New Safety Measures for High-Rise Non-Residential Buildings 

Posted on May, 14 2015

As part of the 2014 update to the New York City Construction Codes, new safety measures were incorporated for high-rise non-residential buildings. These safety measures are intended to enhance public safety in new high-rise buildings by providing additional exiting capacity for building occupants during emergency situations that require full building evacuation. These safety recommendations resulted from an extensive study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the World Trade Center disaster. The report recommended several changes to model building codes around the country which includes:

Decrease the time it takes to evacuate an entire building in an emergency;
Increase the ability of first responders to access building occupants;
Provide greater redundancy in escape routes to ensure that should a route become unavailable at any time, there is still adequate capacity to exit or evacuate the building.

These recommendations were incorporated into the 2009 International Building Code and adopted into the NYC Building Code as part of the 2014 NYC Construction Codes. The law stipulates, however, that these safety provisions will only become effective once a text amendment is approved to exempt the space occupied by these features from counting towards zoning floor area.