Significant Changes to Illinois Life Safety Code Proposed

Recently, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal has proposed through administrative rules to update the statewide fire prevention and safety standard from the currently-adopted NFPA Life Safety Code 2000 Edition to the latest published 2012 edition.
According to the State Fire Marshal, “while the 2000 and 2012 editions of the Life Safety Code are generally similar, some major differences do exist.” One such difference is the mandate for fire sprinkler systems to be installed in all new single family homes, any single family home where renovation work exceeds 50%, all pre-1975 high-rise residential buildings, and all places with assembly seating over 700 SF including places of worship.
It goes without saying that these new guidelines would bring both improvements in fire safety as well as substantial cost to multi-tenant building owners and operators as well as individual homeowners.
Because this rules change is filed with the Illinois Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), the changes are not required to be heard by the full State Legislature. Instead, the twelve members of the JCAR alone will have the final votes on the adoption of proposed changes. According to the JCAR’s fact sheet, “public comment is vital to the JCAR review process. Frequently, it is only through this comment that the Committee fully recognizes the effect of a rule on the individual, business, or local government that has to adhere to it on a daily basis.”
13th District Representative Greg Harris announced last week that he, along with Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Sen. Heather Steans, Ald. Joe Moore, Ald. Harry Osterman, Ald. James Cappleman, and representatives from the Chicago Fire Department will be hosting a town hall meeting TODAY, Wednesday 31, at 6:30 p.m. to help answer questions about this proposed rule and discuss the current fire safety laws and Chicago Life Safety Ordinances. More information on the town hall meeting can be found at Rep. Greg Harris’ Website.
We encourage to you reach out and make your opinion on this issue known. For a list of JCAR members and their contact information, click here. All letters, faxes, and calls to members of the JCAR committee must be placed by August 12th, 2013, when the comment period on this issue closes.