In H.B. 39: State Construction Code Amendments, Utah amending various building codes from the International Code Council (ICC). This includes the International Fire Code and International Building Code, which have provisions that apply to the construction of residential assisted living homes. With these changes, Utah will strengthen the code requirements – especially those relating to fire safety – applicable to RALs. It is important for RAL developers in Utah to understand these changes to accurately estimate construction costs.
The Code Council has worked for many years to determine how best to classify assisted living homes. These efforts led to assisted living homes with 6 – 16 people being included in the residential classification category of “R-4”, while facilities with more than 16 are in the institutional grouping of “I-1” or “I-2”.
This new bill, however, changes the International Fire Code to add a new definition of assisted living:
“IFC, Chapter 2, Section 202, General Definitions, the following definition is added for Residential Treatment/Support Assisted Living Facility. “RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT SUPPORT ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY”. A residential facility that provides a group living environment for four or more residents licensed by the Department of Human Services, and provides a protective living arrangement for ambulatory, non-restrained persons who are capable of achieving mobility sufficient to exit the facility without the physical assistance of another person.”
The act then segregates assisted living facilities into “Type I” and “Type II” based on the level of acuity of the residents:
• Type I includes people who are ambulatory, non-restrained, and have sufficient mobility to exit the facility without the assistance of another person.
• Type II pertains to people who are “physically disabled but able to direct his or her own care” or “cognitively impaired or physically disabled but able to evacuate from the facility, or to a zone or area of safety, with the physical assistance of one person.”
Type I homes apparently are still classified as R-4. However, Type II homes with 6 – 16 residents will be considered I-1. This means that RALs with 6 – 16 residents who need some physical assistance to evacuate from the home must meet the higher fire safety requirements of the I-1 classification, while those with more than 16 residents will have to comply with I-2 standards.
RALNA members in Utah are advised to consult their attorneys and architects to fully understand building and fire code standards for their homes.
This bill was sent to the Governor on March 10, 2022, for signature.
To track this and other bills and regulations, go to RALNA’s real-time tracking boards: 2022 Legislative Tracking Board