Choosing to expand a commercial structure will require that the premises are inspected and that all of the modifications meet with county codes and regulations. Fire protection is one of the areas addressed during the pre-planning phase. During your initial consultation with a fire protection engineer, address the type of upgrade that will be performed and inquire about fire suppression system upgrades or installations that will be needed.
Outline The Expansion
Fire protection involves having an operable suppression system onsite, supplying occupants of your building with plenty of ventilation, and furnishing adequate entryways and exits. If you have a diagram of your building, an engineer will be able to envision where an expansion is being conducted and any obstacles that could interfere with safety.
There may be variables that you haven't considered that will make an existing area within your business potentially dangerous. For instance, your expansion may block off a current emergency exit or make it difficult to access.
Each detail that could pose a problem could draw out the length of time that it will take to complete an expansion and you may need to invest more money than anticipated, due to needing to make some changes to your initial expansion plan. This could involve the need for extra building materials. A fire protection engineer may offer some suggestions that will help keep your expansion project within budget and that will ensure that your building stays within the fire safety guidelines that are imposed in the state where your business is located.
Inquire About Fire Suppression Needs
Dry chemical, foam, sprinkler, and gaseous suppression systems can be used to put out fires. Sprinkler systems are the most common type of suppression system. The layout of an existing system may be indicative of whether extension pieces can be added to the system or if a separate system will need to be installed in the area where an addition is being built.
Inquire about the type of work that will need to be performed, including the amount of downtime that you can expect to incur. While modifications or new installations are being performed, you may need to temporarily halt business operations.
Additionally, ask the engineer about the required number of fire extinguishers that you should have in your building. An engineer can aid with mapping out areas in your building where extinguishers should be located and recommending alarm products that will notify the occupants of your building of a live fire that will require that the premises are exited.
Reach out to a local fire protection design service to learn more.