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  • Has anyone run into this building issue

    So we found a building that we like...met the fire marshal and building inspector there. Got the ok on everything except one-bathrooms. This was an old body shop that they would paint cars in. Its about 10,000 sq ft and only has one bathroom. The building inspector tells me that we would have to get the landlord to put in new bathrooms. So I said "wouldn't we just get a bunch of porta potties?" He said that probably wouldn't work because we are open for a month, that would be considered a permanent location and porta potties would not be allowed. I asked him to double check back at his office. I finally got an email saying he talked to his boss and porta potties are not allowed because they don't meet the plumbing code. Anyone else run into this bullsh*t?

  • #2
    yeah

    Yeah...a few years back we were looking at a location in a strip mall and the bathroom "capacity" was brought up as an issue. I think, due to the suburban location with shared businesses, the porta potties were not allowed. The location ended up falling through, but that was a big concern of ours to update bathrooms to handle the capacity we were expecting. I think there was some "loophole" where you only needed enough capacity for a portion of the people who were in your attraction at any given moment, not your total capacity per night. A lot of the restrictions were falling under what were called "Assembly" codes...like a church that can hold hundreds of people at a time. You don't have to have a ridiculous number of bathrooms for a church, and a haunt, in some areas, qualifies as a form of an "assembly" business.

    I know that plenty of "permanent" haunts around here use porta-potties, so I really think it depends on your township/city, but I definitely have experienced a particular town here that was being hard on this point.
    -Eric
    Chief Engineer/Co-Creative Director
    HUSH Haunted Attraction

    sigpic

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    • #3
      The fire department has NOTHING and i mean NOTHING to do with bathrooms. I wouldn't worry about what they say at all... they only inspect safety and bathrooms have NOTHING to do with safety. You should only focus on what the building division says you need or don't need. There is also a difference between a temporary occupancy and a permanent occupancy.

      If you get a temporary then that means you have to be re-inspected every year before you open, if you get a permanent, then technically you would need a bathroom and it would have to be handicap accessible. I don't think you would need two just one but it would have to be handicap. Maybe you would have to modify it to meet codes but your fire department has nothing to do with that at all.

      So guess what in short YES YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH PORTA POTIES whomever is telling you that is wrong... you just have to seek a temporary occupancy. That doesn't mean you can't stay there forever it just means you would need re inspection every single year. We use to do it this way now we don't... its better NOT to do it that way so you never have to deal with being inspected ever again.

      Larry
      Larry Kirchner
      President
      www.HalloweenProductions.com
      www.BlacklightAttractions.com
      www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com
      www.HauntedHouseMagazine.com

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      • #4
        So you have a permanent permit? Do you still end up having to have the fire dept through every three years or so? I actually had to follow the same procedures to be considered permanent but they still make us pull a temp permit each season. I haven't tried to fight it or see what I could work out with them, I think they like the yearly inspection money. I need to try and push the issue, I would like to try and open up some additional dates throughout the year. I just never feel like going through the additional inspections for a weekend here or there.
        Jared Layman

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        • #5
          Yes we have a permanent occupancy and NO we NEVER have to get reinspected to open EVER! However that doesn't change the fact that they fire department can come and inspect it any time they want. The city has a safety inspection team and yes they come every single year without notice ... walk thru the haunts and if they find something they give you x amount of days to fix it.

          Almost every time they come they find nothing because I stay on top of stuff like this big time... however they do find some e-lights burned out or something along those lines and we fix them within a day or two. They come back see you fixed them and they may come back again or next year or something.

          The bottom line is this... get a permanent occupancy but even then that doesn't mean you can't lower your guard. My highest priority is the guests safety first and foremost that is over scaring them or anything else. I'd rather have a VERY UNHAPPY customer walk out the haunted house, turn to social media slam you to everyone on the planet, take out 1 million dollars of ads slamming you, than ONE customer coming out with so much as a broken finger nail.

          Safety is always the top priority every single time end of story!

          Make sure all your emergency equipment is working, get your sprinklers tested every year, re-charge your fire extinguishers, walk the haunt nightly, check e-lights, look for tripping hazards, find things that are broken. My biggest motto honestly is this... there is something broken so find it!

          Larry
          Larry Kirchner
          President
          www.HalloweenProductions.com
          www.BlacklightAttractions.com
          www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com
          www.HauntedHouseMagazine.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Larry,

            The fire marshall was there to give us the ok on the fire suppression, which he did. The building inspector told us that because we would be open for longer than a week, they would classify us as a permanent occupancy, and therefore porta potties would not be allowed and the one bathroom that is there would not be sufficient our haunt. The owner of the building would have to build in new bathrooms (which will never happen). I emailed him and said that haunts all over the county use porta potties so I'd like to see the section of the code that outlines this. His reply was "there is no section in our code dealing directly with the use of porta potties. While some jurisdictions may allow them, I am being told by those above me that we will not." What's your opinion of that reply?

            Jeff

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            • #7
              That he is WRONG! Again it depends are you applying for a temporary use permit or a permanent occupancy? Most of these guys that do these jobs don't even know what the rules are... ask to speak to the head honcho. In other words go straight to the top. You are expecting big crowds over a few weekends and you will need portable restrooms. Even though the darkness has multiple bathrooms located all through out the attraction we still use portable restrooms.

              You must have restrooms handicap style if you are going for the year around occupancy. There are two types of permits here... you need to double check what you applied for. And lastly ask him to show you that ordinance that they are going by for special use permits. I'm promise you he's wrong if you are going for the special use permit. Even the big giant fairs and events which can last for weeks only use portable restrooms. Renfaires can last for a month or longer only use portable restrooms. He's totally and dead wrong.

              Larry
              Larry Kirchner
              President
              www.HalloweenProductions.com
              www.BlacklightAttractions.com
              www.HauntedHouseSupplies.com
              www.HauntedHouseMagazine.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Just handle it politely and professionally because if you piss them off on this they can cause issues for you down the road. Even of you get the better of them this time then they will just want to look harder for something to get back at you later because you showed then up.
                Even if you are perfect and have no faults they can start taking an against stance during town meetings or city councils (whatever you have) and when it's your word against them because they are an actual employee their word usually holds more weight.
                I've seen it happen before where a haunt went around the inspectors back, and he just caused so much issue with the Haunt that they lasted 2 years before up and moving because of 1 persons attitude.
                Making good acquaintances and getting friends in other departments can help mitigate these issues.

                Sent from my LGLS991 using Tapatalk

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                • #9
                  Did you ever get this issue resolved? I wanted to hear how it ended.

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                  • #10
                    Going to go down to the city and speak directly with the head building inspector next week. Will keep you updated

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