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Sprinklering of Office Buildings by July 2019 – How to comply with Local Law 26 (LL 26)

Welcome to Part 2 of our 4-part series on the Fire Protection requirements of New York City Local Law 26 (LL 26) of 2004.

In this part, we focus on IMPLEMENTATION of the fire sprinkler work associated with LL 26 of 2004 compliance, including construction considerations and New York City Dept. of Buildings filing information.

So, you have learned that your building meets the criteria outlined in LL 26 of 2004 which dictates that a full, automatic fire sprinkler system is required to be installed, tested, and inspected by July 1, 2019.

Now what?…

STEP#1: HIRE a Professional Engineer
For buildings equipped with partial sprinkler systems or if you’re building is already fully sprinklered, a professional engineer competent in fire protection design, including expert understanding of NFPA 13, should be retained to survey the building in its entirety. Upon completion of this survey, the engineer should inform the building owner as to whether or not the building can be certified as fully sprinklered.

STEP#2: FILE the Sprinkler Report
One must be aware of the remaining Filing Deadlines:

1)    14-year Sprinkler Report
To be filed no earlier than January 1, 2018 and no later than July 1, 2018

Such fourteen year report shall contain a certification by an architect or engineer of the percentage of the building in which sprinklers have been installed as of the date of such report and an implementation plan, prepared by such architect or engineer detailing when and how the remaining portions of the building will be made fully compliant

*IMPORTANT TIP – Failure to file timely affidavits and reports will jeopardize the ability of the owner (or the owner’s successor) to claim a hardship extension of time to comply with the July 1, 2019, deadline

2)    FINAL Sprinkler Report
To be filed no later than July 1, 2019

Such final report shall contain a certification by an architect or engineer that the building is fully compliant.

*CLARIFICATION – The final report can be filed earlier and also satisfy the 14-year report requirement.
i.e. if your building is fully compliant in February 2018, you can file your final report then and forego the 14-year Sprinkler Report.

STEP#3: IMPLEMENT the Plan Developed by the Engineer
Providing a new automatic sprinkler system in an existing building may be quite the challenge.
We recommend the following tips to ensure that installation of an automatic sprinkler system in your building runs as smoothly as possible:

  1. Plan, plan, plan!
    For a brand new building, the automatic sprinkler system design can be coordinated prior to commencement of construction with building structure, new ceiling assembly, new HVAC equipment/ductwork, new light fixtures, etc. However, when an automatic sprinkler system is to be provided in an existing building, the system must be coordinated around existing conditions. We recommend that the sprinkler system design be coordinated around these existing conditions as much as possible to limit conflicts during construction and architectural modifications. This includes comprehensive surveying by the engineer as well as production of detailed and fully-coordinated shop drawings by the contractor.
  1. Budget and schedule overtime work, as necessary.
    Most likely, installation of an automatic sprinkler system in an existing building must take place outside of normal business hours. This cost should be accounted for prior to execution of the installer’s contract.
  1. Incorporate into Tenant Fit Outs
    If an Owner knows there are tenant fit out projects occurring before the July 1, 2019 deadline, those spaces should be provided with sprinkler distribution when these renovations occur since a total renovation project is the best time to implement sprinkler piping installations.
    Buildings that have not yet installed a base building sprinkler system should still be incorporating sprinkler distribution in all tenant fit out projects. This piping will be dry until it can connect to the base building wet system. Therefore, sprinkler heads cannot be installed, but the piping can be left above the ceiling, capped for future connection. Once the system is energized and wet, the heads would then be installed.

 

*IMPORTANT NOTE
It is not too late to start your full building sprinkler implementation project, but time is running out.
EP ENGINEERING provides building-wide sprinkler design and project management for multiple building owners seeking Local law 26 compliance across NYC.

Contact us today to discuss your Local Law 26 (LL 26) requirements and get your full building sprinkler implementation project on track.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this 4-part newsletter, where we’ll provide expert answers to SPRINKLER DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS of LL 26 of 2004.

For your reference, the full body of Local Law 26 (LL 26) can be accessed here.

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Kwok Yim, Queens Library

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Joshua Turman, Real Estate Manager, Princeton Properties

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