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General Laws

Section 26G1/2. For the purpose of this section the term “adequate system of automatic sprinklers” shall include: (1) a working automatic sprinkler system; (2) fire alarm system control equipment which provides notice of an emergency within a place of assembly; and (3) adequate monitoring of and reporting of any activation of the automatic sprinkler system and fire alarm equipment, in accordance with the state building code in effect at the time of the installation of such system and equipment.

Every building or structure, or portions thereof, of public assembly, with a capacity of 100 persons or more, that is designed or used for occupancy as a nightclub, dance hall, discotheque, bar, or for similar entertainment purposes, including all rooms, lobbies, and other spaces connected thereto and all means of egress and entrances, including any such public assembly located within a mixed use building or structure, including a building or structure owned or controlled by the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof, (a) which is existing, or (b) for which an approved building permit was issued before December 1, 2004, shall be protected throughout with an adequate system of automatic sprinklers, in accordance with the state building code.

Any owner of a business designed or used for occupancy as a nightclub, dance hall, discotheque, bar or for similar entertainment purposes to which the second paragraph does not apply shall install a system of automatic sprinklers within the building or structure in accordance with the state building code if the business: (1) violates the maximum capacity for such building or structure, as established by a duly recognized inspector of buildings, building commissioner or local inspector of a city, town or district or other duly recognized local inspector or inspector, as provided in chapter 143, 2 or more times during a 12-month period; or (2) violates the maximum capacity of such building or structure by a number greater than 1/2 of such maximum capacity as established by a duly recognized inspector of buildings, building commissioner or local inspector of a city, town or district or other duly recognized local inspector or inspector, as provided in chapter 143. Any owner of a building or structure required to install automatic sprinklers as a result of a violation of this paragraph shall do so within 1 year of being cited for such violation, and shall be responsible for the full costs of installation. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, any business owner cited for violating the maximum capacity for his place of business shall be subject to a $10,000 fine for a first or second offense. A third such offense shall result in the business owner losing his license to operate in the commonwealth, and all food, entertainment and other licenses associated with his business. This paragraph shall be enforced by a duly recognized inspector of buildings, building commissioner or local inspector of a city, town or district or other duly recognized local inspector as provided in chapter 143, or any state official with concurrent jurisdiction.

This section shall not apply to a place of assembly within a building, structure or portions thereof used principally as a house of worship, restaurant, lecture hall, auditorium, state or local government building, educational function facility, or other similar place of assembly. Temporary use of such a building or structure or portions thereof as a nightclub, dance hall, discotheque, bar or for similar entertainment purposes, may be allowed if a permit is issued for such use by the head of the fire department in consultation with the local building inspector or inspector who may set the terms and conditions to protect against fire and preserve public safety.

Whoever is aggrieved by an interpretation, order, requirement or direction of the head of the fire department under this section, or, whoever is aggrieved by a failure of the head of the fire department to take action under this section, may, within 45 days after the service of notice of such interpretation, order, requirement or direction, or, after 45 days of such failure to act, appeal from such interpretation, order, requirement, direction or failure to act to the automatic sprinkler appeals board as provided in section 201 of chapter 6.

The cost of installing an adequate system of automatic sprinklers pursuant to this section shall be borne in its entirety by the owner of the building or structure.

Except as provided in the third paragraph, the head of the fire department shall enforce this section.

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