PA 17-80—SB 890

Public Safety and Security Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE OFFICE OF THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL REGARDING THE STATE FIRE PREVENTION CODE AND LICENSES FOR DEMOLITION

SUMMARY: This act repeals several statutes that directed the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) commissioner or state fire marshal, as applicable, to adopt regulations to address issues relating to certain fire hazards. Many of the repealed statutes predated the state Fire Prevention Code, which now regulates these issues (Fire Prevention Code 2.2 (2015)).

The act also repeals (1) obsolete statutes that addressed exits in workshops and manufacturing establishments and mandated that the labor commissioner enforce fire prevention statutes pertaining to exits and related issues in such establishments and (2) a statute that imposed explicit liability on building owners whose noncompliance with these statutes resulted in injury or death. The Fire Prevention Code now addresses fire prevention issues, and the state fire marshal, not the labor commissioner, enforces the code.

The act eliminates a requirement that the state fire marshal annually certify to each municipality the number of fires investigated and reported by its local fire marshal and that the notified municipality pay any non-salaried fire marshal a fee of at least $2 for each of these fires. But fire marshals must still submit fire incident reports to the state fire marshal (CGS 29-303; see BACKGROUND).

The act exempts the deconstruction or disassembly of swimming pools from state demolition licensing requirements.

It also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017

FIRE HAZARD ELEMENTS AND FIRE SPRINKLERS

Prior law required the DAS commissioner or state fire marshal, as applicable, to adopt, and incorporate in the state Fire Prevention Code, regulations governing the following:

1. oil burners (CGS 29-317),

2. flammable and combustible liquids (CGS 29-320),

3. gas equipment and gas piping (CGS 29- 329),

4. liquefied gas and liquefied natural gas (CGS 29-331), and

5. hazardous chemicals (CGS 29-337).

The act repeals these statutes and instead specifies that the code must include provisions for these elements. The code already incorporates, by reference, various standards that cover these subjects.

The act also repeals a requirement that the commissioner adopt, and incorporate in the Fire Prevention Code, regulations governing fire extinguishers. Fire extinguisher requirements and specifications are already incorporated in the code.

DEMOLITION LICENSE

Financial Responsibility

With limited exceptions (described below), people in the demolition business must get a state license from DAS and a local permit from the municipality where the building or structure to be demolished is located.

The act eliminates a requirement that demolition license applicants provide DAS with evidence of financial responsibility. But by law, unchanged by the act, they must still provide evidence of financial responsibility to the municipality (CGS 29-406).

Activities Exempt from Licensure

The act exempts the deconstruction or disassembly of swimming pools from licensure. The following activities are also exempt from licensure under existing law:

1. disassembly, transport, and reconstruction of historic buildings for historical purposes; demolition of farm buildings; and renovation, alteration, or reconstruction of single-family homes;

2. removal of underground petroleum storage tanks;

3. burning of buildings or structures as part of an organized fire department training exercise;

4. disassembly of nonstructural building material for reuse and recycling; and

5. under certain circumstances, the demolition of single-family dwellings or outbuildings by owners.

MANUFACTURING ESTABLISHMENTS

The act eliminates obsolete provisions, including ones that:

1. specified building elements (e.g., exits, stairways, and fire escapes) required in workshops or manufacturing establishments;

2. gave the labor commissioner authority to enforce the provisions and the laws pertaining to fire prevention in these establishments; and

3. imposed penalties for noncompliance.

These provisions are incorporated in the Fire Prevention Code, and the labor commissioner no longer enforces fire prevention laws. The act also eliminates a provision that (1) explicitly imposed liability on owners whose noncompliance with the statutes requiring appropriate exits resulted in injury or death and (2) prohibited, as a defense to such liability, claiming that the person who was injured or died knew about the absent stairway or fire escape and still continued to work in or occupy the building.

BACKGROUND

Fire Incident Reports

The Connecticut Fire Incident Reporting Systems (CFIRS) is a statewide incident reporting system that collects, compiles, analyzes, and distributes statistical information submitted by fire marshals and fire departments throughout the state. The data collected by CFIRS is based on the National Fire Incident Reporting System that all fire departments and fire marshals must use to document incidents to which they respond.