The “Windowless Basement Law” is currently being strictly enforced in New Jersey cities. Depending on the size of your windowless basement there are two fire suppression options to be aware of.
If your space is under 3,000 sq. ft: “Windowless basements not exceeding 3,000 square feet in area shall be exempt from this automatic suppression requirement, provided a supervised automatic fire alarm system shall be installed in accordance with the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code.”
If your space is between 3,001 – 10,000 sq. ft: “In windowless basements greater than 3,000 square feet, but not exceeding 10,000 square feet in area, the required suppression system need not be connected to a water supply other than an existing domestic supply if the following conditions are met: i. The suppression system shall be provided with a fire department connection, which shall be marked with a sign reading ‘Basement Area Sprinkler Water Supply;’ and ii. A supervised automatic fire alarm system shall be installed in accordance with the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code.”
According to NJ Division of Fire Safety Bulletin, The Windowless Basement Law intends to protect not only occupants but specifically fire fighters with the requirement of early fire detection, suppression and a fire alarm sounding system. As an alternative to a fire service water supply or suppression system, the provision allows for the installation of an automatic fire alarm system where there is “early fire detection and an immediate notification of the fire department” to satisfy the requirement.
Automatic Fire Alarm System installations must adhere to the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and installed and supervised by standards specified by the UCC.
To learn more, read the full bulletin by the Department of Community Affairs Division of Fire Safety at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/