Local Law 26: Building & Fire Protection Code

Local Law 26 of 2004 was introduced to strengthen fire safety regulations for existing business occupancy buildings throughout NYC. In addition to establishing new codes and fire prevention regulations, the Law establishes retroactive requirements for office and other business occupancy buildings that meet specific criteria. The law was first discussed after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 when it became evident that commercial high-rise buildings simply did not have the necessary fire protection measures in place to guarantee the safety of the tenants.

A series of prospective fire protection requirements pertain to new construction while certain retroactive requirements are applicable to both existing and future buildings. They are as follows:

Retroactive Requirements


Retroactive requirements affect buildings at least 100 feet tall, including high-rise buildings, that are classified as business occupancies (Group E as of 2004, currently classified as Group B, including office buildings).

All past due LL26 deadlines are now considered as prospective requirements since new construction must include them and existing buildings should already meet the following retroactive requirements:

Photoluminescent Markings

July 1, 2006 – for installation of markings

Photoluminescent markings contain certain chemicals capable of storing energy from artificial light sources or natural daylight, providing a visible escape route for building occupants in the event of an emergency. Pertaining to high-rise office buildings over 75 feet tall, photoluminescent markings must be present on exit doors and exit stairs, adding to existing requirements relating to exit signs.

Total Fire Protection photoluminescent lighting and egress markers are tested to ensure product performance. We also offer installation. Contact us for a free quote.

Additional Signage for Unclear Egress Path

July 1, 2007 – for installation of additional signs

High-rise office buildings of over 75 feet tall must have additional illuminated exit signs installed in stairs with horizontal extensions and transfer levels. The installation of exit wall signs in areas where re-entry is restricted for four floors and more is also required, in addition to the installation of wall signs where a re-entry door is recessed or out of plain view.

Exit Sign Power Source

July 1, 2007 – for completion of work and certification of compliance

The power source for existing illuminated exit signs must be a battery pack or generator, whether or not they are wired on a circuit connected ahead of the main switch. This is required for all office, educational, and hotel buildings, as well as high-rise office buildings over 75 feet tall, including mercantile, industrial and institutional buildings.

Emergency Exit signs and lights are essential for creating an effective escape path during an emergency. Get a free quote on Total Fire Protection’s Emergency Exit Lights & Exit Signs products as well as installation, maintenance, testing and inspection services.

Prospective Requirements


The following prospective requirements apply to new construction and alterations in existing buildings:

Scissor Stairs

October 22, 2004 – jobs receiving work permits on or after date

Stairs are prohibited from sharing a common wall in high-rise office buildings over 75 feet tall where stairs serve a floor of 10,000 sf. or greater.

Fire Tower Option

October 22, 2004 – jobs receiving work permits on or after date

Based on LL26 requirements, applicants have the option of installing a fire tower instead of interior or exterior stairs following an application procedure. This is applicable to all buildings irrespective of height or occupancy.

Elevator Vestibules

October 22, 2004 – for new building applications filed on or after date & for alterations of existing buildings

Elevator vestibules are required for all high-rise buildings at least 75 feet tall that have an existing office space, serving at least four levels. Elevators must open up onto a smoke-stop vestibule. This particular LL26 requirement applies to existing buildings only when two or more new elevator shafts are deployed.

Impact Resistant Elevator & Stair Enclosures

July 1, 2006 – applications filed on or after date

Elevator and stair enclosures in high-rise office buildings over 75 feet tall must be constructed of impact-resistant materials.

Open Web Steel Joist

October 22, 2004 – jobs receiving work permits on or after date

Applicable for high-rise non-residential buildings at least 75 feet tall, any open web steel joists are prohibited until the Commissioner promulgates fireproofing standards.

Existing Fireproofing Inspection

October 22, 2004 – jobs receiving work permits on or after date

LL26 requires that alterations in office spaces are subject to inspection of exposed existing spray-on fireproofing.

Total Fire Protection provides an on-site survey and estimate, in addition to installation services, to meet all your fireproofing needs.

Fire Dampers Inspection

October 22, 2004 – jobs receiving work permits on or after date

Subject to all buildings, irrespective of height or occupancy, inspection of fire dampers is applicable whenever a new ventilation system is installed.

Air Intake Locations

Alterations to existing buildings not affected

Air intake locations are required for new high-rise office buildings at least 75 feet tall where spaces are above 10,000 square feet and higher than the second story. Air intake locations must be 20 feet above grade and away from loading bays and exhaust charges.

Fuel Oil Piping Above Lowest Floor

October 22, 2004 – jobs receiving work permits on or after date

While oversized fuel oil piping above the lowest floor is prohibited, new standards are introduced to regulate it. This particular LL26 regulation is applicable to all buildings, regardless of occupancy or height.

Floor Drains in Elevator Vestibules and Shafts

October 22, 2004 – jobs receiving work permits on or after date

Applicable to all buildings irrespective of height or occupancy, floor drains are excluded from fixture count calculations if located in elevator vestibules or shafts.

Mandatory EAP

Refer to FDNY Rule 3 RCNY §6- 02 and 3 RCNY §9-08

According to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), an Emergency Action Plan can be described as “a written plan which sets forth the circumstances and procedures for the sheltering in place, in-building relocation, partial evacuation or evacuation of building occupants in response to an emergency.” Mandatory Emergency Action Plans are required for buildings that meet the Business group E classification, as well as buildings above six stories high, taller than 75 feet, that has an occupancy load of 100 and above or below street level, an occupant load of 500 or more in the entire building, in cases where the building is required to have a fire safety director based on the NYC Administrative Code, or in special cases where an EAP is required for public safety based on the judgement of the NYC Department of Buildings.

For fast and effective fireproofing services, call Total Fire Protection to schedule your on-site survey.
(718) 951-7200

LL 26 Compliance Saves Lives

As a business owner, compliance not only protects you from hefty fines, but protects your tenants and staff from potential harm.

As a trusted partner to distinguished clientele, venues, and addresses in New York City and the tri-state area, Total Fire Protection would like to be your single source for fire and life safety products, installation, maintenance, testing and inspection.

For fast and effective fire proofing services, call Total Fire Protection to schedule your on-site survey.
(718) 951-7200