Firefighting, Structural Firefighting, Systems

Alteration Projects in Occupied High-Rise Buildings

Issue 1 and Volume 168.

BY JACK J. MURPHY Over the life of a high-rise building, an existing structure may undergo major alterations/renovations for one or more floors while the remaining occupancy floors conduct normal business. New Jersey regulations describe an alteration reconstruction project as any work that reduces the load-bearing capacity of or that imposes additional loads on a primary structural component. A renovation project is the removal and replacement of existing interior or exterior finish, trim, doors, windows, or other materials with new materials that do not change the configuration of space. These high-rise alteration/renovation projects present a challenge to firefighters, particularly when fire protection systems (FPSs) may be isolated on the construction floors or they are a part of the building FPS while the building is still occupied. A stairwell or elevator hoistway may be upgraded or removed (photo 1) and relocated during various construction phases. Relay these transportation mode alterations regularly…

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