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Thread: Maximum Occupancy - Fire Code

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    105

    Maximum Occupancy - Fire Code

    I think my dream just went up in (virtual) smoke.
    Been making plans to convert existing building into a nightclub, with possiblity for large gatherings (main room has capacity for 500+ guests).
    Just learned that in New York State, venues with occupancy over 100, or greater than 5000 square feet, must have (very expensive) sprinkler system installed throughout building.

    Wondering what your occupancy # is, and whether you have sprinkler system.

    "the oldest guy at your party"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    massachusetts
    Posts
    1,272

    sprinkler

    welcome to the wonderful world of post- RI nightclub fire. as you probably remember there was a very deadly fire a few years ago with the band great white at the station nightclub. this changed the club business forever. in massachusetts (and ny as you found out) they require sprinklers now for anything over a 99 person capacity. i know in Ma that there is NO grand father clause and you needed to have it done last year. it put alot of guys out of business because it was too expensive or landlords would not do it.

    all you can do is jump back in your car and find a new place that has them already. there are places out there.
    www.thesaltydog.net

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Central,NJ
    Posts
    378
    Ministry is right !!we had to do our place in NJ and l think is a requirement all over USA if l am not mistaken!!Occupancy is 150 in my place,it cost 35k for 3 floors.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    655
    Yeah, the Great White thing sucked.

    Some places / states may let you get away with the "grandfather" clause but if you're starting a new place in a facility, you will more than likely have to have some sort of sprinkler system.

    Yes, it sucks but that's life. It is a safety issue and that's that. Like I said, some states or cities may allow you to get away with it if it's grandfathered in but more than likely not. You will have to do the research to find out if your city allows an existing place to go without it or not and based on the "useage" desire. This is the main thing.

    And by the way, why do you think that a lot of bar / restaurants close down? Just because you see a few that "appear" busy doesn't mean there aren't 2 or 3 closing down the next day or week. This business is tough for many reasons so do your searches on here and get your questions answererd BEFOREHAND!!!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    105
    Update -
    After months of conversations, my local Code Enforcement Officer (he is also the Zoning Enforcement Officer) delivered a "preliminary" C of O for the front portion of the building where the bar is to be located. It has an Occupancy Load of 295 people. Amazing

    Just handed in the paperwork for the main room, and based on his current thinking, I should get an Occupancy Load of 500+.

    "the oldest guy at your party"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    35
    In our city, you can't get over 299 capacity without sprinklers.

    Sprinklers are expensive. We converted warehouse/office to event facility, and negotiated with landlord to put in sprinkler system (I think $50,000+). We have capacity of 550 for 5,500 sf facility now. Was under 100 before the "conversion." [The conversion, except for the sprinklers and some exit signage and doors and parking requirements, was on paper only--we didn't actually have to do anything else.]

    From what I have seen, this is the biggest hurdle many budding young entrepeneurs have, who think they found the perfect warehouse to open and get licensed to sell alcohol. It also continues to perpetuate a flourishing underground warehouse scene of huge parties in buildings without sprinklers.....
    Find YOUR Center .. at Spring4th Center, Atlanta's Alternative Event Venue. www.spring4th.com

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