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Board of Housing and Community Development
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Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code [13 VAC 5 ‑ 51]
Action Update the Statewide Fire Prevention Code
Stage Final
Comment Period Ends 6/29/2018
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98 comments

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5/15/18  11:00 am
Commenter: J. E. Boisseau Colonial Heights Fire and EMS

Emergency Prepareness Covered Malls
 

The below sections of the fire code are slated to be deleted.  I believe these sections need to be retained.  The addresses on the front and rear of the tenant spaces are very important to all emergency services, including mall security.  In addition, the mall having an emergency plan and reviewed by the local government is very important for preparedness and inter relationship before an incident.  When Southpark Mall has had a fire prior to these plans, there are confusion and delay locating and controlling the fire.  After these plans were developed, our response improved.  The last incident involved a shooting, which allowed security and emergency services to react quickly.  These plans should and would work.  If not, there would be chaos

403.10.1. Covered and open mall buildings. Covered and open mall buildings shall comply with the requirements of Sections 403.10.1.1 through 403.10.1.6.

403.10.1.1. Malls and mall buildings exceeding 50,000 square feet. An approved fire safety and evacuation plan in accordance with Section 404 shall be prepared and maintained for covered malls exceeding 50,000 square feet (4645 m2) in aggregate floor area and for open mall buildings exceeding 50,000 square feet (4645 m2) in aggregate area within perimeter line.

403.10.1.2. Lease plan. In addition to the requirements of Section 404.2.2, a lease plan that includes the following information shall be prepared for each covered and open mall building:

1. Each occupancy, including identification of tenant.

2. Exits from each tenant space.

3. Fire protection features, including the following:

3.1. Fire department connections.

3.2. Fire command center.

3.3. Smoke management system controls.

3.4. Elevators, elevator machine rooms and controls.

3.5. Hose valve outlets.

3.6. Sprinkler and standpipe control valves.

3.7. Automatic fire-extinguishing system areas.

3.8. Automatic fire detector zones.

3.9. Fire barriers.

403.10.1.3. Lease plan approval. The lease plan shall be submitted to the fire code official for approval, and shall be maintained on site for immediate reference by responding fire service personnel.

403.10.1.4. Lease plan revisions. The lease plans shall be revised annually or as often as necessary to keep them current. Modifications or changes in tenants or occupancies shall not be made without prior approval of the fire code official and building official.

403.10.1.5. Tenant identification. Tenant identification shall be provided for secondary exits from occupied tenant spaces that lead to an exit corridor or directly to the exterior of the building. Tenant identification shall be posted on the exterior side of the exit or exit access door and shall identify the business name or address, or both, using plainly legible letters and numbers that contrast with their background.

Exception: Tenant identification is not required for anchor stores.

403.10.1.6. Unoccupied tenant spaces. The fire safety and evacuation plan shall provide for compliance with the requirements for unoccupied tenant spaces in Section 311.


5/15/18  11:08 am
Commenter: J. E. Boisseau Colonial Heights Fire and EMS

Event Prepareness
 

The below sections of the fire code should not be deleted.  The fire code official should be able to develop a safety and emergency plan at any large event.  There was a large event in Dinwiddie that resulted in a shooting.  The Boy Scout event several years ago at Ft A P Hill that resulted in several injuries because of the weather.  Without local government being involved on the front side these event could be out of control or delay emergency services obtaining access.  This section should stay and allow the local government that authority to work with the host to plan for the safety of those attending.Typ

403.11.2. Public safety plan for gatherings. In other than Group A or E occupancies, where the fire code official determines that an indoor or outdoor gathering of persons has an adverse impact on public safety through diminished access to buildings, structures, fire hydrants and fire apparatus access roads or where such gatherings adversely affect public safety services of any kind, the fire code official shall have the authority to order the development of or prescribe a public safety plan that provides an approved level of public safety and addresses the following items:

1. Emergency vehicle ingress and egress.

2. Fire protection.

3. Emergency egress or escape routes.

4. Emergency medical services.

5. Public assembly areas.

6. The directing of both attendees and vehicles, including the parking of vehicles.

7. Vendor and food concession distribution.

8. The need for the presence of law enforcement.

9. The need for fire and emergency medical services personnel.

403.11.3. Crowd managers for gatherings exceeding 1,000 people. Where facilities or events involve a gathering of more than 1,000 people, crowd managers shall be provided in accordance with Section 403.11.3.1.

403.11.3.1. Number of crowd managers. The minimum number of crowd managers shall be established at a ratio of one crowd manager for every 250 persons.

Exception: Where approved by the fire code official, the number of crowd managers shall be permitted to be reduced where the facility is equipped throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system or based upon the nature of the event.

403.11.3.2. Duties. The duties of crowd managers shall include, but not be limited to:

1. Conduct an inspection of the area of responsibility and identify and address any egress barriers.

2. Conduct an inspection of the area of responsibility and identify and mitigate any fire hazards.

3. Verify compliance with all permit conditions, including those governing pyrotechnics and other special effects.

4. Direct and assist the event attendees in evacuation during an emergency.

5. Assist emergency response personnel where requested.

6. Other duties required by the fire code official.

7. Other duties as specified in the fire safety plan.

403.11.3.3. Training. Training for crowd managers shall be approved.

 


5/15/18  11:14 am
Commenter: J. E. Boisseau Colonial Heights Fire and EMS

Lockdown Plan
 

The section on the lockdown plan and using having a separate notification signal should remain.  We do not need occupants confused as to natural of the emergency.  The lockdown plan should be shared with emergency responders.

404.2.3.3. Lockdown notification. The method of notifying building occupants of a lockdown shall be included in the plan. The method of notification shall be separate and distinct from the fire alarm signal.

404.3. Maintenance. Fire safety and evacuation plans shall be reviewed or updated annually or as necessitated by changes in staff assignments, occupancy or the physical arrangement of the building.

404.4. Availability. Fire safety and evacuation plans shall be available in the workplace for reference and review by employees, and copies shall be furnished to the fire code official for review upon request.


5/15/18  11:44 am
Commenter: J. E. Boisseau Colonial Heights Fire and EMS

Fuel Dispensers Add Wording
 

I would like to add the following wording to clarify the maintenance of fuel dispensing devices.  I have had several occasions where the fuel nozzle did not cut off during fueling.  This would just make it easier to enforce and make those corrections.

2304.3.2 Dispensers. Dispensing devices shall be maintained to prevent accidental or unauthorized discharge and in accordance with the applicable building code.


5/15/18  11:49 am
Commenter: J.E. Boisseau Colonial Heights Fire & EMS

Fuel nozzles
 

I would like to add the following wording to clarify the maintenance of fuel dispensing devices.  I have had several occasions where the fuel nozzle did not cut off during fueling.  This would just make it easier to enforce and make those corrections.

2306.7.6 Fuel delivery nozzles. Fuel delivery nozzles shall be maintained to prevent accidental or unauthorized discharge and in accordance with the applicable building code.


5/15/18  12:05 pm
Commenter: J. E. Boisseau Colonial Heights Fire and EMS

Pyrophoric materials
 

I think the below wording should change to clarify the use of pyrophoric materials.

6403.1 Storage and use. The storage and use of pyrophoric material shall be maintained in accordance with the applicable building code.  The use or dispensing of pyrophoric materials shall be in accordance with the manufactures instructions or Safety Data Sheet.


5/15/18  12:08 pm
Commenter: J. E. Boisseau Colonial Heights Fire and EMS

Oxidizing materials
 

I think the below wording should change to clarify the use of oxidizing materials.

6303.1 Storage and use. The storage and use of oxidizing materials shall be maintained in accordance with the applicable building code.   The use or dispensing of oxidizing materials shall be in accordance with the manufactures instructions or Safety Data Sheet.


5/24/18  7:33 am
Commenter: Joseph Boisseau Colonial Heights Fire and EMS

Decoration and Curtains
 

Type ov

This section appears to be slated to be deleted. Till me how can a fire official can require flammable decorations inside a school or night club be immediately removed. Of course you can say follow applicable building code when the building was built.  What if, in this case, the building was built prior to 1973 and has not changed use.  Given the fact that the decoration would be installed on a Friday evening and removed by Monday morning and the local building official is not available. The fact that a building permit is not required for curtains and wall hangings, so the local building official would not be inspecting for such.  The example is ring dance or prom decorations in a high school that opened in 1964.

807.1. General requirements. In occupancies in Groups A, E, I and R-1 and dormitories in Group R-2, curtains, draperies, hangings and other decorative materials suspended from walls or ceilings shall meet the flame propagation performance criteria of NFPA 701 in accordance with Section 806.2 or be noncombustible.


5/24/18  7:38 am
Commenter: Joseph Boisseau Colonial Heights Fire and EMS

Fuel Pumps
 

I read this as problem with enforcing. The building was built and operated as a service station in 1950's. They upgrade the pumps sometime in the 1990's. However, there was no building permit issued because they were replacing like or like. Which applicable building code do we use? No building code for the building and unknown which code was used for the pumps.

2309.4.1 Dispensing systems. Dispensing systems shall be maintained in accordance with the applicable building code.


5/24/18  7:07 pm
Commenter: concerned citizen

Test
 
5/25/18  1:22 pm
Commenter: Linda Hale, Virginia Fire Prevention Association

Re-Evaluate the Re-Write Code
 


5/25/18  2:53 pm
Commenter: Linda Hale, On Behalf of 106 VFPA Signatures

Re-Evaluate the Re-Write Code Changes to the Proposed 2015 SFPC
 

On behalf of the Virginia Fire Prevention Association, its membership and the Commonwealth Fire Service Community, please accept this signed petition from 106 concerned and impacted persons with regards to the upcoming 2015 adoption process of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. 

We are petitioning to re-evaluate the re-write code changes to the proposed 2015 Statewide Fire Prevention Code.  We acknowledge that the majority of Chapters 1-10 were consensus based updates.  Areas in which non-consensus was not reached the DHCD staff versions were added, which changes the means and implementation of this process. But this is not true of Chapters 11-69, and no consensus process with the Fire Service Board’s Codes and Standards Committee occurred due to time constraints.

No person, including the BHCD, was able to see what the blended version of the SFPC that was “approved” by BHCD prior to April 30, 2018 when the regulations were printed in the Va. Register. 

Concern for the process:

Chapters 1-10 were mostly consensus based changes, but where there was not consensus the DHCD staff version was recorded, and that is problematic.

(N) Language inclusions are historically an appendix notation, and this language then removes operational and maintenance language into an appendix that is not enforceable.  It also is in conflict with a current NFPA practice of using the “N” notation to identify new code sections.

Chapters 11-69 should also be a consensus process but were not.

There are more than 80 changes in the Final regulations which were not presented to, or vetted in the workgroup process. These changes occurred in the later chapters of the SFPC which were glossed over in the last meeting of the workgroups in 2016. There was no further review of the DHCD proposal after those meetings.

The Final Regulations were not available to the Fire Services Board representatives until the last possible minute which prevented a full and careful evaluation of the proposal. This was in spite of the Final Regulations being presented to the building officials group for review two weeks prior to it being provide to the fire service or Fire Services Board members.

As examples of the issues presented by the non-consensus document being injected, as well as not updating Chapters 11-69 through a consensus  process, here are but a few of the issues noted:

603.3.3 Underground storage of fuel oil. What the code currently states is that “the storage of fuel oil in underground storage tanks shall comply with NFPA 31.”  The proposed code is re-written and the NFPA 31 reference is removed and replaced with “in accordance with the applicable building code.”  This change removes an operational reference standard – NFPA 31 – which includes operating regulations such as mixing oil based fuels with gasoline (NFPA 31 4.6.1).

901.5.1 Occupancy currently indicates that, “It shall be unlawful to occupy any portion of a building or structure until the required fire detection, alarm and suppression systems have been tested and approved.”  This entire code section was deleted.  This was a non-consensus code section.  It makes it unlawful to occupy a portion of a building without a certificate of occupancy.  It allows a fire official to require the evacuation of a building in conjunction with 1001.3 Overcrowding or 110.4 Unsafe Structure.  DHCD staff stated that a fire official might try to give a certificate of occupancy instead of the building official as the rational for removal.

2306.7.5 Dispenser hose currently indicates that, “Dispenser hoses shall be not more than 18 feet in length unless otherwise approved. Dispenser hoses shall be listed and approved. When not in use, hoses shall be reeled, racked or otherwise protected from damage.”  The section was changed to remove the specific length as well as the operation and maintenance of the hose, in lieu of “Dispenser hoses shall be maintained in accordance with the applicable building code.”  Nowhere in the applicable building code does it indicate when a hose is not in use it shall be reeled, racked or otherwise protected from damage.  This is a dispenser of class I and II flammable liquids that still has product in the hose.  This is another example of a weakening of the SFPC fire and life safety standards.

Again, these are but a sampling of the problems that the current proposed SFPC would create, and is not an exclusive list of detrimental impacts.

We hope the Board reassesses the entirety of what has been approved as non-consensus in chapters 3-10 and Chapters 11-69 because of the numerous issues that exist of which we have only highlighted a few..

We also believe that when the final regulations are adopted that a delayed implementation should be enacted, as even the consensus document highlights changes that are robust.  And additional time is required to educate the enforcement officers as well as the citizens and constituents we serve.

We thank you and the Board for the opportunity to provide comment and we sign this petition in opposition of this process moving forward.

You will find that 106 individuals have signed this petition, and it has been emailed to the agency contact, Mr. Kyle Flanders, Policy and Legislative Director with DHCD. A copy may also be viewed at www.VFPA.org

 


6/12/18  10:23 am
Commenter: Anthony McDowell, president, Va Fire Chiefs Assoc

Fire Prevention Code edits
 

Dear Chairman Ainslie:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the regulatory process. I write to you today in my capacity as President of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association (VFCA.) The VFCA is comprised of more than 600 members with its sole mission to serve the communities of Virginia through its fire service leaders and advance the fire and rescue service through leadership, education and advocacy.

 

We appreciate the ability to share our ongoing concerns about changes to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code, specifically as it relates to a “rewrite” of the code.

 

The Commonwealth of Virginia adopts a nationally-recognized model code, which itself is the result of a well-established, nationally- accepted, consensus code development process with broad stakeholder input. The detailed, technical nature of this process requires careful and deliberate effort to ensure each word, each sentence, and each chapter of the code is carefully vetted from a legal and functional standpoint, and is consistent with all referenced standards and codes. Fire officials who enforce this code rely on the document to be absolutely technically correct, so that it will stand up to legal scrutiny. Because of this long-standing process, we did not feel that there was a need to essentially rewrite the code in Virginia.

 

Despite this belief, over the past two years, the fire service has been happy to work with the members of the BHCD workgroup 2, which consisted of both fire service and building code official contingencies, to find much consensus in re-writing Chapters 1-10. Although all members did not agree on all changes to these ten chapters, after several months of meetings, there was a final compromise document produced that everyone could agree to and that maintained the integrity of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. Unfortunately, this document was not adopted by the Board as a whole, and additional, non-consensus items were added after the work of the group was completed. These new changes were problematic as they include both known and yet-to-be discovered technical flaws, mismatched references, and inconsistencies.  We are submitting specific examples (these examples are offered in two additional letters, due to limitations on allowable word count in one document during public comments). 

 

Furthermore, work group 2 was not able to complete the process of finding consensus for the remaining chapters in the allotted time.

 

The non-consensus items in chapters 1-10 and the remaining chapters were not reviewed in total by stakeholders, workgroups, or the Board at large before the vote was taken.

 

In summary, we believe the Statewide Fire Prevention Code as presented in the Final Regulations will create confusion due to conflicts created, result in significant local amendments and variation from a statewide regulation, and lessen safety for Virginia communities and firefighters alike.  As a result of these and other concerns, no statewide fire service organization in the Commonwealth supports these changes. In fact, every statewide fire organization stands strongly in opposition to these changes as written. 

 

Therefore, pursuant to the Code of Virginia, Sec. 2.2-4007.06, in order to provide additional time for comment, discussion and hopefully amendments, we are formally petitioning the Board of Housing and Community Development to reconsider their approval from the October 2017 meeting of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code published on April 30, 2018 in the Register of Regulations. We would respectfully ask that the Board reconsider their approval of those sections and allow only the consensus document created by workgroup 2 that consists of Chapters 1-10 be adopted, and that all other provisions that were removed in the subsequent chapters and sections be reinserted to allow time for consensus to be reached in the next code cycle. If the Board still feels that a total rewrite during this code cycle is necessary, we would respectfully request additional time to allow the stakeholder review process to finish its consensus work which will ensure a workable Statewide Fire Prevention Code that will protect all the citizens of the Commonwealth.

 

Should the 2015 Statewide Fire Prevention Code be adopted, the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association believes, at a minimum, the Board should consider the following amendments:

 

  • Item F-107.2(2) Dawson/Dean – Reactive and exploding targets

  • Item F-107.2(2) Dawson/Dean – Mobile food cooking operations

  • Item F-107.11 Sites – State FM Inspection fees

  • Item F-112.5 Andrews – Appeals application activities

  • Item F-301.3 Milliken – Certificate of occupancy requests

  • Item F-507.5.1 Toalson – Water supplies for infill developments

  • Item F-609.3.3.1 Mullens – Commercial hood system tags

  • Item F-703.1(2) Dawson – Exception to visual inspection of rated assemblies

  • Item F-703.4 Dawson – Testing of opening protectives

  • Item F-1030.1 Milliken – Emergency escape and rescue openings in R-4 use groups. NOTE – This approved change was voided by the SFPC re-write provisions which are being challenged.

  • Item F-3103.2 Milliken – Tent clarification

  • Item F-3501.2 Dean – Permit notation correction

  • Item F-5605.1 Sites – Reference standards for manufacture of blasting agents

  • Item F-5706.1.1 Dawson – Mobile fueling operations

  • Item F-6701.2 Dean – Permit notation correction

 

Because of the word limit allowed in posting public comments, we are submitted two separate letters that provide specific examples of the problems associated with the Final Regulations as approved.  These examples do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of the full document, but rather provide a sample of the most egregious and concerning issues in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code as proposed.

 

 

Sincerely,

Anthony E. McDowell

VFCA President 


6/12/18  10:26 am
Commenter: Anthony McDowell, president, Va Fire Chiefs Assoc

Attachment 1 to VFCA petition
 

Dear Chairman Ainslie:

 

This letter is the first of two companion documents intended to support the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association’s petition to the Board of Housing and Community Development to reconsider its approval of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code, as published on April 30, 2018 in the Register of Regulations.

 

As noted under that petition, we have requested the Board reconsider their approval of those sections and allow only the consensus document created by workgroup 2 that consists of Chapters 1-10 be adopted, and that all other provisions that were removed in the subsequent chapters and sections be reinserted to allow time for consensus to be reached in the next code cycle. If the Board still feels that a total rewrite during this code cycle is necessary, we would respectfully request additional time to allow the stakeholder review process to finish its consensus work which will ensure a workable Statewide Fire Prevention Code that will protect all the citizens of the Commonwealth.

 

Because of the word limit allowed in posting public comments, we are submitted these two separate letters that provide specific examples of the problems associated with the Final Regulations as approved.  These examples do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of the full document, but rather provide a sample of the most egregious and concerning issues in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code as proposed.

 

The following are examples from Chapters 2 through 8:

 

Chapter 2 Issues:

 

The definition of “maintained” creates a conflict within various portions of the code given the definition includes, “continuance as installed”. The phrase “in an appropriate manner” is undefined, subjective, and will lead to inconsistent enforcement.

 

Chapter 3 Issues:

 

301.3 – The Board changed the language as noted: “the owner or owner’s agent shall may request that one [certificate of occupancy] be issued by the Building Official…” This is poor code language as the regulations are not voluntary in nature. The building officials used the same language as in the USBC, however that is found in the administration section of the USBC and is directed at how the code is administered. It is found in Chapter 3 of the SFPC because it relates heavily to the safety of the structure and occupants and is a requirement for complying with the SFPC in many areas.

304.1.2 – This new language removes a recognized standard and creates a condition to be corrected based on judgement rather than the prescriptive and specific criteria contained in the referenced standard. 

313.1; 318.1 – The phrase “applicable NFPA 13 standard” may be misinterpreted and is not what was agreed to in the workgroup meetings over 2017. The FSB proposal would have allowed any NFPA 13 compliant system to meet the exceptions in this and other sections of the SFPC. As written with “applicable” the only standard that can apply to the exemption is the one listed in the USBC under which the building was constructed. The broad use of all of the NFPA 13 design standards allows more flexibility and meets the intent of the code in these sections to allow the condition with the system that is designed to fully protect the building. Differing standards may have required more or less in terms of notification and alarm systems and may not have been included in the design. In that case, additional modification to the system would be needed to meet the “applicable NFPA 13 standard” versus any edition of the standard. This is also inconsistent with other code provisions in Chapter 8 which creates additional confusion.

316.6.1 – “Approved” is a defined term and should be italicized. This is a problem throughout the Final Regulations.

317.3 – This section in the Final Regulations is not what was approved by the C&S Committee from the “consensus” document presented on 9/18/17. The language here is as proposed in the DHCD draft and not what was reviewed and endorsed by the Workgroup on 4/23/17. 

Chapter 5 issues:

503.1.1 – This section was changed from the consensus proposal approved at the C&S Committee meeting on 9/18/17, and was changed from appropriate terminology to “applicable NFPA 13 Standard” creating the same conflict noted in Chapter 3 313.1 and 318.1.

 

Chapter 6 Issues:

 

603.3.3.2.4 – This code sections scope has been changed and this edit removes operational issues associated with tanks that may not be regulated by the USBC. This reduces a safety provision of the SFPC.

603.3.3 – This change removes an operational reference standard – NFPA 31 – which includes operating regulations such as mixing oil based fuels with gasoline (NFPA 31 4.6.1).

603.6.2, 603.6.4, & 603.6.5 – There are inconsistencies within these sections. Corroded chimneys can be regulated and repaired, but the connectors that are corroded don’t have to be. The change to 603.6.4 and 603.6.5 removes the ability of the fire code to mitigate a dangerous condition.

604.1 & 604.2 – There are conflicts between these two sections: one says “shall be maintained in accordance with the applicable building code”, and the other says “maintained in accordance with sections 604.2 through 604.2.16”. There was consensus in the workgroups to have 604.1 say, “in accordance with this section” which would eliminate the conflict.

604.1.2 – There are conflicting terms in the same section which are supposed to mean the same thing. If they are written differently, it gives the impression they are two different conditions or situations. This creates confusion.

604.2.2 – The wording “maintained for emergency alarm systems as required by the applicable building code (emphasis added)” only require maintenance to be performed on system which are required by the USBC. Any elective alarm systems would not have to meet the inspections, testing, and maintenance requirements of the SFPC.

604.2.6 & 604.2.8 – This code section as edited creates confusion. “shall be maintained in accordance with NFPA 70 when required by the applicable building code” reads literally that when the building code requires maintenance, it shall be done in accordance with NFPA 70. The building code does not require maintenance, therefore maintenance should never be required.

604.2.12 – This section should reference the subsequent sections as they are the specific sections for egress illumination.

605.11.1 – The strikethrough removes too much of the section. All of the sections referenced in that paragraph are applicable to access and pathways. The “through 605.11.1.3.3” should not have been stricken. Exception 2 was also not stricken in the consensus document which was approved by the C&S Committee on 10/18/17. This exception is an operational issue which does not involve construction and deleting it removes some flexibility of the fire official to achieve compliance and allow the owner flexibility.  This section in the Final Regulations is not consistent with the consensus document approved by the C&S Committee on 10/18/17.

606.9.2 – “Approved” in the section should be italicized since it is a defined term.

606.13 – The “consensus” Fire Services Board change document presented to the C&S Committee, and published in the Final Regulations, is inaccurate when compared to the FSB change and the consensus comments in the workgroup summary.

 

Chapter 8 Issues:

 

803.1 – The section is poorly written or inappropriately edited and is confusing as written. Also, there are no maintenance provisions in the USBC so it is not possible to maintain anything in accordance with the building code.

803.5.1; 803.5.1.1; and 803.8.1 – These deletions were only considered “consensus” by the FSB Code Committee if table 803.3 was retained in the SFPC. This change does damage to the SFPC and weakens the code by allowing wall coverings which are not regulated by the SFPC to be unregulated by the SFPC as well.

803.6; 804.1; 804.3 – These sections, when combined with the definition of “maintained” will not allow any modification of these materials since they must be maintained “in continuance as installed”. This is pulling the definition into use as these materials shall be maintained and the definition says “in continuance”.

Section 805 – several subsections; 807.5 – Use of the phrase “the applicable NFPA 13 standard” was not in the consensus document which was approved by the C&S Committee on 10/18. The phrase “applicable NFPA 13 standard” may be misinterpreted and is not what was agreed to in the workgroup meetings over 2017. The FSB proposal would have allowed any NFPA 13 compliant system to meet the exceptions in this and other sections of the SFPC. As written with “applicable” the only standard that can apply to the exemption is the one listed in the USBC under which the building was constructed. The broad use of all of the NFPA 13 design standards allows more flexibility and meets the intent of the code in these sections to allow the condition with the system is designed to fully protect the building. Differing standards may have required more or less in terms of notification and alarm systems and may not have been included in the design. In that case, additional modification to the system would be needed to meet the “applicable NFPA 13 standard” versus any edition of the standard. This is also inconsistent with other code provisions in chapter 8 which creates additional confusion.

See workgroup summary notes p. 522 for sections 805.1.1.2 -> 805.4.2.2 noted as “consensus for FSB edit” which did not include the “applicable” term.

The FSB proposed language is consistent with other sections in the SFPC which were not edited; 904.11; 904.6; 912.6; 913.5 among others.

 Section 806, 807, 808 – Title – The title change was agreed to in the workgroup meetings, and 806 was included in the consensus changes presented to and approved by the C&S Committee on 10/18. The changes are not reflected in the Final Regulations.

 

These examples do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of the full document, but rather provide a sample of the most egregious and concerning issues in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code as proposed.

 

Sincerely,

Anthony E. McDowell

VFCA President 


6/12/18  10:30 am
Commenter: Anthony McDowell, president, Va Fire Chiefs Assoc

Attachment 2 to VFCA petition
 

Dear Chairman Ainslie:

 

This letter is the second of two companion documents intended to support the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association’s petition to the Board of Housing and Community Development to reconsider its approval of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code, as published on April 30, 2018 in the Register of Regulations.

 

As noted under that petition, we have requested the Board reconsider their approval of those sections and allow only the consensus document created by workgroup 2 that consists of Chapters 1-10 be adopted, and that all other provisions that were removed in the subsequent chapters and sections be reinserted to allow time for consensus to be reached in the next code cycle. If the Board still feels that a total rewrite during this code cycle is necessary, we would respectfully request additional time to allow the stakeholder review process to finish its consensus work which will ensure a workable Statewide Fire Prevention Code that will protect all the citizens of the Commonwealth.

 

Because of the word limit allowed in posting public comments, we are submitted these two separate letters that provide specific examples of the problems associated with the Final Regulations as approved.  These examples do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of the full document, but rather provide a sample of the most egregious and concerning issues in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code as proposed.

 

The following are examples from Chapters 9 through the end:

 

Chapter 9 Issues:

 

901.4 1 – This section requires the system to be “maintained in accordance with the original installation standards for that system”. The installation standard provides the regulation as to how the system is to be constructed and installed. The installation standard does not have any maintenance requirements or provisions and is in conflict with other sections of the code which note NFPA as the maintenance standard.

901.4.1 – Adds additional confusion to 901.4 when this section says “maintained in accordance with this code”.

(N) 901.4.1; (N) 901.4.3; (N) 901.4.6 – The N designation seems to indicate this is only in the appendix N, but these are clearly needed and enforceable provisions of the SFPC. See section 901.4.2 as the proper notation.

901.5.1 – This substantial change prohibits the fire official from prohibiting occupancy of a partially approved and constructed building. This prevents the fire official from correcting a dangerous situation.

901.5 (unchanged from IFC) and 901.5.2 – The FSB added section 901.5.2 to address those issues which are not part of the USBC. And in consort with an edit to 901.5, pulled those things from 901.5 which were USBC provisions and added them to 901.5.2. These things now seem to be regulated and tested twice rather than a single acceptance test.

905.6.2 – The “(N)” preceding this section seems to indicate this section is moving to the appendix N, but nothing is stricken. The format of the Final Regulations is confusing.

907.2.3 – This section was not deleted in the “consensus” changes that were approved by the C&S Committee on 10/18/17, and yet was deleted in the Final Regulations draft presented to the BHCD.

907.4.2.3 – “Approved” should be italicized.

907.6 compared to 907.6.3 – Note the differences in phrases “maintained in accordance with the applicable building code” and “maintained as provided in accordance with the applicable building code.” These two mean the same or do they?

909.18 – This section was not stricken in the draft presented to the BHCD – Book 7 dated 10.16/17 and should remain in the SFPC rather than in the appendix.

909.20.1 – The reference to chapter 9 here is inappropriate. Chapter 9 of the “applicable building code” may not have been addressing these systems. The model code does not specify where the maintenance provisions are spelled out, and a more generic statement is clearly appropriate due to its language in the model code.

Table 911.5 – The consensus document approved by the C&S Committee indicated “no change” and the table appears as deleted in the Final Regulations. The proposal reviewed by the BHCD on 10/16/17 did not include the deletion of the table.

 

Chapter 10 Issues:

 

Many of the Final Regulations in Chapter 10 indicate (N) in front of the code section. This implies these appendix provisions were edited to be enforceable provisions of the SFPC. It seems the following sections are not included in the SFPC but the appendix:

Based on the (N) indicating material dedicated for the appendix, the only provision of chapter 10 will be 1001 and 1003.3. All other sections of this chapter have the (N) designation.

(N) 1003.1 – The scope of the chapter has changed dramatically from addressing simply the elements of the means of egress to the entire building.

(N) 1010.1.9.3 – Deletion of this section removes an operational component that allows fire code officials to have flexibility and work with building occupants to ensure safety and security of their buildings. This section has been used extensively to allow businesses to lock egress doors without having to install panic type hardware to ensure the usability of the exit. This will now require doors to only comply with the building code under which it was constructed and remain in continuance as installed.

1003.4 – Floor surfaces were clearly defined in the IFC as “walking surfaces of the means of egress shall have a slip resistant surface and be securely attached” The new language is vague and opens up the interpretation of “slip and trip hazards” to the individual inspector rather than clear narrowly scoped language related to the specific surface.

1004.1 (and subsequent sections) – Without these provisions, the fire official has no authority or prescriptive regulation to adjust the occupant load from that established by the designer. Many times the occupant load is adjusted to meet the needs of the occupant to accommodate added occupants (removal of fixed seating) or reduction in occupants (if exits are blocked or floor area reduced). The removal of these provisions prohibit the ability of the fire code official to exercise judgment based on the environment or customer need.  Additionally, when determining the occupant loads, the charts and tables which have been removed serve as guidance in determining compliance.

1004.2 – Deleted section expressly prohibits the ability of the fire code official to exceed the designed occupant load even if enhanced fire safety provisions are in place. This would not be able to be modified by local amendment as reverting back to the model code language would be less stringent and not permitted.

1004.5 – Outdoor areas – Outdoor areas not associated with a structure are not regulated by the building code. This would allow unlimited occupancy to a patio that is connected to a business, but not regulated by the USBC.

1005.7 – Changes to this section only would prohibit items that are associated with a building element with the new language and deletion of sub sections. Doors that are modified to not open fully, or obstructions to their swing would not be a violation even though they would reduce the egress width. The issue here would be the trashcan behind a door, while limiting the door swing, would not violate the SFPC, but based on this new language be a violation of the USBC, however the building official has no authority or ability to inspect for or correct these issues.

Throughout Chapter 10, there are multiple references to components of the Means of Egress being “maintained in accordance with the applicable building code”. We believe this phrase – used in several sections of the proposed Final Regulations will create confusion. There are no maintenance provisions in the building code, the applicable building code may not have referenced the maintenance standards that are currently required, and a legal question is created since the fire code is enforced as a present regulation and not retroactively.

 

Chapter 21 Issues:

2107.2 – completely deletes the prohibition of solvent tanks below grade as well as the exception and doesn’t even reference back to the applicable building code

2107.2.3 – deletes references to proper spill control; no maintenance requirements for spill control in the applicable building code.  This is operational, not construction.

Chapter 23 Issues:

2303.1 – removes technical guidance for proper location of dispensing devices (often these can be portable and are not covered under the building code)

2306.8.6 – removes requirement for compatibility between products and equipment; existing state amendment

2306.2.3 – removes guidance or indication of the requirements regarding location of outdoor tanks

2306.2.4.1 – deletes tank capacity limits with no reference to MAQ or applicable building code

2306.2.6 – removes guidance for special situation and leaves the term “special enclosure” undefined and unclear as to what it is addressing.

2306.6.2.6 – removes any requirement for spill containers, including portable, and any indication as to the hazard or how to protect against it

2306.8.2 through 2306.8.4 – deletes fire code official approval; deletes signage requirements; operational issues, not construction

2307.7 – removes item 6 and 7 regarding signs and maintenance of area around the dispenser.

2309.2 – makes it unclear if all hydrogen equipment is required to be listed or only if regulated by the building code

Chapter 24 Issues:

2403.2.1.3 – This section regulates equipment outside of the spray booth – electrical cords, motors, hand tools, etc. that are not within the scope of the USBC. As proposed, anything that is not regulated by the USBC would be allowed within the 5 feet of a spray booth where flammable gases may be located. This section is provided in the model code to prevent sources of ignition from being close to the openings of these booths to limit the sources of ignition in flammable gas areas.

2404.3.2.5 – The intent of the model code in this section is for the purposes of keeping the area free of storage of combustibles AND “so that all parts of the booth are readily accessible for cleaning”. The change proposed in the Final Regulations will allow non-combustible storage in areas that will require cleaning and inspections to ensure there is no build-up of flammable finishes. This change increases the risk for fires in and around spray operations.

2407.1 – The proposal deletes a very clear directive and safety provision in that “spraying operations cannot be conducted unless the ventilation system is in operation.” This revision of the language is confusing.

2404.7.8 – Proposed regulations remove critical certification standards for the performance of intake filters. The model code requires UL 900 certification for Class I or Class II combustible atmospheres. These requirements have been removed.

Chapter 25 Issues:

2504.1 – The model code requires all sources of ignition to be controlled and protected from the flammable gases that are associated with fruit and crop ripening operations. The proposed regulation will limit this control of those sources of ignition from ANY source, to only those sources regulated by the USBC. Open flames, smoking, cooking operations, candles, and any other source of ignition would not be prohibited in these dangerous areas as they are not regulated by the building code.

Chapter 27 Issues:

2703.2 – The model code address all electrical wiring and equipment within the hazard area. Hand tools, electronics, phone systems, radios etc. are not regulated by the building code, but are intended to be regulated here due to the hazardous conditions presented and flammable atmospheres likely to occur. Removing the provision of this section will eliminate the fire code official ability to require electronic equipment to meet the explosive resistance required in NFPA 70 thus adding risk to the workspace. This may also allow a non-compliant OSHA condition to be created as well.

2704 – All of this section dealing with storage is beyond the scope of the USBC and should not be modified. These are operational issues, include the maximum allowable quantity, which may not have been identified in the construction of the building.

Chapter 28 Issues:

2803.4 – This provision deals with more than just building systems and requires all electrical equipment – hand tools and the like – be compliant with NFPA 70. Those items not regulated by the USBC would in fact become not regulated.

Chapter 32 Issues:

3208.2 – The proposed regulation indicates, “where automatic sprinklers are provided, they shall be maintained in accordance with the applicable building code.” This creates confusion as Chapter 9 directs all inspection testing and maintenance of water based fire protection systems to be done in accordance with NFPA 25. Additionally, there are no maintenance provisions in the USBC and the language here as in all other parts of the Final Regulations where the phrase is used will create confusion.

3208.3.1 – The addition of the heighted text here is problematic, “where required by the fire code official, flue spaces required by the applicable building code…”. The fire code official does not have the authority to enforce the USBC. The Final Regulations here take out the reference in the model code that outlines when the fire code official can take action on protection of a flue space in high piled storage. The Final Regulations as published are unenforceable.

Chapter 50 - 67 issues:

The regulation of hazardous materials –in the handling, storage, and use – is not within the application of the USBC. The USBC notes in section 103.1, “In accordance with Section 36-99 of the Code of Virginia, the USBC shall prescribe building regulations to be complied with in the construction and rehabilitation of buildings and structures, and the equipment therein.” [emphasis added]. This clearly does not include materials, chemicals, emergency planning, evacuation drills, or anything else that falls within the scope of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code.

In contrast, the SFPC’s purpose as stated in 101.3 is, to provide for statewide standards to safeguard life and property from the hazards of fire or explosion arising from the improper maintenance of life safety and fire prevention and protection materials, devices, systems and structures, and the unsafe storage, handling, and use of substances, materials and devices, including explosives and blasting agents, wherever located.” [emphasis added]. It’s clear when held side by side, the provisions in chapter 50 of the SFPC are enforceable, and should not undergo such heavy amendments in the absence of a clear problem with the code. This entire chapter should be left as is in the model code or with existing state amendments until further evaluation of the proposed changes can be fully evaluated and only those construction provisions are removed.

Chapter 60 Specific Issues:

Various changes in this chapter were not reviewed at the workgroup meetings. Three sections (two of which were unchanged at the time of the WG review), were reviewed on 8/26/16 meeting: 6004.1.1; 6003.2.5; 6004.1.1.1. Sections now modified in the Final Regulations include 6001.1; 6003.1 (2 sections); 6004.2.2.6; 6004.2.2.8 (2 sections)

6004.1.2 (5) – Change is not consistent with other SFPC rewrite changes and points to a deleted section of the code.

6004.2.1.1 – This section points to a deleted group of tables in chapter 50.

6004.3.2.1.2 – Several sections related to methods of construction were retained and are not consistent with the purpose of the SFPC rewrite.

Chapter 61 Specific Issues:

There were two sections reviewed at the workgroup meeting on 8/26/16. The following sections were modified without workgroup review or input:

6103; 6104; 6108; 6109

6103.3.1 – The reference to these systems being maintained in accordance with the code under which they were installed is inconsistent with other changes and does not reference maintenance standards for these systems.

Chapter 62 Specific Issues:

There were only two sections reviewed at the workgroup meetings based on the summaries published from the final workgroup meeting on 8/26/16, and there were no changes noted to those sections.

The following sections were modified and not reviewed according to the workgroup summaries: 6203.1 and 5 additional subsections; 6203.2; 6204 and 12 additional subsections.

Chapter 63 Specific Issues:

There were only three sections reviewed at the 8/26/16 workgroup meeting.

There were 17 sections modified and four tables deleted in the Final Regulations which were not reviewed by the workgroups.

Chapter 64 Specific Issues:

There was only one section (6404.1.4) which was reviewed by the workgroup at the 8/16/16 meeting. There were 11 additional sections modified in the Final Regulations which have not been reviewed by the workgroup.

Chapter 65 Specific Issues:

There was only one section (6504.1.3) which was reviewed by the workgroup at the 8/16/16 meeting. There were two additional sections modified in the Final Regulations which have not been reviewed by the workgroup.

Chapter 66 Issues:

There were three sections which were reviewed by the workgroup at the 8/16/16 meeting. There were seven additional sections modified in the Final Regulations which have not been reviewed by the workgroup.

Chapter 67 Specific Issues:

There was only one section which was reviewed by the workgroup at the 8/16/16 meeting. There were eight additional sections modified in the Final Regulations which have not been reviewed by the workgroup.

6705.1 – Points to deleted sections of the SFPC.

 

These examples do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of the full document, but rather provide a sample of the most egregious and concerning issues in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code as proposed.

 

Sincerely,

Anthony E. McDowell

VFCA President 


6/15/18  10:40 am
Commenter: Richmond Fire and Emergency Services

2012 VSFPC
 

We should use caution when being ask to simply keep the 2012 Statewide Fire Prevaention Code. Section 104.1 notes that the locailty may adopt VSFPC in its' entirity , relating to open burning, fire lanes, fire lanes and hazardous materials. Although we specifics can be amended to be more restrictive (not having any affecct on     building code issues), attorneys could challenge in court the locality's down right rejection and the complete substution of the current State Fire code when violated is sited the is covered by VSFPC. The City of Richmond with past leaderrship has adopted The virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code that supports our efforts for code enforcement. It would be extermely problematic to enforce maintenace under the current building codes,continuing to reference the the 2012 code. Prolonging the publilcation of the 2015 even with disagreements that most juridishtions are having with the removal of some languish will increasing hamper our ability to provide service to our customers. 


6/18/18  8:26 am
Commenter: Perry Weller, City of Staunton Fire & Rescue

2015 VSFPC
 

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. As an advocate for the safety of the citizens of the City of Staunton and all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association and the Virginia Fire Prevention Association. Moving forward without consensus is a dangerous gamble with fire safety. As outlined by others, there are too many code sections that need closer evaluation by the fire service stakeholders. Numerous sections severely diminish the regulations that are currently in place to protect the citizens of Virginia. We cannot allow for anything but a complete review and consensus document to be released and adopted.

Sincerely,

Perry W. Weller
Deputy Fire Marshal


6/18/18  9:43 am
Commenter: Keith Chambers, President, Central Virginia Fire Arson Association

SFPC Comments
 

Representing the Central Virginia Fire Arson Association (CVFAA), please accept these comments on behalf of over 100 members of the fire service community regarding the 2015 Statewide Fire Prevention Code adoption process.

In addition of support to the comments entered by VFCA President, Anthony McDowell and VFPA representative, Linda Hale we are urging you to consider re-evaluating changes proposed in the 2015 Statewide Fire Prevention code. The changes presented are voluminous and nowhere near being vetted to ascertain any of the unintended consequences. Below are just a few code section changes that were recognized as being potential problems. We are certain there are many more because the entirety of these massive changes have not been thoroughly evaluated.

301.3 Occupancy. Within this section change the Board voted to change the last sentence to state, “Where a certificate of occupancy is not available for a building, the owner or owners agent MAY (emphasis added) request that one be issued by the building official and retained on site for reference.”

The use of the word “MAY” is not proper code language and is completely unenforceable.

603.3. Underground Storage of Fuel Oil. Current codes references NFPA 31 as the guiding document for compliance. Under the changes proposed the reference to use NFPA 31 is removed and substituted with the statement, “in accordance with the applicable building code.” This removes any guidance and enforcement to operation requirements and may prevent enforcing standards such as mixing fuels.

901.5.1 Occupancy. This entire section is proposed to be deleted. Currently, this section gives authority to the Fire Marshal to not allow a building to be occupied unless all fire detection and suppression systems have been tested and approved. By deleting this, a building can be stocked, operating and/or occupied before any fire safety systems are functional, and there are no enforcement capabilities for the Fire Marshal to utilize to prevent it.

Throughout many code section changes the statement “maintained in accordance with the applicable building code” is used. This can be very confusing, as the building code does not have any maintenance provisions, and some of those changed sections do not point to the applicable NFPA guidance document, whereas some do. No consistency.

The word “approved” is a defined word and italicized to indicate the defined term. In several sections “approved” is not italicized as should be required.

These are merely a sampling of concerns regarding specific proposed changes. Others have provided even more in their respective comments. Please consider our request for re-evaluation of the slated changes.


6/18/18  6:07 pm
Commenter: James Cullinan

Fire Prevention Code Edits
 

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is James Cullinan and I am the Fire Chief for the Spotsylvania County Department of Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

Sincerely,

James Cullinan

Fire Chief

Spotsylvania County Department of Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management


6/19/18  8:45 pm
Commenter: Carrsville Fire & Rescue

Statewide Fire Prevention Code
 

 

 

To Whom it May Concern;

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code.  My name is Kevin Duck and I am the Commissioner of the Carrsville Fire Department.   As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments provided earlier by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.  

Sincerely,

Kevin Duck, Commissioner

Carrsville Fire & Rescue


6/20/18  9:54 am
Commenter: Chris Eudailey - VFCA

Fire Prevention Code
 

"To Whom It May Concern:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Chris Eudailey and I serve as the Executive Director for the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association and recently retired as the Fire Chief for Spotsylvania Department of Fire, rescue and EM. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.  The safety and welfare of the citizens and visitors of the Commonwealth would be jeopardized if the proposed fire code changes were adopted as published. Thanks for the opportunity to share these concerns.

 

Sincerely,

R. Christian Eudailey

Executive Director/ Fire Chief (Ret.)

VFCA/ Spotsylvania Department of Fire, Rescue and EM


6/20/18  2:07 pm
Commenter: Darren Stevens, Chief Fauquier County Fire Rescue

Statewide Fire Prevention Code
 

"To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Darren Stevens and I am the Fire Chief/Fire Marshal for the _______County of Fauquier. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

Darren Stevens

Fire Chief/Fire Marshal

Fauquier County


6/20/18  2:13 pm
Commenter: R. Scott Garber, City of Staunton Fire & Rescue

Fire Chief
 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is R. Scott Garber and I am the Fire Chief for the City of Staunton Fire & Rescue Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

Sincerely,

R. Scott Garber

Fire Chief

City of Staunton Fire & Rescue


6/20/18  2:33 pm
Commenter: Keith Chambers, Fire Marshal,Chesterfield Fire and EMS

SFPC Code Updates
 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Keith Chambers and I am the Fire Marshal for Chesterfield County Fire and EMS. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

Keith Chambers

Assistant Chief, Fire Marshal

Chesterfield Fire and EMS

 

 


6/20/18  2:39 pm
Commenter: Charles Knowles, Chesterfield Fire & EMS - Fire & Life Safety Division

Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code
 

As the Chief Deputy Fire Marshal for Chesterfield Fire & EMS, I stand in oppositon to the proposed SFPC code changes in their current format.  The recommended changes, proposed by Board of Housing and Community Development, will weaken the Fire Prevention Code and, in turn, reduce the safety of all Virginians and the citizens who visit our Commonwealth.  

I, too, support the legislative efforts of the Virginia Fire Chief's Association (VFCA) and request to have my name added to their comments.

Respectfully,

Charles M. Knowles, Jr.

Chief Deputy Fire Marshal

Chesterfield Fire & EMS


6/20/18  2:59 pm
Commenter: Chief, Kenbridge Fire Department

Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code
 

To Whom It May Concern:

    As Chief of the Kenbridge Fire Department and a long time advocate for a safe community for the Commonwealth of Virginia and its citizens I oppose the changes as introduced in the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association. 

Richard W. Harris, Chief


6/20/18  3:46 pm
Commenter: Simone Gulisano, Chesapeake Fire Department

Virginia Fire Prevention Code Updates
 

Thank you for the oppurtunity to comment on the the updates to the Staewaide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Simone "Sam" Gulisano and I serve as the Fire Marshal for the City of Chesapeake. As an advocate for safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virgini Fire Chiefs Association.

Sincerely,

Simone J. Gulisano

Division Chief/Fire Marshal

Chesapeake Fire Department


6/20/18  3:47 pm
Commenter: John Prillaman, Salem Fire & EMS Department

Statewide Fire Prevention Code
 

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is John Prillaman and I am the Fire Chief for the Salem Fire & EMS Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

Sincerely,

John Prillaman

Fire Chief

Salem Fire & EMS Department

comments here. You are limited to approximately 3000 words.


6/20/18  3:58 pm
Commenter: Jay Davis, Charlottesville Fire Department

Statewide Fire Prevention Code Concerns
 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Jay Davis and I am the Fire Marshal for the Charlottesville Fire Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association. As outlined by others, there are too many code sections that need closer evaluation by the fire service stakeholders. Numerous sections severely diminish the regulations that are currently in place to protect the citizens of Virginia. We need a complete review and consensus document to be released and adopted.

 

Sincerely,

Jay Davis

Fire Marshal

Charlottesville Fire Department


6/20/18  4:13 pm
Commenter: Kevin Good, Stafford County

Statewide Fire Prevention Code
 

"To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is  Kevin Good and I am the Assistant Chief for the Fort Belvoir Fire Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

Kevin Good

Stafford County, VA


6/20/18  4:39 pm
Commenter: David Eagle, City of Danville

Statewide Fire Prevention Code edits
 

To Whom it may Concern:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the VSFPC updates and edits.  My name is David Eagle and I am the Fire Chief and Fire Official for the City of Danville.  I am a longtime advocate for a safe community for the Commonwealth of Virginia, its citizens, and those who visit our great state. I oppose the current changes to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code as it has been introduced and also oppose the methods that were used to propose these updates.  I respectfully wish to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

Sincerely,

David Eagle

Fire Chief

Danville Fire Department


6/20/18  8:34 pm
Commenter: Glenn A Dean, CFM (Retired)

Promulgation of 2015 SFPC
 

I strongly suggest that the current promulgation effort for updating the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC) be suspended, or remanded back to the Board of Housing and Community Development (BHCD) for a more comprehensive or inclusive review/process. While I may now be retired, my request is based on my long and continued interest, involvement and exposure to the code adoption process at both the state and national levels and based upon that long involvement and exposure I can assure you - even guarantee you - compared to the promulgation process for the national IFC model code that is the base document for the SFPC, the BHCD has NOT invested a sufficient amount of time for an informed debate on such an expansive set of changes as those currently proposed for this edition of the SFPC. The proposed code has not been fully vetted by all impacted entities and for that reason alone, the effort should be suspended.


6/21/18  8:58 am
Commenter: Mike Armstrong, Fire Chief, City of Bristol, VA Fire Department

Statewide Fire Prevention Code
 

Statewide Fire Prevention Code

I would like to echo the concerns made by fire service professionals in the Commonwealth of Virginia and oppose the current proposal being forwarded by the BHCD. I stand in opposition to the current Statewide Fire Prevention Code proposal and the manner in which it was developed. I strongly believe this will weaken fire safety efforts in Virginia. I thank you for the opportunity to voice my concerns.

 

Respectfully,

Mike Armstrong, Ed.D.

Fire Chief

City of Bristol, VA


6/22/18  2:15 pm
Commenter: Fire Chief Stephen P. Kopczynski, Chairman Virginia Fire Service Council

Statewide Fire Prevention Code Input from VA Fire Service Council
 

Dear Chairman Ainslie:

On behalf of the Virginia Fire Service Council, I am writing about the proposed changes to the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code.  I am aware that you have received in-depth input from the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association (VFCA) and others.  The Virginia Fire Service Council concurs with these concerns.

As indicated by others, we too believe that the Statewide Fire Prevention Code, as presented in the “final regulations,” will create confusion due to the various conflicts that will be created, will cause the need for significant local amendments and potentially reduce the safety of Virginia’s citizens, businesses and visitors, as well as our own firefighters.  These concerns are shared by virtually all of the major Fire/EMS organizations in the Commonwealth and have been previously expressed.  Further, the extensive explanation submitted by the VFCA amply describes the concerns.

Therefore, pursuant to the Code of Virginia, Sec. 2.2-4007.06, in order to provide additional time for comment, discussion and hopefully amendments, we are formally petitioning the Board of Housing and Community Development to reconsider their approval from the October 2017 meeting of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code published on April 30, 2018 in the Register of Regulations.  We would respectfully ask that the Board reconsider their approval of those sections and allow only the consensus document created by workgroup 2 that consists of Chapters 1-10 be adopted, and that all other provisions that were removed in the subsequent chapters and sections be reinserted to allow time for consensus to be reached in the next code cycle.  If the Board still feels that a total rewrite during this code cycle is necessary, we would respectfully request additional time to allow the stakeholder review process to finish its consensus work which will ensure a workable Statewide Fire Prevention Code that will protect all the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Should the 2015 Statewide Prevention Code be adopted, the Virginia Fire Service Council believes, at a minimum, the Board should consider the following amendments:

  • Item F-107.2(2) Dawson/Dean – Reactive and exploding targets
  • Item F-107.2(2) Dawson/Dean – Mobile food cooking operations
  • Item F-107.11 Sites – State FM Inspection fees
  • Item F-112.5 Andrews – Appeals application activities
  • Item F-301.3 Milliken – Certificate of occupancy requests
  • Item F-507.5.1 Toalson – Water supplies for infill developments
  • Item F-609.3.3.1 Mullens – Commercial hood system tags
  • Item F-703.1(2) Dawson – Exception to visual inspection of rated assemblies
  • Item F-703.4 Dawson – Testing of opening protectives
  • Item F-1030.1 Milliken – Emergency escape and rescue openings in R-4 use groups

NOTE – This approved change was voided by the SFPC re-write provisions which are being challenged.

  • Item F-3103.2 Milliken – Tent clarification
  • Item F-3501.2 Dean – Permit notation correction
  • Item F-5605.1 Sites – Reference standards for manufacture of blasting agents
  • Item F-5706.1.1 Dawson – Mobile fueling operations
  • Item F-6701.2 Dean – Permit notification correction

I am hopeful that you and the Board of Housing and Community Development will seriously consider the input from our organization and other Fire/EMS organizations and individuals.

Sincerely,

Fire Chief Stephen P. Kopczynski

Chairman, Virginia Fire Service Council

 


6/22/18  2:27 pm
Commenter: Stephen P. Kopczynski, Fire Chief/Director -York County, VA

Statewide Fire Prevention Code Input
 

As a local fire chief/fire official, I am concerned with the changes to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code as published by the Board of Housing and Community Development. I believe that if the the changes, as published, are imposed and if there is not the necessary additional work done on this code it will be at the safety detriment of the citizens, businesses and visitors of the Commonwealth as well as our firefighters. Therefore, I support the petition of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association as well as the comments that have been submitted on behalf of the Virginia Fire Service Council and ask for additional consideration bu the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development..

Thanks for the opportunity to address this critical life safety issue.

Sincerely.

Stephen P. Kopczynski

Fire Chief/Director

York County (VA) Department of Fire and Life Safety


6/22/18  2:33 pm
Commenter: Julien Crolet

Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code
 

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Julien Crolet and I am a Fire Protection Specialist for the Fort Belvoir Fire Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

Julien Crolet

Spotsylvania County, VA


6/22/18  5:07 pm
Commenter: Jeffrey F. Wise

Virginia State Wide Fire Prevention Code concerns
 

My name is Jeffrey Wise and I am the Fire Chief in Norfolk. I want to thank you for the opprotunity to express my concern during this comment period, related to the proposed changes/edits to the State Wide Fire Prevention Code. Having reviewed the concerrns expressed by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association and the Virginia Fire Services Council, I woudl like to add my name in support of the positions expressed by those two groups. 


6/23/18  9:09 am
Commenter: Gregory Cade, NFPA

Virginia State Wide Fire Prevention Code
 

Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development

Main Street Centre 

600 East Main Street, Suite 300

Richmond, VA 23219

 

Reference: 2015 Statewide Fire Prevention Code

June 23, 2018

 

Dear Sirs,

 

I am writing to appeal the decision to adopt the 2015 International Code Council’s “International Fire Prevention Code (IFC)” as amended by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).  The ability to properly review the voluminous changes recommended by DHCD staff and correlate them back to the origin language in the 2015 ICC-IFC and the various National Fire Protection Associations (NFPA) Codes and Standards “Incorporated by Reference (IBR)” in the IFC is critical to evaluating the  safety of existing buildings.  The number of changes suggested by staff and others coupled with the short period of time allowed to comprehensively review the document and assess the potential impact of those changes does not allow for an appropriate review.

 

We believe that the safety of the community is better served by allowing a sufficient amount of time to properly review and comment on the changes.  Given the fact that with this adoption the DHCD is already one whole complete cycle behind the ICC’s current IFC we believe the review is critical. 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Gregory B. Cade

Mid-Atlantic Regional Director

National Fire Protection Association

619 Chesapeake Drive

Stevensville, Maryland 21666

202-309-8537 (phone); gcade@nfpa.org (email)


6/26/18  11:30 am
Commenter: James Dawson

Statewide Fire Prevention Code Rewrite
 

I would like my comments to be added to those of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association as well as the Virginia Fire Prevention Association, and include the following added commentary. 

As the proponent on behalf of the Virginia Fire Services Board in 2017 - while a member of the Board of Housing - I requested the Board of Housing to defer any action on the SFPC rewrite to include those proposals submitted under my name for chapters 1-10 of the SFPC. The rational for that request was clear in the complex nature of the SFPC and how many later chapters relate to or references are drawn from other chapters, and the true consensus process that was undertaken by the Fire Board Code Committee while laborious was far from complete. 

The Board as rules making body, nor I who was deeply involved in the workgroup process from the beginning, had never reviewed the document that has become the final regulations and were not able to evaluate the relationships of the changes that were approved by the Board in October. This action has lead to the problems outlined clearly in the attachments provided by Chief McDowell, and expanded on by others in this comment period. 

I would urge the Board of Housing reconsider their actions on the code rewrite proposals, to include the proposals submitted under my name (consistent with my request at the 2017 Board of Housing Meeting), and to revert back to the base 2015 edition of the IFC with the individual SFPC amendments that were fully and completely vetted by the Workgroups and the Board and allow a more complete review of the SFPC in the coming years by the appropriate organizations and interest groups. 

 


6/27/18  9:33 am
Commenter: Bill MacKay, Goochland County

VA Statewide Fire Code
 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Bill MacKay and I am the Fire-Rescue Chief for the Goochland County Fire-Rescue Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

The current proposal and edits to the SWFPC are inadequate and are not in the best interest of all Virginians. As public servants we have no more important duty than to provide for the safety and welfare of those who have entrusted us with their safety.  As written and if approved, the safety of all Virginians will be lessened and erroded with this proposal.

Along with my fellow fire service professionals (both career and volunteer), I stand in opposition to this action by the Board of Housing and Community Development. The number of identified consequances to adopting this as presented is well documented.

 

 

Sincerely,

William (Bill) MacKay

Fire-Rescue Chief

Goochland County Department of Fire-Rescue and Emergency Services


6/27/18  10:55 am
Commenter: Claiborne F. Cofer, Virginia Beach Fire Department

Virginia Fire Prevention Code Updates
 

Virginia Fire Prevention Code Updates

Thank you for the oppurtunity to comment on the the updates to the Staewaide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Claiborne F. Cofer and I serve as Fire Marshal for the City of Virginia Beach. As an advocate for safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

Claiborne F. Cofer

Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal

Virginia Beach Fire Department


6/27/18  11:03 am
Commenter: Willie G. Shelton Jr, retired Executive Director VDFP & Federal Fire Chief

State Fire Prevention Code
 

Fire codes were enacted to protect the public! Weakening the codes does not protect the public. I suggest that the International Fire Code as employed in the US be employed in Virginia in its entirety. One only needs to see the devastation caused by fires today to realize that the synthetics materials burn twice or three times faster than natural wood products. Fire sprinklers should be considered in Virgina; look at the reduiction of damage and positive impacts that have occurred in  Maryland since fire sprinklers were madated. Losses are nil since the 24-hour fire fighter (sprinkler) is always ready instantly.

Don't be mislead. I fully fire sprinklered my home in 1989 and now the reduction in insurance premiums makes me money!!!!

Codes need to be strong and not weakened.

W. G. Shelton Jr., CEM, FIFireE


6/27/18  11:05 am
Commenter: William Gerstein Jr. Virginia Beach Fire Department

Virginia Fire Prevention Code Updates
 

"To Whom It May Concern:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is William Gerstein Jr and I am the Deputy Fire Marshal for the Virginia Beach Fire Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

William Gerstein Jr

Deputy Fire Marshal

Virginia Beach Fire Department


6/27/18  11:06 am
Commenter: Keith Ashbury Virginia Beach Fire Department

Virginia Fire Prevention Code update
 

Thank you the oppurtunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Keith Ashbury and I am the Deputy Fire Marshal for the Virginia Beach Fire Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Assocaition.

 

Sincerely,

Keith Ashbury

Deputy Fire Marshal

Virginia Beach Fire Department


6/27/18  11:11 am
Commenter: George Hughes Virginia Beach Fire Department

Virginia Fire Prevention Code Updates
 

"To Whom It May Concern:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is George D. Hughes and I am the Deputy Fire Marshal for the Virginia Beach Fire Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

George D. Hughes

Deputy Fire Marshal

Virginia Beach Fire Department


6/27/18  11:15 am
Commenter: James Hartnett, City of Manassas Fire & Rescue Department

Proposed edits and updates to the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code
 

 Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is James Hartnett and I am the Fire Marshal for the City of Manassas Fire & Rescue Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

James Hartnett

Fire Marshal

City of Manassas Fire & Rescue Department


6/27/18  1:52 pm
Commenter: Matthew Gallina Virginia Beach Fire Department

Virginia Fire Prevention Code Updates
 

 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Matthew Gallina and I am the Assistant Fire Marshal for the Virginia Beach Fire Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

Matthew Gallina

Assistant Fire Marshal

Virginia Beach Fire Department

ments here. You are limited to approximately 3000 words.


6/27/18  1:56 pm
Commenter: Deidra Peterson Virginnia Beach Fire Department

Virginia Fire Prevention Code Updates
 

 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Deidra Peterson and I am the Assistant Fire Marshal for the Virginia Beach Fire Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

Deidra Peterson

Assistant Fire Marshal

Virginia Beach Fire Department

 


6/27/18  2:27 pm
Commenter: Donald Moss Virginia Beach Fire Department

Virginia Fire Prevention Code Updates
 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the updates to the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. My name is Donald Moss and I am the Assistant Fire Marshal for the Virginia Beach Fire Department. As an advocate for the safety of all Virginians, I would like to add my name to the comments made by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.

 

Sincerely,

Donald Moss

Assistant Fire Marshal

Virginia Beach Fire Department