2013 Wisconsin Act 270 establishes a uniform commercial building code in Wisconsin, while allowing municipalities to grandfather fire detection, prevention, and suppression ordinances that relate to the construction, alteration, or addition to a public building or building that is a place of employment.

Grandfathered Ordinances for Fitchburg


Sec. 44-177. – APPLICABILITY.

Except as specifically otherwise provided herein, the provisions of this fire prevention code shall apply equally on public and private property and to all locations.


(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, there are hereby adopted as part of the fire prevention code of the city and inco1porated herein as if fully set fo1ih the following codes and standards:

(1) NFPA 1, 1987 edition, “Fire Prevention Code,” of the National Fire Protection Association, including its incorporated Standards, Annexes, Codes and Appendices, as published in the National Fire Codes of the National Fire Protection Association.


Sec. 44-339. – SCOPE.

This section shall apply to all buildings, having floors located more than 60 feet above the lowest interior level or exceeding five stories.

Sec. 44-340. – CONSTRUCTION.

(1) Stairway doors and telephones. Doors from stairways to floors may be locked only if provided with remote release from building control station. Stairways must have telephone or intercom to building control station at least every three floors if locked. On power failure locks must release and the door must remain unlocked.


(a) An automatic sprinkler system shall be installed in accordance with article V, division 4 of this chapter, pertaining to automatic sprinkler systems.

(b) A standpipe system shall be installed in accordance with article V, division 3 of this chapter, pertaining to standpipe and hose systems.

(c) Shutoff valves and water flow detection devices for the standpipe and sprinkler systems shall be provided for each floor.

(d) Standpipe and sprinkler valves shall be supervised by a continuously manned station or central station.


Fire and smoke detection systems shall be installed in accordance with article VI, division 3 of this chapter. In addition, the following shall be installed:

(1) At least one approved smoke detector, suitable for the intended use, shall be installed:

a. Within every mechanical equipment, electrical transformer or control, telephone equipment, elevator machine or similar room.

b. Within the main return and exhaust air plenum of each air conditioning system and located in a serviceable area downstream of the last duct inlet.

(2) Detectors installed under subsection (1) of this section shall activate an alarm or signaling system and shut down the ventilation system except where automatic smoke control is incorporated in the system.

(3) Approved heat detection equipment shall be installed in boiler rooms and furnace rooms in lieu of smoke detection equipment.


The alarm and communications system shall be installed in compliance with NFPA 72F, “Emergency Voice/Alarm Communication Systems,” and the following standards:

(1) Installation. The alarm and communications systems shall be designed and installed so that damage to any terminal unit or speaker will not render more than one zone of the system inoperative.

(2) Voice alarm system. The operation of any smoke detector, sprinkler, water flow device or manual fire alarm station shall automatically sound an alarm signal to the desired areas, followed by voice instructions giving appropriate information and direction to the occupant. The voice alarm and public address system may be a combined system. When approved by the fire department, the communications system may be combined with the voice alarm system and the public address system.

a. The central control station shall contain controls for the voice alarm system so that a selective or general voice alarm may be manually initiated.

b. The system shall be supervised to cause the activation of an audible trouble signal in the central control station upon interruption or failure of the audiopath, including amplifiers, speaker wiring, switches and electrical contacts, and shall detect opens, shorts and grounds which might impair the function of the system.

c. The alarm shall be designed to be heard clearly by all occupants within the building or designated portions thereof as is required for the public address system.

(3) Public address system. A public address communications system designed to be clearly heard by all occupants of the building shall operate from the central control station. It shall be capable of directing messages selectively or on a general basis to the following terminal areas:

a. Elevators.

b. Elevator lobbies.

c. Corridors.

d. Exit stairways.

e. Rooms and tenant spaces exceeding 1,000 square feet in area.

f. Dwelling units.

g. Hotel guestrooms and/or suites.

(4) Fire department communications system. A central control station for fire department operations shall be provided in a location approved by the department. This station shall contain:

a. Voice alarm and public address system control panels;

b. Two-way communications between the control station and all elevators, elevator lobbies, exit access and stairways at each floor. The type of equipment proposed for this function shall be approved by the fire department;

c. Fire detection and alarm system annunciator panels;

d. Annunciator visually indicating the location and status of each elevator;

e. Status indicators and controls for air-handling systems;

f. Controls for unlocking all stairway doors simultaneously;

g. Sprinkler valve and water flow detector display panels;

h. Standby power controls and status indicators;

i. A telephone for fire department use with controlled access to the public telephone system;

j. Small scale layout plan of building showing all permanent partitions, identifying permanent areas and doorways, exterior wall openings suitable for use in smoke ventilation, elevator locations and stair locations;

k. Diagrams to indicate the location of the main shutoffs for sprinkler or standpipe systems, electrical, water, gas and steam systems with an indication of the areas served by each of these main shutoffs;

l. A list of names indicating all key building operating personnel and where they may be reached;

m. An emergency plan of action for the building with personnel responsibilities defined.


(a) An approved, permanently installed standby power generating system shall be provided. The system shall be equipped with suitable means for automatically starting the generator set upon failure of the normal electrical service and for automatic transfer and operations of the required electrical functions at full power within 60 seconds of such normal service failure.

(b) System supervision with manual sta1i and transfer features shall be provided at the central control station. An on-premises fuel supply, sufficient for not less than 12 hours full demand operation of the system shall be provided. The power requirement shall be dete1mined so as to provide service to, but not limited to, fire alarm system, exit and other emergency lighting, fire protection equipment, mechanical ventilation equipment, elevators, communications systems.



Standpipe and hose systems shall be installed in accordance with Wis. Admin. Code § COMM 75.22 or NFPA 14, “Standards for Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems.” Standpipe and hose systems required herein shall be of class I or III types, as specified in NFPA 14. Wet standpipe systems may be an integral part of an approved automatic sprinkler system, provided calculations for required fire flows have been submitted with sprinkler system plans.


Any building erected for any of the uses described in section 44-493 in an area in which the municipal water supply cannot, for any reason, provide the water pressure or volume necessary to operate a standpipe and hose system shall have an approved fire pump or secondary water supply installed to provide the required water flow for that occupancy.

Sec. 44-525. – INSTALLATION.

Except for one- and two-family dwellings, the installation of any automatic fire sprinkler systems shall be completed in accordance with NFPA 13, “Installation of Sprinkler Systems.” In one- and two-family dwellings automatic fire sprinkler systems shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 13D, “Standards for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in 1 and 2 Family Dwellings and Mobile Homes.”

Sec. 44-528. – WHERE REQUIRED.

Classification of construction for purposes of this division is determined under the Wis. Admin. Code ch. COMM 75. Automatic sprinkler systems shall be installed and maintained in operable condition in the following new occupancies and locations:

(4) New theaters and buildings of public assembly over 100-person occupancy. Automatic sprinklers shall be installed throughout such buildings regardless of size or type of construction.

(5) New health care facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, convalescent and group care centers. Automatic sprinklers shall be installed throughout such buildings regardless of size or type of construction.

(6) New detention and correctional facilities. Automatic sprinklers shall be installed throughout the building regardless of size of construction.

(8) High hazard occupancy. Throughout any new building which by reason of its construction or combustible occupancy is deemed a severe life or property hazard by the fire chief. This includes, but shall not be limited to:

a. Aircraft/helicopter hangers, aircraft/helicopter servicing.

b. Dry cleaning establishments using or storing volatile or flammable liquids.

c. Enameling or Japanning operations.

d. Mills.

e. Paint and varnish, manufacturing, storage, handling, spraying or other related operations.

f. Pyroxylin products.

g. Smoke houses.

h. Storage of combustible and flammable gases such as acetylene, hydrogen, liquid propane, etc., in excess of 1,000 cubic feet.

i. Storage of combustible and flammable liquids such as kerosene, oil gasoline, etc., in excess of 500 gallons.

j. Woodworking establishments.

k. Chemical works.

l. Warehouses with materials piled 15 feet or more in height.

m. Explosive and pyrotechnic manufacturing and storage.

n. Basements over 2,500 square feet and containing combustible materials or storage within.

Sec. 44-529. – EXCEPTIONS.

Automatic fire sprinkler systems are not required in the following:

(1) Rooms or buildings used for the manufacture or storage of aluminum powder, calcium carbide, calcium phosphide, metallic sodium or potassium, quick lime, magnesium powder, sodium peroxide or like materials where the application of water may cause or increase combustion.

(2) Any location where the fire chief determines that the use of water as a fire extinguishing agent would increase the hazard. However, an automatic fire suppression system using an extinguishing agent other than water, or an automatic smoke detection system, shall be installed.


(c) System requirements. All required building automatic sprinkler systems shall comply with the following, provided existing systems not in compliance on the effective date of the ordinance from which this division is derived shall have 12 months to come into compliance.

(1) System drain. The building automatic sprinkler system shall have a drain piped to the outside of the building or to a drain suitable to handle the required flows.

(2) Inspector’s test valve. The system shall have an inspector’s test valve piped so as to discharge to the outside of the building.

(3) Alarm bells or horns. Alarm bells or horns shall be installed on all systems. One bell or horn shall be installed on the inside of the building and a second bell or horn installed on the outside of the building. The sprinkler alarm shall be tied into the building alaim system in buildings equipped with a local alarm system.


Sec. 44-630. – SCOPE.

To provide early warning in the event of fire, detection systems shall be installed and maintained in operable condition in the following the following locations:

(1) Schools. All new schools, regardless of size shall have a manual alarm system with heat detection installed in mechanical rooms.

(4) Health care facilities. Any new health care facility regardless of size shall be equipped with a manual alarm system with automatic detection as specified within NFP A 72E.

(5) Correctional/detention facilities. Any new correction/detention facility regardless of size shall be equipped with a manual alarm system with automatic detection as specified within NFPA 72E.

(7) High hazard occupancies. Any new high hazard occupancy deemed a severe life or property hazard by the fire chief shall be equipped with a detection system as provided in this section.


(a) Components to be listed. All components of a fire or smoke detector system shall be listed by Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) or the Facto1y Mutual System (FM). The entire installation shall conform to applicable provisions of the National Fire Protection Association Standards 71, 72A, 72C, 72D or72E.

(b) Backup power system. The fire alarm system shall monitor the integrity of all alarm initiating and indicating appliance circuits, and shall be provided with automatically charged standby batteries to maintain system operation for 24 hours in the normal supervisory mode, plus have sufficient capacity to operate in the alarm mode for five minutes at the conclusion of this superviso1y time period. Batteries shall be supervised for connection to the system and a low voltage threshold. The automatic battery charger shall be capable of charging fully discharged system batteries to 100 percent.

(c) Remote annunciator. A remote annunciator shall be provided at the main entrance of the building to indicate each of the designated alarm initiating zones via red LEDs which flash when in alarm and lock in upon acknowledging the alarm. The remote annunciator shall be electrically supervised from the main fire alarm control panel. Space shall be provided on the remote annunciator for custom zone labels. The zone labels shall plainly describe the location of the zones.

Sec. 44-632. – SYSTEM OPERATION.

(d) The alarm system shall be equipped with the following:

(1) Desired type of signal operation; alarm signal tempos, area selective codes, zone codes, or general alarm codes.

(2) UL or FM approved alarm verification operation.

(3) Waterflow/sprinkler supervisory operation on a distinct zone.

(e) Upon actuation of a smoke detector, the LED on the smoke detector shall remain constantly illuminated until the system is reset.



Except as hereinafter provided automatic fire sprinklers, smoke detectors and standpipes need not be installed in buildings which exist or were under construction before July 10, 1978, unless such installation was required by previous ordinance, administrative regulation or state statute.


(a) When a building is expanded or remodeled and the building is of a size, a type, or a use, which, if the building were to be constructed new, the provisions of division 3 of this article or article V, division 3 or 4 of this chapter would apply, the building or part thereof shall be subject to the following requirements:

(1) If more than 50 percent of the gross interior area of the building is remodeled or added to the building, the entire building shall be made to conform to the requirements of division 3 of this article and article V, divisions 3 and 4 of this chapter.

(5) In determining the foregoing percentages, successive additions, expansions or remodeling if made within a period of 20 years shall be aggregated and treated as a single expansion or addition.

(6) Regardless of any percentage set forth in this section, if the additional, expanded, or remodeled area is of a size or type or for a use which is subject to the provisions of article III, division 7 or article V, division 3 or 4 of this chapter the additional, expanded, or remodeled area must conform to the requirements of such sections.

Sec. 44-665. – SALE AND TRANSFER.

At the time any building containing dwelling units situated within the city is sold, transferred or conveyed, the building shall be made to conform to the requirements of article V, division 4 of this chapter.

Sec. 44-666. – CHANGE IN USE.

(a) Where at the time of its construction a building or any part thereof is exempt from the requirements of division 3 of this article by reason of its proposed intended use and subsequent to construction the use of such building or parts thereof is changed in such a way that the reason for the exemption no longer exist shall be made to conform with the requirements of division 3 of this article.

(b) If the use of an existing building or structure is changed and the requirements for the new use are more stringent than those for the previous use, the building or structure shall be made to comply with the requirements for the new use as provided in this article.