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Touching Base With the Codes: What’s new in the LSC and IBC?

By Thomas P. Hammerberg | Mar 15, 2024
Touching Base with the Codes
The 2024 editions of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code (LSC) and the International Building Code (IBC) are available for purchase. Most jurisdictions take a few years to update their adopted code editions, but it is always good to keep up on new requirements for the future. 

The 2024 editions of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code (LSC) and the International Building Code (IBC) are available for purchase. Most jurisdictions take a few years to update their adopted code editions, but it is always good to keep up on new requirements for the future. Remember that the two codes are laid out entirely differently, and although most requirements for fire alarm systems are the same, there are some differences. My next two articles will cover changes and updates to both these codes.

Many states do not use the LSC for their general fire alarm requirements, but it is the code enforced by the Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is used for healthcare facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid. They still use the 2012 edition of NFPA 101, so updates to the codes would not apply to them.

Separate parts

Like NFPA 72, NFPA 101 is divided into separate parts. According to the origins section at the beginning of NFPA 101, “Essentially, the code comprises four major parts. The first part consists of chapters 1 through 4, chapters 6 through 11, and Chapter 43; these are often referred to as the base chapters or fundamental chapters. The second part is Chapter 5, which details the performance-based option. The next part consists of chapters 12 through 42, which are the occupancy chapters. The fourth and last part consists of Annex A through Annex D, which contain useful additional information.”

Keep in mind that as new editions are published, the references to other codes and standards are also updated. The 2024 edition of the LSC now references the 2022 NFPA 13 for sprinkler installations and the 2022 NFPA 72 for fire alarm and signaling systems.

Significant changes

Most changes are simply editorial, but here are some significant changes that apply to fire alarm and sprinkler systems. If you use NFPA Link for access to NFPA documents, there are some very good features to help you. For example, if you see the Delta symbol next to a paragraph, you can click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner to view the changes from the previous edition. This can save a lot of time. It also gives users the option to click on a link to enhanced text, which is commentary to explain the requirement’s intent.

Some changes simply tell you to install equipment in accordance with NFPA 72 rather than giving more detailed requirements or providing updated pointers to specific sections of NFPA 101 or other referenced codes or standards. This helps reduce future conflicts between the documents.

Although mostly not new in this edition, there is increased information about carbon monoxide (CO) detection requirements. There are also expanded requirements to provide a risk analysis in multiple occupancies to determine the need for a mass notification system. In addition, mandatory automatic sprinkler system requirements were added for all new parking structures. Language was clarified to state that most sprinkler systems must be electrically supervised instead of just asserting it must be supervised.

CO detection

Many occupancy chapters have added requirements for CO detection and warning equipment for the 2024 edition. The occupancies requiring CO detection and warning equipment are as follows:

  • New assembly occupancies (12.3.4.4)
  • New and existing educational occupancies (14.3.4.4 and 15.3.4.4)
  • New daycare occupancies (16.3.4.5.1, 16.6.3.4.6, 17.3.4.5.1 and 17.6.3.4.6)
  • New and existing healthcare occupancies (18.3.4.6, 18.5.2.3 and 19.5.2.3)
  • New ambulatory healthcare occupancies (20.3.4.5)
  • New and existing detention and correctional occupancies (22.3.4.5 and 23.3.4.5)
  • New and existing one- and two-family dwellings (24.3.4.2)
  • New and existing lodging or rooming houses (26.3.4.6)
  • New and existing hotels and dormitories (28.3.4.7 and 29.3.4.6)
  • New and existing apartment buildings (30.3.4.6 and 31.3.4.6)
  • New residential board and care occupancies (32.2.3.4.4 and 32.3.3.4.9)

Although there are not many specific changes for fire alarm or sprinkler systems in the 2024 edition, it is always a good idea to review upcoming changes before they affect your installations. 

My next article will cover the changes in the 2024 IBC.

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About The Author

HAMMERBERG, SET, CFPS, is an independent fire alarm presenter and consultant in The Villages, Fla. He can be reached at [email protected]

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