2021 NFPA 101 Handbook - Current Edition
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  • Description

    Fast-track the process of getting current with the new NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, and improve your ability to understand and implement it with the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code Handbook.

    NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, delivers fundamental criteria for offering appropriate levels of protection in new and existing occupancies. The NFPA 101, Life Safety Code Handbook features complete Code text along with expert commentary that provides a narrative interpretation designed to make it easier to comprehend and apply provisions and explain technical language to nontechnical people.

    Make the right safety decisions in the built environment to help save lives and avoid costly violations, errors, and work interruptions.

    The NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Handbook is an unmatched resource for application advice. Updated with the 2021 edition of the Life Safety Code, it lays out requirements for new and existing occupancies side by side for easier reference and comparison. Additional valuable features include:

    • Hundreds of full-color illustrations, photos, and tables that assist in explaining Code requirements
    • Shading to indicate revisions, ∆ to mark text deletions and figure/table changes, bullets for deletions, and N to show new material in the Code
    • A matrix comparing the 2018 and 2021 editions of NFPA 101 that gives you an overview of technical/substantive changes at a glance
    • This edition is compatible with the 2021 version of NFPA 101 and includes all-new benefits and features.

    For the first time, the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Handbook includes Historical Notes highlighting fire events that have influenced changes to the Code through its history. You get explanatory information on the most significant revisions and additions for the 2021 edition, including:

    • New allowance for second door lock/latch releasing motion in existing educational and day-care occupancies, added in response to the need for safe locking arrangements for lockdown events (e.g., active shooters) in lieu of barricade devices
    • New requirement for automatic sprinklers in existing, high-rise apartment buildings, added in response to occupant risk in residential high-rise buildings
    • Revised existing nursing home construction requirements to recognize the added benefit of automatic sprinkler systems installed when not required under older Code editions, changed in response to noncompliance of some existing, sprinklered nursing homes that were previously deemed to be compliant
    • Inclusion of requirement for automatic sprinkler systems in new bars and restaurants with 50 or more occupants, added in response to occupant risk in potentially crowded, unfamiliar occupancies
    • New requirement for carbon monoxide detection in existing hotels and dormitories where a potential carbon monoxide source is present, added in response to the risk posed by carbon monoxide sources (e.g., fuel-fired heating equipment) to sleeping occupants

    Be better prepared to comply with vital fire and life safety criteria the first time with this one-of-a-kind resource from NFPA®.

    Help ensure you have the knowledge to keep pace with evolving safety challenges in the built environment. The NFPA 101, Life Safety Code Handbook is a must-have for building owners, architects, designers, contractors, engineers, AHJs, or inspectors. Order your copy today.

  • NFPA PDF Products

    If you purchased a PDF, licensed PDFs can be accessed immediately. Instructions can be found in your order confirmation.

    Effective with the annual 2020 code cycle, NFPA® will no longer offer access to the PDF format as a choice for new editions of codes and standards, handbooks, or other reference titles. Existing PDFs will remain in-market and will still be accessible in our National Fire Codes® Subscription Service (NFCSS™). For more information about the different format options available to access essential code and standard content you need, click here.

  • How the NFPA Handbooks Differ from Codes and Standards

    THE NFPA HANDBOOKS DIFFER FROM CODES AND STANDARDS

    Ever wonder what the difference is between an NFPA® handbook and a code or standard? We’re glad you asked.

    NFPA codes and standards both provide requirements for achieving outcomes. Handbooks take a deeper dive, providing the full text of a code or standard as well as expert commentary and features such as graphics, decision trees, testing procedures, case studies, sample forms and checklists, and other helpful aids to give a better understanding of the reasoning behind the requirements and how to apply them.

    JUST REMEMBER:

    • A code or standard is a framework—a set of rules to follow with a goal to achieve a certain result
    • A handbook is a connector—linking requirements to application by helping you understand the reasoning behind a code or standard

    The simplest way to think about it is that codes and standards list the technical requirements while handbooks explain those requirements to clarify how to apply them.

  • Table of Contents (2021 Current Edition)

    Contents 

     

    Preface  

    About the Editors  

    NFPA 101 Summary of Technical Changes: 2018 to 2021  

    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     Special Provisions for Hazardous Materials  

                             7.13     Mechanical Equipment Rooms, Boiler Rooms, and Furnace Rooms  

                             7.14     Normally Unoccupied Building Service Equipment Support Areas  

                             7.15     Occupant Evacuation Elevators  

                             7.16     Emergency Stair Travel Devices  

    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, Fire Protection, and Life Safety 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  

                             9.14     Risk Analysis for Mass Notification Systems  

                             9.15     Two-Way Radio Communication Enhancement Systems  

    Chapter 10  Interior Finish, Contents, and Furnishings

                             10.1     General  

                             10.2     Interior Finish  

                             10.3     Contents and Furnishings  

                             10.4     Outdoor Furniture 

                             10.5     Combustible Artificial Decorative Vegetation on Roofs and Near Buildings  

    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 Structures and Limited-Access Structures  

                             11.8     High-Rise Buildings  

                             11.9     Permanent Membrane Structures  

                           11.10     Temporary Membrane Structures  

                           11.11     Tents  

                           11.12     Animal Housing Facilities  

    Chapter 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  

    Chapter 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  

    Chapter 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  

    Chapter 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  

    Chapter 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  

    Chapter 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  

    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     Special Structures  

                             26.5     Building Services  

                             26.6     Reserved  

                             26.7     Operating Features  

    Chapter 27  Reserved  

    Chapter 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  

    Chapter 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  

    Chapter 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  

    Chapter 34  Reserved  

    Chapter 35  Reserved  

    Chapter 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  

    Chapter 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  

    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  

    Annexes

    A     Explanatory Material  

    B     Supplemental Evacuation Equipment  

    C     NFPA Documents on Hazardous Materials  

    D     Informational References  

    Index  

    Important Notices and Legal Disclaimers 

  • Sample Pages

    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 2021 NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® Handbook.

  • 2012-2018 Edition Descriptions

    2018 Edition

    Authors: Gregory E. Harrington, P.E., and Kristin Bigda, P.E.

    Implement NFPA 101® correctly in today's world. Your essential Code companion, NFPA®'s Life Safety Code® Handbook incorporates the complete Code text, commentary from seasoned professionals, and visuals into one go-to source.

     

    Get to Know the Handbook

    Discover how the 2018 Handbook can help you comply with NFPA 101, Life Safety Code requirements. It includes the full code text along with expert commentary and more than 750 visual references.

    Trust the 2018 edition of the NFPA 101: Life Safety Code Handbook to help you make the right safety decisions in the built environment, where every decision has the potential to impact lives. For applications advice, nothing compares! This unique reference combines Code text and expert commentary, so you're better prepared to comply the first time and avoid costly mistakes, violations, and job delays.

    You need expert support along with the Code. The full-color 2018 edition Life Safety Code Handbook is the only reference in the industry that provides:

    • Side-by-side presentation of occupancy requirements for new and existing occupancies for easy comparison -- this feature alone makes the Handbook a must!
    • The complete 2018 Life Safety Code text, featuring an expanded scope that now includes hazardous materials emergencies, injuries from falls, and emergency communications
    • Expert commentary explaining the reasoning and intent behind the rules, with hands-on examples of how to implement requirements
    • Guidance for hospital administrators and contractors on how to apply the latest health care occupancy provisions
    • All-new commentary for ensuring life safety in malls
    • 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
    • A matrix comparing the 2015 and 2018 editions of NFPA 101 that gives you an overview of technical/substantive changes at a glance

    If public safety depends on you, look to the 2018 edition of the NFPA 101 Handbook for essential support.

    Whether you're a building owner, architect, designer, contractor, engineer, AHJ, or inspector, NFPA's unique 2018 edition Life Safety Code Handbook helps you apply requirements properly to protect building occupants throughout the life of the building. (Print, 1,272 pp., 2018)


    2015 Edition

    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)

     


    2012 Edition

     

    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)

  • Also in Texts / Handbooks