Q: We are renovating a smoke compartment in an existing health care building. There is no change of use or occupancy, should we apply the existing requirements for hazardous rooms? The building is fully sprinkler protected.

A: This is usually an issue where the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) would offer a decision. Since you are saying you are renovating a smoke compartment, this could mean different things. Are you just doing cosmetic changes like new wallpaper and new carpets? If so, then you do not have to meet new construction requirements. Or are you taking down ceilings, moving walls, and upgrading mechanicals? If it is the latter, then new construction requirements would need to be accomplished in accordance with Chapter 18. This includes making everything meet new construction requirements, including medical gas systems, nurse call systems, fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems, emergency power systems and HVAC pressure differential rates and air changes per hour.

I do not know which state you are in, but most states have a department that monitors hospital construction and they usually want plans and specifications of all renovations sent to them for review and approval prior to starting the renovation.

Chapter 43 is a new chapter for the 2012 Life Safety Code on building renovation. Section states newly constructed elements, components, and systems must comply with the requirements of the new construction occupancy chapter.