Rules and regulations
that define permits derive from two sources: International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC). First, we want to clarify that there can be additional agencies that can impact a regulation, but we are using IBC and IFC for this post.

The first group
that regulates the tent rental company installation process for tents and structures or a temporary building is IBC. The second group, the IFC, deals with what is under our temporary building. Your local municipality may have two agencies governing IBC and IFC: IBC assigned to the building inspector, and the IFC under the Fire Marshals jurisdiction. Again we are keeping this simple; both of these agencies may cross boundaries with each other.

Enter the tent rental company.
You install a temporary building and this falls under IBC’S jurisdiction. You add tables, chairs, and décor under your temporary building, and this falls under the IFC’S jurisdiction. The IFC also regulates the flame certificates for the membrane. Is the membrane part of our temporary building or is it the décor? You pull a permit and who will be coming to inspect your installation a building code official or fire marshal? Confusing, to say the least, but there is hope.

Remember the post
about having coffee with the Fire Marshal? One of the questions you could ask him is which rules are covered by the IBC or IFC. If their answer is “I do not know”, unless you want to antagonize your coffee partner, do not treat this as a “Gotcha Moment”. Your coffee partner may have been handed the current permit and was told to enforce it by their supervisor.

To obtain information about regulations
you can become a member of the ICC and download the IBC and IFC PDF document at a cost of $89.00 apiece. If you are a member of TRAM, we will send you the two documents for free and offer some advice about these regulations, plus suggest a contact person to assist you. Now you have the information to create a compelling argument towards the interpretation of the fire permit regulation.

You still may not win
the dispute but at the very least you have become informed, and the ultimate objective is creating an accident-free event.

Respectfully Yours
Jim Erickson