2015 NFPA 101 Code - Current Edition

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The updated NFPA 101®: Life Safety Code® raises occupant safety to a new level.

Protect people where they live, work, and play with NFPA®'s Life Safety Code -- the most widely used source for strategies for occupant safety throughout the life cycle of a building. As the built environment and risks evolve, so do the challenges to protect people from fire and related hazards. The 2015 Life Safety Code provides a flexible approach that adapts to nontraditional use of buildings; innovative designs; and new technologies, materials, and construction practices. It is the only document that addresses life safety in both new and existing structures.

There's no substitute for the latest NFPA 101 in any occupancy -- from assembly to health care, industrial, and residential.

Essential for architects, engineers, building owners and building managers, hospital administrators, and AHJs, NFPA 101 covers it all: Egress, sprinklers, alarms, emergency lighting, smoke barriers, and special hazard protection.

Changes advance safety and improve options for building design:

  • Atrium walls are now permitted to serve as part of the separation for creating separated occupancies, offering greater flexibility in building design.
  • New requirements enhance public safety, such as calculating occupant load for business uses that better represents how the space is used.
  • Requirements permitting the use of alcohol-based hand-rub (ABHR) dispensers are included in more occupancy chapters, reflecting their widespread use.
  • New mandates for carbon monoxide detection and alarm are included for new educational and new day care facilities for greater safety to life where CO might be generated.
  • Expanded provisions concerning the responsibilities, training, and duties of crowd managers help ensure emergency readiness in places such as sports arenas, nightclubs, and concert halls.
  • Revised rules permit door locking in new and existing residential board and care facilities, based on clinical needs to secure residents for their own safety.

Other changes help provide for safer, more homelike health care facilities:

  • Health care occupancy provisions allow nursing home minimum corridor width to be reduced within small smoke compartments.
  • Provisions added to permit doors to be disguised with murals for settings like dementia units.
  • New self-contained ambulatory health care chapters improve code usability with one-stop access.

Make sure your knowledge is up-to-date and your facilities meet code. Base your decisions on the 2015 NFPA 101 and tackle safety challenges effectively. (Softbound, 520 pp., 2015)

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NFPA 101® Life Safety Code, 2015 Edition

Chapter 1 Administration
1.1 Scope
1.2 Purpose
1.3 Application
1.4 Equivalency
1.5 Units and Formulas
1.6 Enforcement
Chapter 2 Referenced Publications
2.1 General
2.2 NFPA Publications
2.3 Other Publications
2.4 References for Extracts in Mandatory Sections
Chapter 3 Definitions
3.1 General
3.2 NFPA Official Definitions
3.3 General Definitions
Chapter 4 General
4.1 Goals
4.2 Objectives
4.3 Assumptions
4.4 Life Safety Compliance Options
4.5 Fundamental Requirements
4.6 General Requirements
4.7 Fire Drills
4.8 Emergency Action Plan
Chapter 5 Performance-Based Option
5.1 General Requirements
5.2 Performance Criteria
5.3 Retained Prescriptive Requirements
5.4 Design Specifications and Other Conditions
5.5 Design Fire Scenarios
5.6 Evaluation of Proposed Designs
5.7 Safety Factors
5.8 Documentation Requirements
Chapter 6 Classification of Occupancy and Hazard of Contents
6.1 Classification of Occupancy
6.2 Hazard of Contents
Chapter 7 Means of Egress
7.1 General
7.2 Means of Egress Components
7.3 Capacity of Means of Egress
7.4 Number of Means of Egress
7.5 Arrangement of Means of Egress
7.6 Measurement of Travel Distance to Exits
7.7 Discharge from Exits
7.8 Illumination of Means of Egress
7.9 Emergency Lighting
7.10 Marking of Means of Egress
7.11 Special Provisions for Occupancies with High Hazard Contents
7.12 Mechanical Equipment Rooms, Boiler Rooms, and Furnace Rooms
7.13 Normally Unoccupied Building Service Equipment Support Areas
7.14 Occupant Evacuation Elevators
Chapter 8 Features of Fire Protection
8.1 General
8.2 Construction and Compartmentation
8.3 Fire Barriers
8.4 Smoke Partitions
8.5 Smoke Barriers
8.6 Vertical Openings
8.7 Special Hazard Protection
8.8 Inspection and Testing of Door Assemblies
Chapter 9 Building Service and Fire Protection Equipment
9.1 Utilities
9.2 Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning
9.3 Smoke Control
9.4 Elevators, Escalators, and Conveyors
9.5 Waste Chutes, Incinerators, and Laundry Chutes
9.6 Fire Detection, Alarm, and Communications Systems
9.7 Automatic Sprinklers
9.8 Other Automatic Extinguishing Equipment
9.9 Portable Fire Extinguishers
9.10 Standpipe Systems
9.11 Fire Protection System Operating Features
9.12 Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detection and Warning Equipment
9.13 Special Inspections and Tests
Chapter 10 Interior Finish, Contents, and Furnishings
10.1 General
10.2 Interior Finish
10.3 Contents and Furnishings
Chapter 11 Special Structures and High-Rise Buildings
11.1 General Requirements
11.2 Open Structures
11.3 Towers
11.4 Water-Surrounded Structures
11.5 Piers
11.6 Vehicles and Vessels
11.7 Underground and Limited Access Structures
11.8 High-Rise Buildings
11.9 Permanent Membrane Structures
11.10 Temporary Membrane Structures
11.11 Tents
Chapter 12 New Assembly Occupancies
12.1 General Requirements
12.2 Means of Egress Requirements
12.3 Protection
12.4 Special Provisions
12.5 Building Services
12.6 Reserved
12.7 Operating Features
Chapter 13 Existing Assembly Occupancies
13.1 General Requirements
13.2 Means of Egress Requirements
13.3 Protection
13.4 Special Provisions
13.5 Building Services
13.6 Reserved
13.7 Operating Features
Chapter 14 New Educational Occupancies
14.1 General Requirements
14.2 Means of Egress Requirements
14.3 Protection
14.4 Special Provisions
14.5 Building Services
14.6 Reserved
14.7 Operating Features
Chapter 15 Existing Educational Occupancies
15.1 General Requirements
15.2 Means of Egress Requirements
15.3 Protection
15.4 Special Provisions
15.5 Building Services
15.6 Reserved
15.7 Operating Features
Chapter 16 New Day-Care Occupancies
16.1 General Requirements
16.2 Means of Egress Requirements
16.3 Protection
16.4 Special Provisions
16.5 Building Services
16.6 Day-Care Homes
16.7 Operating Features
Chapter 17 Existing Day-Care Occupancies
17.1 General Requirements
17.2 Means of Egress Requirements
17.3 Protection
17.4 Special Provisions
17.5 Building Services
17.6 Day-Care Homes
17.7 Operating Features
Chapter 18 New Health Care Occupancies
18.1 General Requirements
18.2 Means of Egress Requirements
18.3 Protection
18.4 Special Provisions
18.5 Building Services
18.6 Reserved
18.7 Operating Features
Chapter 19 Existing Health Care Occupancies
19.1 General Requirements
19.2 Means of Egress Requirements
19.3 Protection
19.4 Special Provisions
19.5 Building Services
19.6 Reserved
19.7 Operating Features
Chapter 20 New Ambulatory Health Care Occupancies
20.1 General Requirements
20.2 Means of Egress Requirements
20.3 Protection
20.4 Special Provisions
20.5 Building Services
20.6 Reserved
20.7 Operating Features
Chapter 21 Existing Ambulatory Health Care Occupancies
21.1 General Requirements
21.2 Means of Egress Requirements
21.3 Protection
21.4 Special Provisions
21.5 Building Services
21.6 Reserved
21.7 Operating Features
Chapter 22 New Detention and Correctional Occupancies
22.1 General Requirements
22.2 Means of Egress Requirements
22.3 Protection
22.4 Special Provisions
22.5 Building Services
22.6 Reserved
22.7 Operating Features
Chapter 23 Existing Detention and Correctional Occupancies
23.1 General Requirements
23.2 Means of Egress Requirements
23.3 Protection
23.4 Special Provisions
23.5 Building Services
23.6 Reserved
23.7 Operating Features
Chapter 24 One- and Two-Family Dwellings
24.1 General Requirements
24.2 Means of Escape Requirements
24.3 Protection
24.4 Reserved
24.5 Building Services
Chapter 25 Reserved
Chapter 26 Lodging or Rooming Houses
26.1 General Requirements
26.2 Means of Escape Requirements
26.3 Protection
26.4 Reserved
26.5 Building Services
26.6 Reserved
26.7 Operating Features
Chapter 27 Reserved
Chapter 28 New Hotels and Dormitories
28.1 General Requirements
28.2 Means of Egress Requirements
28.3 Protection
28.4 Special Provisions
28.5 Building Services
28.6 Reserved
28.7 Operating Features
Chapter 29 Existing Hotels and Dormitories
29.1 General Requirements
29.2 Means of Egress Requirements
29.3 Protection
29.4 Special Provisions
29.5 Building Services
29.6 Reserved
29.7 Operating Features
Chapter 30 New Apartment Buildings
30.1 General Requirements
30.2 Means of Egress Requirements
30.3 Protection
30.4 Special Provisions
30.5 Building Services
30.6 Reserved
30.7 Operating Features
Chapter 31 Existing Apartment Buildings
31.1 General Requirements
31.2 Means of Egress Requirements
31.3 Protection
31.4 Special Provisions
31.5 Building Services
31.6 Reserved
31.7 Operating Features
Chapter 32 New Residential Board and Care Occupancies
32.1 General Requirements
32.2 Small Facilities
32.3 Large Facilities
32.4 Suitability of an Apartment Building to House a Board and Care Occupancy
32.5 Reserved
32.6 Reserved
32.7 Operating Features
Chapter 33 Existing Residential Board and Care Occupancies
33.1 General Requirements
33.2 Small Facilities
33.3 Large Facilities
33.4 Suitability of an Apartment Building to House a Board and Care Occupancy
33.5 Reserved
33.6 Reserved
33.7 Operating Features
Chapter 34 Reserved
Chapter 35 Reserved
Chapter 36 New Mercantile Occupancies
36.1 General Requirements
36.2 Means of Egress Requirements
36.3 Protection
36.4 Special Provisions
36.5 Building Services
36.6 Reserved
36.7 Operating Features
Chapter 37 Existing Mercantile Occupancies
37.1 General Requirements
37.2 Means of Egress Requirements
37.3 Protection
37.4 Special Provisions
37.5 Building Services
37.6 Reserved
37.7 Operating Features
Chapter 38 New Business Occupancies
38.1 General Requirements
38.2 Means of Egress Requirements
38.3 Protection
38.4 Special Provisions
38.5 Building Services
38.6 Reserved
38.7 Operating Features
Chapter 39 Existing Business Occupancies
39.1 General Requirements
39.2 Means of Egress Requirements
39.3 Protection
39.4 Special Provisions
39.5 Building Services
39.6 Reserved
39.7 Operating Features
Chapter 40 Industrial Occupancies
40.1 General Requirements
40.2 Means of Egress Requirements
40.3 Protection
40.4 Special Provisions
40.5 Building Services
40.6 Special Provisions for Aircraft Servicing Hangars
40.7 Operating Features
Chapter 41 Reserved
Chapter 42 Storage Occupancies
42.1 General Requirements
42.2 Means of Egress Requirements
42.3 Protection
42.4 Special Provisions
42.5 Building Services
42.6 Special Provisions for Aircraft Storage Hangars
42.7 Special Provisions for Grain Handling, Processing, Milling, or Other Bulk Storage Facilities
42.8 Special Provisions for Parking Structures
42.9 Operating Features
Chapter 43 Building Rehabilitation
43.1 General
43.2 Special Definitions
43.3 Repairs
43.4 Renovations
43.5 Modifications
43.6 Reconstruction
43.7 Change of Use or Occupancy Classification
43.8 Additions
43.9 Reserved
43.10 Historic Buildings
Annex A Explanatory Material
Annex B Supplemental Evacuation Equipment
Annex C Informational References

NFPA 101®: Life Safety Code® is the most widely used source for strategies for occupant safety throughout the life cycle of a building.

Make decisions that impact lives with strategies for occupant safety in NFPA 101: Life Safety Code. Unique in the field, it is the only Code that covers life safety in both new and existing structures. Requirements address building construction, protection, and occupancy features that minimize the effects of fire and related hazards. Each edition builds on important new information about life safety in the built environment, with consensus-based changes that reflect innovative designs, technologies, materials, and construction practices. When tragedies do occur, investigations invariably reveal serious Life Safety Code violations.

The 2012 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code evolves to address new building safety challenges and important lessons learned about occupant safety. For this edition of the Code, all new high-rise buildings must meet the requirements of Chapter 11's high-rise building package. Other major changes involve rules for CO alarms and detection systems in certain residential living units, exit stair enclosure path markings, and egress provisions for safe use of elevators for occupant evacuation. Provisions for health care occupancies include compliance options that give patients and residents a more comfortable, home-like environment.

The 2009 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code builds on the groundbreaking sprinkler mandates in the previous edition, with added requirements for automatic sprinklers in all existing high-rise health care occupancies and all new apartment buildings without exception. New evacuation strategies and technologies facilitate faster movement of more people in an emergency, including new egress capacity criteria for stairs that are more than 44 inches in width. The 2009 edition of NFPA 101 enhances safety with health care occupancy door locking for patient protective needs, and 2-way communication systems in areas of refuge -- even where the building is sprinklered -- to let people notify responders of their location.

The 2006 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code expands requirements for automatic fire sprinkler protection with added sprinkler mandates for all new one- and two-family dwellings, new and existing nursing homes, existing nightclub assembly occupancies where occupant load exceeds 100 people, and new nightclub assembly occupancies regardless of occupant load. This important Code edition also presents a chapter on existing building rehabilitation that provides greater flexibility to encourage adaptive reuse without sacrificing life safety. Previously, modifications to existing buildings had to comply with provisions for new construction. Now, Chapter 43 introduces specific requirements for repairs, renovations, reconstruction, additions, change of use or occupancy classification, and work on historic buildings.

The 2003 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code is a complete safety system that includes rules for the full range of occupancies; egress requirements, stair markings, and emergency lighting; provisions concerning features of fire protection; and a sophisticated performance-based option for code compliance. Code users will find revised illumination levels for new stairs, a section addressing written emergency plans, revised requirements for testing of mattresses and upholstered furniture, and a section with "analytical methods" for determining the fire resistance of building assemblies. Other changes address subdivision of building space in apartment buildings, new hotels, and dormitories; and safe egress requirements in industrial occupancies.

The 2000 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code references nearly 50 other important codes and standards -- including the NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC), NFPA 13, and NFPA 72. Only NFPA 101 links all these critical codes and standards together to cover all the bases for life safety in any occupancy. Renumbered chapters facilitate referencing. Expanded definitions and an informative primer for new users help you guide workers and educate clients. This edition introduces first-time Chapter 5: Performance-Based Option, with critical guidance for engineers and AHJs working with performance-based design.


Interested in other editions of NFPA 101? Use the drop down menu above to select the edition year you need.

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