SECTION 1. Chapter 143 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following new section:-
Section 3A 1/2. Automatic sprinkler systems required for buildings and structures totaling more than 7,500 gross square feet
Every building or structure, including any additions or major alterations thereto, which totals, in the aggregate, more than 7,500 gross square feet in floor area shall be protected throughout with an adequate system of automatic sprinklers in accordance with the provisions of the state building code. No such sprinkler system shall be required unless sufficient water and water pressure exists. For purposes of this section, the gross square footage of a building or structure shall include the sum total of the combined floor areas for all floor levels, basements, sub-basements and additions, in the aggregate, measured from the outside walls, irrespective of the existence of interior fire resistive walls, floors and ceilings. This section shall not apply to buildings used for agricultural purposes as defined in section 1A of chapter 128.
In such buildings or structures, or in certain areas of such buildings or structures, where the discharge of water would be an actual danger in the event of fire, the inspector of buildings or building commissioner shall permit the installation of such other fire suppressant systems as are prescribed by the state building code in lieu of automatic sprinklers. Automatic suppressant or sprinkler systems shall not be required in rooms or areas of a telephone central office equipment building when such rooms or areas are protected with an automatic fire alarm system. Sprinkler systems shall not be required in open-air parking structures, defined as: buildings, structures, or portions thereof, used for parking motor vehicles and having not less than twenty-five per cent of the total wall area open to atmosphere at each level, utilizing at least two sides of the structure. This section shall not apply to buildings or additions used for residential purposes.
The inspector of buildings or building commissioner shall enforce the provisions of this section.
Whoever is aggrieved by the inspector of buildings or building commissioner’s interpretation, order, requirement, direction or failure to act under the provisions of this section, may, within forty-five days after the service of notice thereof, appeal from such interpretation, order, requirement, direction or failure to act to the building code appeals board as provided in section one hundred of chapter one hundred and forty three. The board may grant a reasonable waiver from the provisions of this section, or may allow the installation of a reasonable alternative or modified system of automatic sprinklers upon reviewing the characteristics of buildings that have architectural or historical significance.
SECTION 2. Section 26G of Chapter 148 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.
SECTION 3. Section 201 of Chapter 6 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 6, the words “and twenty-six G of chapter one hundred and forty-eight”.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect on January 1, 2016.
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