Contrary to the stereotype, I have always found building code officials (sometimes more derisively called “building inspectors”) to be sincere and decent people who earnestly want to do their job to the best of their ability. Most are pragmatic when it comes to interpreting building codes and try hard to work with developers and contractors to ensure that the building is safe. Sometimes complying with building codes is not economically feasible and most code officials I have worked with have tried to help find affordable solutions to difficult code problems.
Still, I never fail to get nervous when I submit plans for code review.
So after a week long wait, today was my plan review with the State Fire Marshal’s office. I confess that I had been a bit stressed because hundred year old buildings are open to a lot of interpretation when it comes to fire safety codes. As I sat in the waiting area my stomach was in knots as I imagined all of the different ways that the Fire Marshal could shoot down our project even before it got up to speed.
I am thankful to report that the official was as accommodating and helpful as I could have hoped for. While it does look like we will lose a few of the architectural details inside (like the beautiful wooden and glass hallway doors with their still operational transoms), it looks like we’ll be spared from doing anything to the outside of the building and we won’t need a central fire alarm system. That could have been costly.
While nothing’s official until we get the stamped plans and certificate back in the mail, we feel much better today and feel like we’ve cleared one more hurdle in making Lafayette Flats a reality.