New York State has adopted a rule that amends the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code by adding provisions requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detection in all new and existing commercial buildings that have appliances, devices or systems that may emit carbon monoxide, or an attached garage.
School facilities are included in the definition of commercial buildings. The emergency rule became effective on June 27, 2015 and has been proposed for adoption as a permanent measure. The complete rule text is available on the NYS Department of State website under Building Standards and Codes. The direct link is: www.dos.ny.gov/DCEA/pdf/TEXTCO_20150602.pdf.
In general the rule will apply to all occupiable buildings in a school district/BOCES that contain equipment, or systems that may emit products of combustion, including exterior fuel fired heating, ventilating equipment. Buildings include, but are not limited to school buildings, administrative buildings, bus maintenance facilities, concession stands, and field houses. The rule includes a definition of detection zones, and specifically states that every classroom is a detection zone. Therefore, at a minimum, every classroom with a carbon monoxide source will require carbon monoxide alarms or detection systems.
Examples of carbon monoxide sources found in school district buildings include, but are not limited to the following:
The rule includes a transition period for existing commercial buildings. For the purposes of the rule, a commercial building will be considered to be an existing commercial building if it was constructed prior to December 31, 2015, or if a complete application for the building permit for its initial construction was filed on or before December 31, 2015. The transition period applies only to existing commercial buildings. New commercial buildings will be required to have carbon monoxide detection that complies with the rule, even if construction of the new commercial building is completed prior to the end of the transition period.
The transition period for existing commercial buildings runs from June 27, 2015 to June 27, 2016.
During the transition period, owners of existing commercial buildings are encouraged to install carbon monoxide detection as quickly as practicable. In addition, during the transition period, the owner of an existing commercial building (school district or BOCES) will not be deemed to be in violation of the rule if the owner provides the authority having jurisdiction (New York State Education Department) with a written statement certifying that such owner is attempting in good faith to install carbon monoxide detection that complies with the requirements of the rule in such owner’s existing commercial building as quickly as practicable.
Please note that the transition period provisions do not allow the owner of an existing commercial building to do nothing during the transition period. Carbon monoxide detection that satisfies the requirements of the rule must be installed and must be fully operational in all existing commercial buildings by the end of the transition period.
A short Survey Monkey tool has been developed to satisfy the written certification statement. This can be used during the transition period and may be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MPNWKBG. Unless the school district’s buildings are currently in compliance with the requirements of the rule, SED encourages school districts to complete the certification statement.
Project submissions to SED for work in an existing building during the transition period shall include either a design for carbon monoxide detection for the building that complies with the requirements of the rule or a written statement from the school district Superintendent certifying that the school district is attempting in good faith to install carbon monoxide detection that complies with the requirements of the rule in the school district’s existing commercial building as quickly as practicable.
Building permits will be required, and State building aid will be available for the capital work that is required in order to achieve compliance with the requirements of the rule, provided that a minimum of $10,000 in project costs are incurred. Individual building project submissions to SED may be submitted as a District Wide project to help ensure that the minimum cost of $10,000 is achieved.
Districts may fund projects through existing maintenance and operational budgets, transfer to capital, $100,000 annual capital outlay projects, or emergency projects. Emergency projects will be allowed due to the fact that budgeting for these required life safety projects in next year’s annual budget will not allow enough time for projects to be installed by the end of the transition period on June 27th, 2016. Please recall that capital outlay projects and emergency projects will be reimbursed in the following aid year. There is likely insufficient time for compliance if a district wished to include costs in an upcoming referendum.
SED is currently considering changes to various required forms such as the Fire Safety Report, and Building Condition Survey, in order to verify compliance with the rule.
SED is also developing specific guidance on where to install CO detection and how to comply with the regulation. This guidance will be provided as soon as possible. For additional information, please see: www.dos.ny.gov/DCEA/noticadopt.html#COAlarm