Boy, I have been getting a rash of I-2.1 projects lately and am still learning mostly from this site all about them. I have a client who wants to put a 6,000 sq.ft. I-2.1 facility into an existing 2-story 32K sq.ft. Type VB building. To add to the complication he wants it on the 2nd floor Frown I personally don't see how it would be possible per the following reasons

1. The 3 hour fire separation requirement. I don't see how we would can achieve this. The floor system is conc over plywood over TJI's and I cannot find a 3-hr assembly for TJI's. I have never used spray-on fire protection, is that possible?
2. The building would have to be upgraded to type VA and since the building is sprinklered we could add an additional story to get the I-2.1 to the 2nd floor. But changing an existing building from a B to an A that is 75% occupied seems impossible to me

My partner asked if I would ask the group if there was a way that I was missing. If anyone sees a way that I am missing, please let me know. Thanks again everyone for your help.


Original Post
It's not possible to design an I-2.1 occupancy without being minimum VA construction. VB is not permitted per Table 503.

Being SFM-regulated occupancy, watch out for limitations in Sections 504, 506.3, 506.4, etc.

If located on the second floor, you will need minimum VA construction plus using the sprinkler system (NFPA 13) for allowable story increase...but watch for limitations in Section 504.2.

Notice that for the I-2.1 to be located on the second floor and without using the sprinkler system to pick up the extra story, you will need to be minimum Type II-A construction.

See also this discussion regarding construction of I-2.1 occupancies:
I forgot to say thanks needtolearn.....thanks! I had come to the same conclusion. After another look at the building I realized that ALL the exterior walls were concrete tilt-up so I could go with a type IIIA and use footnote f in table 601 to remove the 1-hr requirement.

As far as the 3-hr assembly, there is no such approved assembly with wood floor trusses. So, I have ask the BO if he would approve a 2-hr floor/ceiling assembly, put the I-2.1 on the first floor and have exits directly to the exterior from that space. My arguement is that fire burns much more slowly moving down verus moving up. Since the 3-hr assembly is to protect the I-2.1 and not the surrounding occupancies I feel this would not reduce the protection of the I-2.1 occupants since the I-2.1 would be on the 1st floor. Now, I could be wrong and I am sure folks on this forum will be the first to point this out. Which I am open to hear and encourage.
A key to look at is the intent of the code section dealing with a I2.1
Just like in previous versions of the CBC you can't use a required element to gain in height or lesson fire rating. You can't use sprinklers to gain a story since they are required in a I-2.1
Section 504.2, exception #1 notes "I-2" and I-2.1 is included under that.
We have done over 100 I-2.1 (I-1.2 under the older code) projects and OSHPD directly told us that this exception covers all I-2 occupancies (includes I-2.1) since they are already required to have sprinklers per their use.
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