Building Codes Getting a Second Look

Following the massive five-alarm fire at Avalon at Edgewater, a luxury apartment complex in Edgewater, New Jersey, which destroyed 240 units the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is taking a second look at the state's existing building codes and asked municipalities statewide for input on possible code improvements. While investigations into the incident are still ongoing, officials have said that the lightweight, wooden construction of the Avalon Bay complex allowed the flames to spread so rapidly. In a statement released by AvalonBay Communities, the owners of the complex, they stated that the building met required state fire and safety codes; however, on February 18, 2015 they announced that they would add fire protection systems that comply with the more stricter national standards to their new housing projects. These modifications include additional sprinklers, including in the attics and closets and between ceilings and floors. They will also install masonry firewalls which are not required for these building types under current state codes. Comments were due to the DCA on March 1, 2015.

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