The building code consultants at Harrington Group helped our client to achieve a variance to certain code requirements related to smoke and heat venting. Through active partnership with the client, we successfully negotiated approval to reduce the code requirements, resulting in a cost savings of approximately $200,000.

The structure is a one-story speculative building built of non-combustible construction covering 150,000 square feet. Multiple tenants will occupy the building, which is sprinklered using ESFR suppression-mode technology. The building code required 90 smoke and heat vents at a cost of $250,000.

After performing fire and egress computer modeling to predict the impact of heat and smoke on building occupants and emergency responders, our building code consultants submitted a report to local building and fire officials. This report provided engineering justification for a relaxation of the code requirements.

Harrington Group then assisted our client in negotiating with local officials for acceptance of a reasonable and cost effective alternative solution. We helped prepare a formal submittal to the Board of Appeals, attended the appeal hearing, and presented the alternative solution and the engineering justifications for it. The Board approved the appeal, which allowed the client to utilize our alternative solution at a cost of only $30,000. This represents a savings for the client of over $200,000.

Another very important benefit was achieved for our client during the negotiation process. The appeal was never adversarial, but was approached and executed so that both parties would win and the safety objectives inherent in the code would be satisfied. This approach resulted in a strong, trusting relationship between our client and local officials. This will provide future value to our client as they construct more buildings in this same jurisdiction.

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Value Delivered

Our building code consultants negotiated a substantial reduction in code requirements, preserving the inherent safety objectives while delivering a cost savings of approximately $200,000 to our client.

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.