Navigating Honolulu's New Residential High-Rise Fire Safety Ordinance

Michael A. Greer, Associate Principal and Unit Manager
Garner A. Palenske, Associate Principal

On July 14, 2017, a fire occurred at the Marco Polo high-rise condominium in downtown Honolulu, resulting in the deaths of three people and causing more than $100,000,000 in property damage. The building was constructed in 1971, years before fire sprinklers became mandatory for new construction in the city.

In reaction to this tragic event, the Honolulu Fire Department adopted Ordinance 19-4, which requires existing high-rise residential building to pass a fire life safety evaluation or be retrofitted with fire sprinkler systems. The ordinance was approved on May 2, 2019. Approximately four hundred buildings are subject to the requirements of Ordinance 19-4. Though the first deadline for required action is approximately one year away, affected building owners and managers should begin taking the necessary steps toward compliance.

In this webinar, WJE structural engineer Mike Greer and WJE fire protection engineer Garner Palenske review the events that led to adoption of the new Honolulu high-rise ordinance, clarify the submittal requirements and schedule for compliance, and provide recommendations to help building owners and managers effectively prepare.

By the end of the presentation, you will be able to:

  • Identify high-rise residential building fire challenges;
  • Outline the specifics of Ordinance 19-4, including schedule and submittal requirements;
  • Interpret the elements of the City-developed Fire Life Safety Evaluation matrix; and
  • Describe common noncompliant conditions found during site visitations.
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