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Special Amusement Building Questions

Discussion in 'Commercial Fire Codes' started by KPG_TPR, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. KPG_TPR

    KPG_TPR Registered User

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    Hello everyone. I'm planning a small haunted house to debut at fairs in New Jersey. It will consist of two 30x10 tents with a pallet structure in-between. The pallet would be covered with a tarp. The total square footage would be about 30x30.

    Under International Building Code 2015, we would be classified as a “Special Amusement Building,” and would therefore have to install an automatic smoke detection system. According to the code, if a single smoke detector were to go off, it would have to be audible in a constantly attended location where someone would be able to intervene, activate the emergency lighting, turn off any confusing sounds/lights, etc. This seems reasonable to accomplish.

    Our issue is that the code also specifies that if two or more smoke detectors were to go off, all of those things would have to happen automatically.

    After some research, I can’t seem to find any type of device that actually can do that (the closest thing I could find was a smoke detector stove shut-off). I assume that mean we would have to hire a company to install such a system for our project. Given our budget, I'm not sure this would be possible. Also, I’m not even sure it is even feasible if these temporary tents have the infrastructure for such a system?

    Regarding sprinklers, I do believe we would meet the exemption requirements (see page 39).
    The only qualification which we might have trouble with is the 20 ft. perimeter, but I’ve also seen some documents which only include the square footage and exit travel distance, not the other qualifications. Does anyone know more about that?

    Is it possible for us to operate with a person at a constantly attended location, and bypass the need for the system’s automatic functions?
    If not, are there any temporary or low budget fire detection systems and/or sprinkler systems that could work for our project?
    Also given that we’re constructing this primarily out of tents, not a building structure, could we be classified as an A-3, tent/membrane structure instead of a Special Amusement Building?

    Let me make it clear that safety is our first priority. We’re not interested in putting anyone in danger or to hide from any laws. But it is hard for me to imagine a 30x30 ft. tent structure really needs such an intense fire system.


    I’ve already reached out to some of the local municipalities, but the way things are right now could it mean it takes a while before I hear anything back.

    Thanks for any and all help in advance.
     
  2. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    """"After some research, I can’t seem to find any type of device that actually can do that"""""


    A fire alarm system will do it.


    """Does anyone know more about that?""""


    You have to ask the local city building official and fire marshal,,, and I highly suggest you ask to meet with them soon, so you can get your questions answered. If you get an answer here, may not fly there.


    If you set up a typical haunted house, as in maze, undefined exiting, etc, you are a """"Special Amusement Building"""""""


    """are there any temporary or low budget fire detection systems """YES""" and/or sprinkler systems """""""""NO NO NO """that could work for our project





    """"Given our budget""""

    Sounds like you have bigger problems
     
  3. Enri Code

    Enri Code Sawhorse

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    The way I understand it, since you will only be at 900 square feet then you do not need a sprinkler system.

    If you do end up with 2 or more smoke detectors, a good licensed electrician would be your best bet. I'm not certain that a stove shut-off will be safe or appropriate for whatever electrical load needs to be handled. The licensed electrician can answer that. Worth the money.

    If you have battery powered emergency lights and exit signs that activate in the event of power loss, the automation that you need is really just the smoke detectors triggering a power disconnect. The power cutting off will of course take care of stopping the confusing sounds/lights associated with the amusement.

    Good luck.
     
  4. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    #4 ICE, Apr 29, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
  5. Enri Code

    Enri Code Sawhorse

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    If you need a constantly attended location, that should be very much achievable by having it be the operator/ ticketing person at the entrance and having an alarm panel and the main disconnect switch there. That person will also be in the best position to close the entrance in an emergency event. Talk to your client and make it clear what their responsibilities are if you go this route.
     
  6. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    How long will this be in place? Any changes in level within the space and if so will they have ramps?
     
  7. KPG_TPR

    KPG_TPR Registered User

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    Thanks for the help everyone, much appreciated!

    Right, that is consistent with the research I've done. I guess I was wondering if there was a slim chance that we could qualify as a tent/membrane structure like @ICE has suggested. Given how small the layout is, the farthest anyone would ever be from an exit is 15 feet. We intend to keep all exits clearly visible even during show conditions, so I wonder if there is an argument that the path of egress is readily apparent.

    So far, it looks like our venue will operate to the general public for a maximum of eight days, with three days before and after for setting up and taking it down. The entire structure would be on ground level, a total square footage of about 30x30.
     
  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    You need to set down with the local Building Official and Fire Marshal

    Show them on paper your floor plan, and material to be used for your concept

    They are the ones to say yes or no.


    Eight days is not a long run, for time and money you will put into this.
     
  9. KPG_TPR

    KPG_TPR Registered User

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    @cda Yes, I forgot to mention in my last post that I am now in contact with the Fire Marshal.
    Eight days will be the run for one fair, but the plan is for this structure to have a run at multiple fairs and events in the future. That's why we're constructing it out of tents and portable materials.
     
  10. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Well you are just adding to your problems.

    You will have to get the set up approved in every city you go to.

    And unfortunately sometimes each city plays by different rules.

    While on the subject,,,, Where are you going to get the tents??
     
  11. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    I have inspected carnivals and they usually have a fun/haunted house that is a large trailer. All of the mechanical rides are required to be listed on a permit. In other words, the mechanical rides are required to have a permit. The fun house and games and food booths never have a permit. That's not to say that I don't inspect them because I do....mostly for electrical but I look them over for hazards....I find hazards.

    A private university uses large tents for special events and they get a permit as a tent structure....not according to the use. I make sure that the thing isn't going to blow away in the wind....has a State of Cal. Fire Marshall tag....stakes are protected etc.

    Your tent would be just another tent in my area. All of the fire alarms and automatic shutoff and emergency lighting would never come into play. A search light and fire extinguisher is all that you need. It's a carnival. In most places an inspector walks around acting important and goes away. He wouldn't know how to inspect if he wanted to. In my experience, carnivals have such lax oversight that your tent could be on fire and people would assume that it's part of the attraction. I am pretty sure the only real difference is that in New Jersey you call them fairs.
     
    #11 ICE, Apr 30, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
    KPG_TPR, ADAguy and JCraver like this.
  12. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    If it looks like a haunted house, it is, and must meet requirements

    Which we have specific requirements for,,,, where ever it is setting
     
  13. Paul Sweet

    Paul Sweet Sawhorse

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    Would it fall under IBC 3103 & IFC 3103 Temporary Structures?
     
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  14. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Could, but there is still the ghost component
     
  15. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    Yes, and 3104

    12' clearance ("fire break") on all sides, 2 exits, a fire extinguisher or two, a stamp from the fire marshal or a tag and an engineering letter from the manufacturer on flame spread, and set the generator 20' away. No hay or straw inside the tent unless you keep it wet. Done.

    Temporary permits are $20. I do 2 of these every year, one for a petting zoo and one for a circus. Probably won't do either this year, since the world's gone mad...
     
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  16. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    What is the ceiling height, center pole or clear span supports?
     
  17. KPG_TPR

    KPG_TPR Registered User

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    We're still in the early planning phase, this won't be happening for over a year, but we're looking into tents online that will meet the Class A requirements. @ADAguy I believe the center height for the tents was about 8 feet.

    I appreciate your honesty. Of course it will depend highly on my local jurisdiction. If we end up needing the power shutoff and all of that, we'll gladly do it.
     
  18. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    Let the AHJ be the one to mention Special Amusement Building.
     

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