to meter the apartments individually, but will monitor it using Cps attached to each meter so we can do an "allowance" The delay in getting sprinklers approved by the state and then installed seems excessive. We don't mind installing sprinklers, but the government delays in this process are absurd. More government=less efficiency and it will translate directly to higher rents charged to customers. In the end the tenant gets to pay for the required changes.