Environmental Health and Safety

Interior Finish Review Process

The Michigan Bureau of Fire Services (MBFS) generally considers interior finish upgrades to be "cosmetic remodeling". "Cosmetic remodeling" is defined as follows:

"Cosmetic remodeling" means surface changes solely to the wall, floor, and ceiling that do not decrease the fire rating of the wall, floor, or ceiling, including the replace of windows and doors.

While MBFS does not require the University to submit plans for projects that involves only cosmetic remodeling, the University is obligated to assure that such projects are in compliance with the codes and standards adopted by the MBFS, primarily the 1997 Edition of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code. The University also complies with the interior finish requirements of the 2006 Edition of the Michigan Building Code. In buildings that fall under the jurisdiction of MBFS, the University must comply with the requirements of both the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code and the Michigan Building Code, whichever is stricter. The requirements will vary depending on the occupancy classification of the building (see summary below). In buildings that do not fall under the jurisdiction of MBFS, the University complies solely with the requirements of the Michigan Building Code.

Please note that this guideline applies to interior wall and ceiling finish, which is defined as, "the exposed interior surfaces of buildings, including but not limited to: fixed or moveable walls and partitions; toilet room privacy partitions, columns; ceilings; and interior wainscoting, paneling or other finish applied structurally or for decoration, acoustical correction, surface insulation, structural fire resistance or similar purposes, but not including trim." This guideline is NOT meant to cover code requirements related to expanded vinyl wall coverings, foam plastic, pyroxilin plastic, or textile wall and ceiling finishes. The use of these materials is generally discouraged. If these materials will be used, NFPA 101 Life Safety Code and/or Michigan Building Code requirements, as applicable, must be met. The Codes should be consulted for further guidance in these cases.

Summary of NFPA 101 Interior Finish Requirements

Business Occupancy: Interior wall and ceiling finish shall be Class A or Class B in exits and enclosed corridors furnishing access to exits; and Class A, Class B, or Class C in all other areas. If the building is equipped with automatic sprinkler protection, Class C interior finish may be used in all areas. Interior floor finish shall be Class I or Class II in corridors and exits.

Assembly Occupancy: Interior wall and ceiling finish materials shall be a Class A or Class B in all corridors and lobbies, and shall be Class A in enclosed stairways. Interior wall and ceiling finish materials shall be Class A or Class B in general assembly areas having occupant loads of more than 300, and shall be Class A, Class B, or Class C in assembly areas having occupant loads of 300 or fewer. Screens on which pictures are projected shall comply with the requirements of Class A or Class B interior finish.

In an assembly occupancy equipped with automatic sprinkler protection, Class C interior wall and ceiling finish materials are permitted in any location where Class B is required, and Class B interior wall and ceiling finish materials are permitted in any location where Class A is required.

Fabric and films used for decorative purposes, all draperies and curtains, and similar furnishings must meet the flame resistance requirements of NFPA 701, Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Flame-Resistant Textiles and Films.

Summary of Michigan Building Code Interior Finish Requirements

Michigan Building Code requirements for interior finish are summarized in Table 803.5. Click here to view