Fire Regulations for Commercial Buildings

By Aaron Marquis - Updated June 16, 2017
Smoke alarm on ceiling with smoke

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Red painted curbs, brightly lit "Exit" signs, sprinkler systems--are all indications of a commercial building that adheres to fire regulations enforced by law. Commercial fire regulations exist to maintain the safety and well-being of building tenants in case of a fire emergency. Fire safety mandates have progressed over the decades, through research and error, to provide a secure environment for your business.

Fire Sprinklers

Sprinkler on wall near ceiling

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One fire sprinkler must be located in every 150 square feet of building space throughout the commercial building. Every fire sprinkler must have a tag from a fire department official stating that it is fully functional. Sprinklers must activate when the temperature of the room exceeds the breaking point of the liquid filament inside the device.

Fire Alarms

Fire alarm

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Fire alarms must be located throughout the building and clearly marked with red paint. All fire alarms must be clearly visible to occupants of the building, as well as accessible to people with disabilities. When a fire alarm is pulled, the alarm must create an audible signal heard throughout the building.

Smoke Detectors

Commercial buildings must have a fully functional smoke detector located in each room and hallway of the structure. Smoke detectors must carry a tag that clearly shows when the last maintenance was performed on the device, as well as the date in which the batteries were replaced. Smoke detectors must create an audible alarm signal for occupants to hear.


Stairwells must be clearly labeled in a commercial building, with exit signs pointing to their location. All stairwells must have handrails leading down the entire length of the stairs and must lead to an evacuation space located in the street. Emergency lighting, powered by batteries, must be located in the stairwell, should the building lose normal power.

Exit Signs

Exit sign in car park

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All commercial buildings adhering to fire safety regulations must contain exit signs that are clearly visible in case of an emergency. Exit signs must run on building power during normal operation and use battery power in the event the building loses normal power. Exit signs must point to a stairwell or door you can use for evacuation.

About the Author

Aaron Marquis is a University of Texas graduate with experience writing commercials and press releases for national advertising agencies as well as comedy television treatments/stories for FOX Studios and HBO. Marquis has been writing for over six years.

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