New fire code addresses residential, commercial issues |

New fire code addresses residential, commercial issues

The new 2003 International Fire Code has a few new twists for homeowners and commercial properties. The Garfield County Commissioners adopted the code earlier this year.Under the new code, homeowners can’t stack firewood against a house. Also, any commercial building in excess of 7,500 square feet requires sprinkler systems. Previously, the county did not have any size threshold for sprinklers, said county building inspector Andy Schwaller.”The fire code is pretty far-reaching. It talks about access roads, the number of hydrants (required in subdivisions),” he said. People won’t be able to have big stacks of brush near their homes in the heat of the summer.”That’s the confusing thing about the fire code; Mother Nature has been pulled into the mix,” he said.Schwaller also recommended that anyone renting a tent or canopy for a wedding or a big party get a permit from the local fire district. In any case, it’s a good idea to call the fire district and find out the criteria for a permit, which might prohibit cooking inside the tent or canopy, Schwaller said.Another important issue is “proper addressing of residences. A certain segment of the population doesn’t want to be found,” he said. But houses with no numbers on the front can be a problem for ambulances or UPS. Those numbers are now required under the new fire code.The county building and planning department is responsible for making sure the new fire code is followed, but that won’t be an easy task.Enforcement will be “complaint-oriented,” said building and planning director Mark Bean. “We will not check every house. We don’t have the manpower for it.” However, fire code enforcement will also come into play when the county routinely inspects such projects as remodels.

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