Thank you for visiting our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you do not see the answer to your question, please contact us with your question.
HFC = Houston Fire Code
HBC = Houston Building Code
HFS = Houston Fire Department Life Safety Bureau Standards
I am a consultant working on a high-rise project, does your team provide guidance on fire protection systems for plans?
The Houston High-rise Fire & Life Safety Team performs inspections on existing high-rise buildings. The Fire Marshal’s Office Plan Review Team reviews plans for fire alarm and standpipes and provides inspections for fire alarm, sprinkler and standpipe systems. The team does not perform plans review of sprinkler systems, only field inspections. The Plan Review Team may be contacted at 832-394-8853.
If you have questions concerning fire sprinkler systems, please contact the Houston Permitting Center to speak with the Fire Protection Engineer at 832-394-8810 or visit their website at https://www.houstonpermittingcenter.org/ and go to their services page.
Can you help me figure out which code was used for a specific building and year?
Please use the following links below to see the history of Houston building and fire codes.
City of Houston Code Adoption History
Is the electronic lock override switch required in the Fire Command Center? The electronic locks are already subordinate to the fire alarm.
Yes, the override switch is still required.
2012 IBC – 403.5.3 Stairway door operation. Stairway doors other than the exit discharge doors shall be permitted to be locked from the stairway side. Stairway doors that are locked from the stairway side shall be capable of being unlocked simultaneously without unlatching upon a signal from the fire command center.
Are elevator pictorial signs required in parking garage elevator lobbies?
[B] 607.2 Emergency signs. An approved pictorial sign of a standardized design shall be posted adjacent to each elevator call station on all floors instructing occupants to use the exit stairways and not to use the elevators in case of fire. The sign shall read:
IN FIRE EMERGENCY, DO NOT USE ELEVATOR. USE EXIT STAIRS.
- The emergency sign shall not be required for elevators that are part of an accessible means of egress complying with Section 1007.4.
- The emergency sign shall not be required for elevators that are used for occupant self-evacuation in accordance with Section 3008 of the International
Is my stairway side signage required to state re-entry if it is unlocked?
NO. Re-entry is assumed and only “No Re-entry” information is required for doors that are locked. See option B for unrestricted re-entry.
H103.5 Reentry. Where stairway doors are locked from the stairway side to prohibit reentry to a floor, “NO REENTRY” shall be placed under the lower and upper terminus designation in 1-inch (25 mm) high block lettering. Additionally, the nearest floor above and below where a person can reenter from the stairway shall be placed at the bottom of the sign in 1-inch (25 mm) high block lettering.
I have a maglock on my stairway doors, can I remove the latch?
HFC2012 703.2.3 Door operation. Swinging fire doors shall close from the full-open position and latch automatically. The door closer shall exert enough force to close and latch the door from any partially open position.
HBC2012 403.5.3 Stairway door operation. Stairway doors other than the exit discharge doors shall be permitted to be locked from the stairway side. Stairway doors that are locked from the stairway side shall be capable of being unlocked simultaneously without unlatching upon a signal from the fire command center.
Where do I go for high-rise building fire warden training?
There are four options for high-rise building Fire Warden training. Currently, only 2 are available at this time.
- A monthly open high-rise certification seminar for buildings that have requested to send a limited number of fire wardens and building management employees to a class that is open to all high-rise buildings. The class information is not specific to any particular building and requires building management to supplement the training with their building specifics. (Currently canceled due to COVID-19)
- A Fire Inspector/Instructor with the Life Safety Bureau’s High-rise Fire and Life Safety Team may be obtained to provide training outside his/her regular work hours on an overtime basis. This may be done by contacting Diana Cardenas by e-mail at email@example.com. This should be done prior to payment of a required permit fee so that an instructor can be assigned to make contact with the requesting party, to assist the requesting party with information on the application for over-time training and payment of the permit fees, and to schedule a mutually convenient training date.A City of Houston permit fee is required to schedule an inspector/instructor. (Currently canceled due to COVID-19)
- The Fire Marshal has authorized an online Fire Warden Training course to be provided for free due to COVID-19. The online course information is not specific to any particular building and requires building management to supplement the training with their building specifics. You may click on the “Courses” menu tab above to access the course or the link below.High-rise Fire Warden Certification
- Having a City of Houston Fire Marshal approved consultant perform the training. The process to receive an approved Fire Safety Plan consist of the three following essential training elements conducted by persons, institutions or companies approved by the Fire Marshal according to regulations established by the Fire Marshal: a consultation with building management, an approved certification training for Fire Wardens and building employees, and a fire drill supervised by persons, institutions or companies approved by the Fire Marshal.
How long is my Fire Warden training certificate good for?
Upon completion of a class or online course, the certificate shall be considered valid for a period of five (5) years from that date.
Where can I find testing requirements for Fire Protection and Life Safety Equipment in High-rise Buildings?
Houston Fire Department LSB Standard 02 – Inspection and Testing of Fire Protection and Life-Safety Equipment