2015 NFPA 101 Handbook - Current Edition

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Authors: Ron Coté, P.E. and Gregory E. Harrington, P.E.

Based on the 2015 NFPA 101®, NFPA®'s acclaimed Life Safety Code® Handbook incorporates full Code text, commentary, and visuals in a must-have resource.

Any decisions you make in the built environment have the potential to affect lives. That's why you need the best source of applications advice: the 2015 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code Handbook. This resource combines Code text and expert commentary to help you comply correctly the first time and avoid costly mistakes, violations, and job delays.

In full-color, the 2015 Life Safety Code Handbook is the only reference in the industry that provides:

  • Side-by-side presentation of occupancy requirements for new and existing buildings for easy comparison -- this feature alone makes the Handbook a must!
  • The full 2015 Life Safety Code text including changes, such as an occupant load factor for concentrated business use areas, and utilizing an atrium as part of an occupancy separation
  • Expert commentary explaining the reasoning and intent behind the rules, with hands-on examples of how to apply the added mandates for CO detection and alarm in new educational and day care facilities, training requirements for crowd managers in assembly occupancies, and other changes
  • Added guidance for hospital administrators and contractors on how to apply the latest health care occupancy provisions
  • More than 750 images including photos and charts, tables, illustrations, and diagrams not found in the Code -- all in full color for better visual clarification of NFPA 101 provisions
  • Matrix comparing the 2012 and 2015 NFPA 101 that gives you an overview of technical/substantive changes at a glance

If public safety depends on you, look to the 2015 NFPA 101 Handbook for essential support.

Whether you're a building owner, architect, designer, contractor, engineer, AHJ, or inspector, NFPA's unique 2015 Life Safety Code Handbook helps you apply requirements properly to protect building occupants throughout the life cycle of the building. (Hardbound, 1,327 pp., 2015)

NFPA 101®: Life Safety Code® Handbook, 2015 Edition



About the Editors


Life Safety Code® and Commentary


1 Administration

1.1 Scope

1.2 Purpose

1.3 Application

1.4 Equivalency

1.5 Units and Formulas

1.6 Enforcement


2 Referenced Publications

2.1 General

2.2 NFPA Publications

2.3 Other Publications

2.4 References for Extracts in Mandatory Sections


3 Definitions

3.1 General

3.2 NFPA Official Definitions

3.3 General Definitions


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


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


6 Classification of Occupancy and Hazard of Contents

6.1 Classification of Occupancy

6.2 Hazard of Contents


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


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


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


10 Interior Finish, Contents, and Furnishings

10.1 General

10.2 Interior Finish

10.3 Contents and Furnishings


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


12/13 New and Existing Assembly Occupancies

12.1/13.1 General Requirements

12.2/13.2 Means of Egress Requirements

12.3/13.3 Protection

12.4/13.4 Special Provisions

12.5/13.5 Building Services

12.6/13.6 Reserved

12.7/13.7 Operating Features


14/15 New and Existing Educational Occupancies

14.1/15.1 General Requirements

14.2/15.2 Means of Egress Requirements

14.3/15.3 Protection

14.4/15.4 Special Provisions

14.5/15.5 Building Services

14.6/15.6 Reserved

14.7/15.7 Operating Features


16/17 New and Existing Day-Care Occupancies

16.1/17.1 General Requirements

16.2/17.2 Means of Egress Requirements

16.3/17.3 Protection

16.4/17.4 Special Provisions

16.5/17.5 Building Services

16.6/17.6 Day-Care Homes

16.7/17.7 Operating Features


18/19 New and Existing Health Care Occupancies

18.1/19.1 General Requirements

18.2/19.2 Means of Egress Requirements

18.3/19.3 Protection

18.4/19.4 Special Provisions

18.5/19.5 Building Services

18.6/19.6 Reserved

18.7/19.7 Operating Features


20/21 New and Existing Ambulatory Health Care Occupancies

20.1/21.1 General Requirements

20.2/21.2 Means of Egress Requirements

20.3/21.3 Protection

20.4/21.4 Special Provisions

20.5/21.5 Building Services

20.6/21.6 Reserved

20.7/21.7 Operating Features


22/23 New and Existing Detention and Correctional Occupancies

22.1/23.1 General Requirements

22.2/23.2 Means of Egress Requirements

22.3/23.3 Protection

22.4/23.4 Special Provisions

22.5/23.5 Building Services

22.6/23.6 Reserved

22.7/23.7 Operating Features


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


25 Reserved


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


27 Reserved


28/29 New and Existing Hotels and Dormitories


28.1/29.1 General Requirements

28.2/29.2 Means of Egress Requirements

28.3/29.3 Protection

28.4/29.4 Special Provisions

28.5/29.5 Building Services

28.6/29.6 Reserved

28.7/29.7 Operating Features


30/31 New and Existing Apartment Buildings


30.1/31.1 General Requirements

30.2/31.2 Means of Egress Requirements

30.3/31.3 Protection

30.4/31.4 Special Provisions

30.5/31.5 Building Services

30.6/31.6 Reserved

30.7/31.7 Operating Features


32/33 New and Existing Residential Board and Care Occupancies


32.1/33.1 General Requirements

32.2/33.2 Small Facilities

32.3/33.3 Large Facilities

32.4/33.4 Suitability of an Apartment Building to House a Board and Care Occupancy

32.5/33.5 Reserved

32.6/33.6 Reserved

32.7/33.7 Operating Features


34 Reserved


35 Reserved


36/37 New and Existing Mercantile Occupancies

36.1/37.1 General Requirements

36.2/37.2 Means of Egress Requirements

36.3/37.3 Protection

36.4/37.4 Special Provisions

36.5/37.5 Building Services

36.6/37.6 Reserved

36.7/37.7 Operating Features


38/39 New and Existing Business Occupancies

38.1/39.1 General Requirements

38.2/39.2 Means of Egress Requirements

38.3/39.3 Protection

38.4/39.4 Special Provisions

38.5/39.5 Building Services

38.6/39.6 Reserved

38.7/39.7 Operating Features


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


41 Reserved


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


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



A Explanatory Material

B Supplemental Evacuation Equipment

C Informational References



Technical/Substantive Changes 2012 -- 2015 Editions


Important Notices and Legal Disclaimers

Important information about NFPA codes and standards available

NFPA® Handbooks are your 'Roadmap to the Codes' with insights and graphics that answer code questions. View these sample pages for a preview of the valuable information you'll access including complete code or standard text; explanatory commentary highlighted in a second color; hundreds of full-color photos, charts, tables and illustrations to clarify concepts; and much more.

Preview the 2015 NFPA 101®: Life Safety Code® Handbook

Authors: Ron Coté, P.E. and Gregory E. Harrington, P.E.

Take the fast track to compliance! The 2012 NFPA 101® Handbook puts practical answers to Code questions at your fingertips so you're ready to apply requirements correctly.

The decisions you make on the job affect lives. That's why when a new Life Safety Code® edition comes out, there's no room for error and no time to lose. You need to get up-to-speed fast so you can hit the ground running, comply right the first time, and avoid costly mistakes, violations, and job delays. Your best source for the knowledge you need to master new requirements is the 2012 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code Handbook.

Written by leading life safety authorities, this essential full-color NFPA 101 companion provides total compliance support with:

  • Code text for new and existing buildings presented side-by-side for easy comparison -- this feature alone makes the Handbook a must!
  • The full 2012 Life Safety Code text for easy access
  • Expert commentary explains the reasoning and intent behind provisions and provide hands-on examples of how to apply rules, including new and revised provisions affecting health care occupancies, high-rise buildings, CO detection and alarms, and elevator use for occupant evacuation.
  • More visuals than ever before! 300 photos and 400 charts, tables, illustrations, and diagrams -- not found in the Code -- all in full color for better visual clarification of NFPA 101 provisions
  • Vertical rules alert you to Code additions and bullets signal deletions, so it's easy to see what's different in this edition.
  • Matrix comparing the 2009 and 2012 NFPA 101 provides an overview of technical/substantive changes at-a-glance.

Life safety depends on you. Shorten the learning curve on the new Code and save lives.

Whether you're an architect, designer, contractor, engineer, AHJ, or inspector, you can depend on the 2012 Life Safety Code Handbook to make sure requirements are applied properly to protect building occupants. (Hardbound, 1, 369 pp., 2012) 


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

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NFPA® makes it easy to quickly find Life Safety Code information with convenient, self-adhesive tabs. Just affix tabs directly to the pages of your NFPA 101 Code or the full-color LSC Handbook for quick access to the requirements and information you need to ensure safety in new and existing buildings. Order time-saving tabs now and step up productivity and efficiency every day. (Set of 48)