Different Construction Types

Q: What is the allowed distance a non-sprinkled stick-built building can be located beside a hospital?

 A: Your question encompasses a couple of different issues. When you say “stick-built” building, I think of wood frame construction, which is Construction Type V (000) in accordance with the Life Safety Code and NFPA 220. Construction Type V (000) is not permitted in healthcare occupancies unless the hospital is only one story and is fully sprinklered. So, let’s assume your hospital is more than one story and is at least Construction Type II (222), which is non-combustible construction with beams, columns, joists and floors fire rated at 2-hours. If you have an adjoining wood-frame building with Construction Type V (000), then it must be separated from the healthcare occupancy with a 2-hour fire rated barrier. However, there is a caveat with this requirement. If the wood-frame construction building is separated by a minimum of 10 feet and is not-connected to the building containing the healthcare occupancy, then a 2-hour fire rated barrier is not required. This 10-foot gap would act as a fire barrier is one building were to catch on fire. This 10-foot gap is an interpretation based on section 7.2.2.5.2.1 that requires 10-feet of the horizontal exterior of the building wall to be fire-rated where unprotected exterior walls of a stairwell connect to the building at an angle less-than 180 degrees.

Brad Keyes
Brad Keyes, CHSP

Brad is a former advisor to Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) and former Joint Commission LS surveyor. He guides clients through  organizational assessment; management training; ongoing coaching of task groups; and extensive one-on-one coaching of facility leaders. He analyzes and develops leadership effectiveness and efficiency in work processes, focusing on assessing an organization’s preparedness for a survey, evaluating processes in achieving preparedness, and guiding organizations toward compliance. 

As a presenter at national seminars, regional conferences, and audio conferences, Brad teaches the Keyes Life Safety Boot Camp series to various groups and organizations. He is the author or co-author of many HCPro books, including the best-selling  Analyzing the Hospital Life Safety Survey, now in its 3rd edition. Brad has also authored a variety of articles in numerous publications addressing features of life safety and fire protection, as well as white papers and articles on the Building Maintenance Program. Currently serving as the contributing editor of the monthly HCPro newsletter Healthcare Life Safety Compliance  gives Brad further insight into the industry’s trends and best practices.