Fire Safety Codes in the Office

Fire Safety Codes for Office Planning

Preparation is key when planning your office space.  There are many behind the scene steps that have to do with safety codes, so it is important to work with an engineer to ensure you have an office space that complies with all of the codes.  In this part of the Cubicle Dictionary series, we will be discussing the safety codes to keep in mind when planning your workspace for cubicles. Building codes are the government’s official statement on building safety.  Safety codes cover a range of topics including fire, structural, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical construction.

Below are some fire safety codes to keep in mind for your office:

  • Minimum walkway is 3’-6” but it is suggested to have 4’-0”
  • Minimum ADA walkway required is 4’-0” but it is suggested to have 5’-0” to allow room for a wheelchair to turn around.
  • ADA is the American Disabilities Act and the building regulations created to support those with disabilities
  • Between stations, it is required to have at a minimum 6’-0” to allow enough room for each employee to work comfortably and room for someone to pass.
  • Dead end corridor laws require a hallway for every 20’-0” so each occupant can exit easily in an emergency. (Imagine being the worker in the corner of an office & the fire alarm goes off.  If you had to travel more than 20’-0” to a hallway or means of egress, you may not make it out safely)
  • Minimum space required to work is 3’-0” but it is suggested to have at least 4’-0”. Think of the size of a task chair. It is a minimum of 1’-6” and then imagine trying to sit down and work comfortably at a station smaller than 3’-0”.

What is “Means of Egress”?

  • A continuous & unobstructed way of exit travel from any point in a building or structure to a public way & consists of three separate and distinct parts.
  • In the design world, the amount of these are determined by the occupancy number for the space. More exits would be required for spaces holding 100 people then spaces holding 5 people.  It is the goal to have all occupants exit quickly and safely in an emergency.

It is important to note that some cities such as New York and Philadelphia sometimes have stricter laws because of the age of their buildings.  This is to help occupants exit more quickly as they feel the buildings may burn more quickly than that of new construction.  We are not experts in building codes at FastCubes, and we strongly suggest consulting a professional before making any decisions or purchases.

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