UTS 135 Fire and Life Safety

Sec. 1 Purpose

Buildings owned, or leased by The University of Texas System or any of its institutions and used for campus purposes shall comply with the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code 101 (NFPA 101) or, when applicable, Code 101A (NFPA 101A) adopted and enforced by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Texas Department of Insurance, as such codes may be amended or supplanted.

Campus programs and infrastructure shall also comply with the National Fire Protection Association Fire Code (NFPA 1) adopted and enforced by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Texas Department of Insurance, as such codes may be amended or supplanted.

This policy also governs the acquisition of real property with buildings to be used for campus purposes, whether the acquisition of the real property interest is by gift, purchase, or lease, and conversions of buildings that are to be used for campus purposes.

Sec. 2 Principles

The purpose of this policy is to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors and to maintain compliance with the codes and standards adopted by the State Fire Marshal as authorized in Texas Administrative Code Title 28, Section 34.303 and Texas Government Code Section 417.008.

Sec. 3 Requirements

It is the policy of the U. T. System and any of its institutions to ensure that, before the U. T. System uses any building for campus purposes, it is in compliance with the applicable fire and life safety code. Consequently, advance inquiry must be made about the fire and life safety features of any building that the U. T. System or any of its institutions proposes to acquire or to convert for campus purposes. Additionally, this policy requires an assessment of the fire and life safety deficiencies of the building prior to acquisition and a corrective action plan that identifies funding sources for renovations required to remedy life safety deficiencies.

Sec. 4 A Life Safety Assessment Shall be Performed Under the Following Circumstances:

4.1 Acquisition or Conversion of Buildings for Campus Purposes. A Life Safety Assessment shall be performed before a decision is made by an institution to acquire real property that has any building(s) to be used for campus purposes, and before a building owned or leased by the U. T. System or any of its institutions that is not used for campus purposes is converted to a building used for campus purposes.

4.2 Conversion of Building for Different Use. A Life Safety Assessment may need to be performed when an institution proposes to convert a building that is currently used for campus purposes to a different use that is also for campus purposes. The institution’s chief business officer shall consult with the institution staff member responsible for campus safety to determine if a Life Safety Assessment should be performed.

Sec. 5 Information to be Collected

Before deciding whether to acquire or convert a building covered by this policy, the institution’s chief business officer shall direct the institution staff member responsible for campus structures or the institution staff member responsible for campus safety to gather the following preliminary data regarding the building:

  • Last or current occupancy type
  • Historic changes in occupancy
  • Approximate age and general use
  • Special hazards or processes
  • Previous fire history
  • Results of previous fire safety inspections
  • Previous city or jurisdictional code violations
  • Fire safety equipment (original or additional)
  • Functionality and general condition of all fire and life safety features that may be considered inherent to the structure
  • Ten year maintenance record (if available)

Sec. 6 Assessment Checklist

The institution’s staff member may elect to complete the Preliminary Building Risk Assessment Checklist in order to collect some of the preliminary data.

Sec. 7 Decision to Proceed

Such preliminary data will be forwarded to the institution’s chief business officer and the institution staff members responsible for campus structures and safety. If, based upon review of the preliminary data and after consultation with the institution staff members responsible for campus structures and safety, the chief business officer decides to proceed with acquisition or conversion of the building, a Life Safety Assessment shall be performed.

Sec. 8 Who Will Perform Assessment

A Life Safety Assessment must be conducted by a fire protection-engineering firm or by a qualified campus safety staff member, or by the U. T. System property insurance broker Risk Control/Loss Prevention Specialist.  Refer to the Definitions section of this policy for the definitions of qualified campus safety staff member.

Sec. 9 Preparation of Report

The person who conducts the Life Safety Assessment shall prepare and deliver to the chief business officer a written report that notes all deficiencies, if any, that may prevent the building from meeting applicable NFPA 101, NFPA 101A, or NFPA 1 standards.

Sec. 10 Corrective Action

Upon review of the Life Safety Assessment Report, and after consultation with the institution staff members responsible for campus structures and safety, the institution’s chief business officer may decide to abandon the acquisition or conversion, to change to a more compatible use, to demolish the structure, or to continue the assessment of the possible corrective actions and renovations. The continued assessment should take into consideration the actual costs of the corrective actions/renovations, the indirect costs resulting from the delay in use of the building, and the advantages to be gained by the use of the building. The institution staff members responsible for campus structures and safety will be consulted regarding corrective action/renovation matters. In addition, U. T. System Administration’s Office of Facilities Planning and Construction (OFPC) or the institution’s Facilities Planning and Construction group may be consulted regarding corrective action/renovation matters if the corrective action/renovation would be managed by that group.

Sec. 11 Approval of Corrective Action Plan

If the chief business officer elects to acquire or convert a building for which the Life Safety Assessment notes NFPA 101, NFPA 101A, or NFPA 1 deficiencies, the chief business officer shall prepare a plan that outlines when and how all identified NFPA 101, NFPA 101A or NFPA 1 deficiencies will be corrected or a plan to implement alternative fire and life safety measures that are satisfactory to the campus safety department and the State Fire Marshal. The chief business officer shall also establish a budget for the corrective action plan or alternative fire and life safety measures plan.

Sec. 12 Out of State Property

For property whether rented or owned, and located outside the State of Texas and intended to be used for campus purposes, a campus will complete 12.1 or 12.2 in this policy prior to, leasing, purchasing, or occupying a property.

12.1 Ensure the property meets all applicable fire and life safety codes as required in this policy.  OR

12.2 Ensure the property has been issued a certificate of occupancy by the local jurisdiction and inspected under an accepted building or fire code as determined by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office.  Additionally, the campus should review all of the latest inspection and maintenance records for all critical infrastructure (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural) and reports for all life safety systems present on the property and ensure they are all current.  For rented or leased property, inspection reports should be reviewed as required by the applicable local code.

Sec. 13 Residential Property and Apartments

For residential property and apartments that are leased, whether in the State of Texas or outside the state, and intended for use as housing for students, faculty, or staff (including visiting or seasonal students, faculty, or staff), a campus will complete 13.1 or 13.2 in this policy prior to leasing, or occupying a property.

13.1 Ensure the property meets all applicable fire and life safety codes as required in this policy. OR

13.2 Ensure the property has been issued a certificate of occupancy by the local jurisdiction and inspected under an accepted building or fire code as determined by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office.  Additionally, the campus should review all of the latest inspection and maintenance records for all critical infrastructure (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural) and reports for all life safety systems present on the property and ensure they are all current.  For leased property, inspection reports should be reviewed as required by the applicable local code.

Definitions

Building Used for Campus Purposes - a building or space within a building that is used by U. T. System or any of its institutions for education, research, patient care, auxiliary enterprises, business functions, or such other related purposes and uses for the furtherance and fulfillment of the missions of the U. T. System or any of its institutions and that is intended for human occupancy.

Institution Staff Member Responsible for Campus Safety - the staff member at an institution who is responsible for campus safety and who may have the job title of

Director of Environmental Health and Safety, University Fire Marshal, or Institution Safety Officer. The term also includes that staff member’s designee.

Institution Staff Member Responsible for Campus Structures - the staff member at an institution who is responsible for campus structures and who may have the job title of Director of Environmental Health and Safety, University Fire Marshal, or Institution Safety Officer.. The term also includes that staff member’s designee.

Life Safety Assessment – process to determine a building’s compliance with the edition of the NFPA 101 or, when applicable, NFPA 101A, and NFPA 1, as adopted and enforced by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Texas Department of Insurance at the time of building acquisition or conversion.

Qualified Campus Safety Staff Member - campus safety staff member or university fire marshal with the following qualifications: Board of Certified Safety Professionals - Certified Safety Professional, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 1031) Certified Fire Inspector, or Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS) certification currently recognized by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Texas Department of Insurance, or a person deemed qualified by the institution’s head of Environmental Health and Safety.