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Mayor Mike McGinn left office on January 1, 2014.
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City of Seattle

October 17, 1:04 PM click here to comment > 0

Updating the fire code to better support our innovative life sciences sector

Over the past year the mayor’s office, Seattle Fire Department, Department of Planning and Development and the Office of Economic Development have been working with leaders in the life sciences sector to determine how the City can better support the needs of this rapidly growing industry. In our conversations with them, we heard that changes to the City’s Fire and Building Code, as they relate to hazardous materials, would help the industry to grow and further develop in Seattle.

I’m proud to report that we have worked through the complexities of the code, and thanks to our work together we’ve been successful in adopting changes that will become effective in 2013.

The changes to the code will expand opportunities for lab locations, while ensuring life safety and property protections from the hazards of fire and dangerous conditions. The changes were proposed by me and adopted by the City Council, and are consistent with nationally recognized good practices and sound fire protection principles. The 2012 code also addresses health, life and fire safety requirements, while allowing flexibility for operations. The new code will require an increase in the sprinkler density and an increase in the fire resistance of lab walls while providing the labs with opportunities to store chemicals at higher floors than the current code allows.

The Building and Fire Code changes reflect more than a year of discussion and research between the City of Seattle and life sciences industry stakeholders.  These changes will better support the needs of life sciences labs while protecting safety protections for workers and the public. Special thanks to the Fire Marshal, Assistant Chief John Nelsen, and Department of Planning Development Director Diane Sugimura, and to the industry leaders who worked with us to come up with this new approach.

These changes will continue to support the growth of the life sciences and global health sectors in Seattle, which are a vital part of our city’s economic base and present the opportunity to create more good-paying jobs focused on innovation.

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn