AHJ Concessions With Hard Deadlines
Projects don’t always go as planned. Sometimes, they require last minute changes or approvals that were unforeseeable in the planning stages. In the tough times when meeting a deadline is critical, you find out who you can rely on for help. In November, we used our fire protection consulting expertise to meet one such deadline and save our client several million dollars in potential new sales revenue.
Harrington Group was approached by representatives of a large auto manufacturing company that was facing a strict deadline only 30 days away with several million dollars in new sales value depending on it. Under construction was a 125,000 square foot addition to an existing 800,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant. It was essential that the first several bays of the new addition receive a temporary certificate of occupancy by the deadline so it could be used for shipping product in a manner that could not otherwise be accomplished. The factory, enlarged by the new addition, required a maximum egress travel distance of 500 feet, whereas the building code in effect allowed a maximum of only 400 feet.
By the time we were approached, another design firm had tried and failed to reach an agreement with the building and fire departments (AHJs) to allow up to 500 feet of egress travel distance. The AHJs advised that a registered fire protection engineer should be engaged to perform the necessary analytical work to justify the travel distance increase required for this facility.
Harrington Group’s Solution
Harrington Group’s fire protection consultants had less than 30 days to analyze the fire and life safety aspects of this facility, including the on-site field work, meeting with the AHJs, building and fire code analysis, computer-based fire and smoke modeling, egress time calculations, and preparation of the report.
Jeff Harrington performed the field work, met with the AHJs, and as the licensed fire protection engineer in the specific jurisdiction was in responsible charge of the engineering analysis and report preparation. Mr. Harrington teamed with Tina Dannaker (one of HGI’s senior fire protection engineers) to help complete many of the tasks related to code analysis, fire modeling, egress calculations and report writing. We submitted our report to the AHJ on time, and in turn, the AHJ approved our request to allow up to 500 feet for egress travel in time for the automaker to meet its sales obligations in full.
Harrington Group succeeded where another design firm had failed because fire protection engineering is our expertise, as are the special areas of code analysis, computer fire modeling, and egress time analysis. The unforeseeable obstacles building owners and operators encounter can cost millions, but when it comes to fire protection consulting services, they can count on us to meet a challenging deadline and preserve important capital dollars or capture opportunities for new sales volume.
By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.