Code of Maryland Regulations
Chapter 05.04.02 - Housing Rehabilitation Program-Applicable Codes and Standards - Fire Protection

Universal Citation: MD Code Reg Fire Protection

A. Objective. The objective of this section is to assure a high degree of safety to life and property preservation, by the separation of living units and the use of materials which will retard the spread of fire and prevent the passage of flame, smoke, and hot gases through open or concealed spaces within the building. An additional objective of this section is to provide means of egress which will permit persons to leave the building with safety in an emergency, and permit access for fire control personnel.

B. General. These provisions apply to rehabilitation construction of existing buildings. However, where the construction, plan arrangement, and approximate number of occupants of a property are to remain unchanged, and the fire protection provisions of the local code are complied with, noncompliance with the provisions of this chapter may be acceptable, when so determined by proper local authority.

C. Exits.

(1) One- and two-family dwellings of one, two, or three stories, and one- or two-story multifamily buildings having not more than four living units above the first floor shall have the following two means of egress:

(a) One exit which is a doorway, a protected passage, or a stairway; and

(b) A second exit as provided in ยง C(1)(a), above, or a secondary exit such as a fire escape or openable window.

(2) Access to required exits may not necessitate passage through another living unit, nor may either exit be subject to locking by any device that would impede or prohibit ready egress.

(3) Every below-grade living unit shall have direct and convenient access to the outside of the building at grade level.

(4) All interior stairways required to be enclosed shall lead directly or through an enclosed passageway to a street, or to an open space that is accessible to a street. This passageway shall conform to the requirements applying to the stair enclosure.

D. Interior Fire Protection.

(1) Firewall, Party, or Lot-Line Wall. Firewall, party, or lot-line walls shall be continuous from the foundation to the underside of, or through, the roof, with openings in firewalls only in corridors and where properly protected with appropriate automatic fire doors. There may not be openings in party or lot-line walls. All these walls shall effectively prevent the passage of fire at every floor-ceiling intersection with the wall.

(2) Walls, Floors, and Ceiling Construction. Existing wall, floor, and ceiling construction separating living units or separating a living unit from a public corridor where it is stripped down for new finish materials, or where it is new construction, shall have a fire resistance rating of at least 3/4-hour, or 1 hour if in condominium ownership.

(3) Interior Finish.

(a) Interior finish materials of walls, partitions (fixed or movable), ceilings, and interior trim may not be subject to excessive surface flame spread, or in burning may not give off excessive amounts of smoke or toxic gasses.

(b) If new interior wall and ceiling finish materials are used, the surface flame spread shall not exceed the class or range of rating shown in Table .06-1. Existing undisturbed finish materials where considered to have a rating above 200 should be covered with a flame retardent paint.

E. Exterior Fire Protection.

(1) Exterior Stairways.

(a) An exterior stairway may be acceptable as a required exit, provided that its use is not impaired by ice or snow.

(b) Exterior stairs and landings shall be of noncombustible materials except on buildings two stories in height.

(2) Roof Covering.

(a) Roof coverings shall be capable of resisting fire appropriate to the type of construction and location, and new installations shall be in accordance with nationally recognized standards. Fire retardant qualities of roof coverings shall conform to the classification established by NFPA.

(b) New roof coverings on one- and two-family dwellings and on wood frame buildings shall provide a fire resistance equivalent to a Class C roof according to NFPA classification.

(c) New roof coverings on buildings of fire resistive, noncombustible, and exterior-protected construction having more than two living units shall provide a fire resistance equivalent to a Class A or Class B roof according to U.L. classification except that where the roof area of the property is less than 3,000 square feet and is well separated from adjacent properties, the roof covering may be Class C.

F. Fire Protection System. An approved "smoke detector" shall be provided in each sleeping area of a rehabilitated unit as defined in Chapter 11 of the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code (1973 edition).

TABLE .06-1 Flame Spread Classification of Interior Finish

Location (1)(2) Class(5) Flame Spread Rating
Maximum Range
Exits and exit access (halls, corridors, entries) A or B 0-75
Within living unit(3)(4) A, B, or C 0-200
Public rooms A, B, or C 0-200
Service rooms, enclosing fire hazardous equipment A 0-25


(1) Exclude windows, trim, and doors not more than 25 square-foot area from flame spread calculations.

(2) Finish floors and floor coverings are not included in flame spread requirements but may not be a fire hazard.

(3) Twenty-five percent of the combined wall area of any single room may be of a finish material having a flame spread rating of up to 225.

(4) Kitchen cabinets and counter tops should not exceed a 200 flame spread rating.

(5) Classification in accordance with NFPA No. 101, "Life Safety Code," as follows:

Class A = 0 - 25 Flame Spread

Class B = 25 - 75 Flame Spread

Class C = 75 - 200 Flame Spread

Class D = 200 - 500 Flame Spread

Note: Flame spread rating based on either of the following standard tests:

(a) ASTM E84 (Tunnel Test)

(b) ASTM E162-62T (Radiant Panel Test)

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