Appendix Indoor Trade Show and Exhibitions

N101 (New), N101.1 (New), N101.2 (New), N101.3 (New), N102 (New), N102.1 (New), N103 (New), N103.1 (New), N103.2 (New), N103.3 (New), N104 (New), N104.1 (New), N104.2 (New), N104.3 (New), N104.4 (New), N104.5 (New), N104.6 (New), N104.7 (New), N105 (New), N105.1 (New), N105.2 (New), N105.3 (New), N105.4 (New), N105.5 (New), , N106 (New), N106.1 (New), N106.2 (New), N107 (New), N107.1 (New), N107.2 (New), N107.2.1 (New), N107.3 (New), N107.3.1 (New), N107.3.1.1 (New), N107.3.1.2 (New), N107.3.1.3 (New), N107.3.1.4 (New), N107.3.1.5 (New), N107.3.1.6 (New), N107.3.1.7 (New), N107.3.1.8 (New), N107.3.1.9 (New), N107. (New), N107. (New), N107. (New), N107.4 (New), N107.5 (New), N107.6 (New), N107.7 (New), N107.8 (New), N107.8.1 (New), N107.8.2 (New), N107.8.3 (New), N107.8.4 (New), N108 (New), N108.1 (New), N108.2 (New)

Proponent : Michael O’Brian (; Bruce Johnson, representing F-CAC (

2015 International Fire Code
Add new text as follows:

N101.1 Scope Indoor trade shows and exhibitions with temporary vendor displays or booths within any indoor occupancy classification shall be in accordance with this appendix and all other applicable requirements of the International Fire Code.

Exceptions; Indoor trade shows and exhibition areas do not need to comply with this appendix where the aggregate exhibition area:
1. occupies less than 1500 square feet of floor area that:
a. are located in an unsprinklered building
b. does not include multi-level exhibits or booths, and
c. has at least two remote exits or exit access doors in compliance with Chapter 10 of the International Fire Code.


2. occupies less than 4500 square feet of floor area that:
a. are located in buildings equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1with a minimum design of ordinary hazard Group 1
b. does not include any covered or multi-level booths, and
c. has at least two exits or exit access doors in compliance with Chapter 10 of the International Fire Code.

N101.2 Permit required An operational permit for trade shows and exhibitions shall be required as set forth in Section 105.6.14
N101.3 Application A permit application for a trade show or exhibition shall be submitted to the fire code official  prior to the start of the event in a time frame established by the jurisdiction. The application shall include documentation that identifies:
1. The means of egress,
2. The location and width of exits and aisles,
3. Location of exit signs,
4. Total square footage of space,
5. Location and arrangement of all booths and cooking equipment,
6. Location of all fire protection equipment,
7. Type and location of heating and electrical equipment where applicable,
8. Location of covered or multi-level booths,
9. Construction documents for covered or multi-level booths,
10. Location and quantity of highly combustible goods storage,
11. Location and type of vehicle display.

N102.1 Definitions For the purpose of this appendix, certain terms are defined as follows:

COOKING. Heating food products to a temperature of 145 F (63 C) or higher by baking, braising, boiling, frying or grilling.


COVERED BOOTH. An exhibit that has an obstruction placed over the exhibit above floor level that resembles a roof, canopy, tent or other obstruction, other than vertical signs or banners.


MULTI-LEVEL BOOTH. An exhibit that has a second level or tier constructed on top of the exhibit or portion of the exhibit that is accessible to the public, or includes a live load above the exhibit area floor level.

N103.1 Fire safety and evacuation plan A fire safety and evacuation plan shall be provided in accordance with section 404.2.
Exception: Where the fire code official determines that the nature of the exhibition, display or activities therein does not pose an increased hazard to public safety.
N103.2 Fire watch personnel When, in the opinion of the fire code official, it is essential for public safety in a trade show or exhibition because of the number of persons, or the nature of the performance, exhibition, display or activity, the owner, agent or lessee shall provide one or more fire watch personnel in accordance with section 403.12.1.
N103.3 Crowd managers Where events involve a gathering of more than 1,000 people, trained crowd managers shall be provided in accordance with Section 403.12.3.
N104.1 General Interior finish, interior trim, furniture, furnishings, decorative materials and decorative vegetation used in exhibition areas shall comply with this section and Chapter 8 of the International Fire Code.

N104.2 Interior finish The materials used for wall and ceiling finishes of exhibits, booths and displays used in exhibition areas shall comply with one of the following:
1. Materials in exhibition areas in unsprinklered buildings shall comply with Class A requirements when tested in accordance ASTM E84 or UL 723.
2. Materials in exhibition areas in buildings equipped throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 shall comply with Class B requirements when tested in accordance ASTM E84 or UL 723.
3. Materials in exhibition areas of sprinklered or unsprinklered building shall comply with
 NFPA 286 requirements in accordance with Section 803.1.2
1. Materials having a thickness less than 0.036 inch (0.9 mm) applied directly to the surface of walls and ceilings.
2. Exposed portions of structural members complying with the requirements of buildings of Type IV construction in accordance with the International Building Code shall not be subject to interior finish requirements.


N104.3 Textiles Textiles used as interior wall and ceiling finish materials, including materials having woven or nonwoven, napped, tufted, looped or similar surface, shall comply with Section 803.5.
N104.4 Decorative vegetation All decorative vegetation shall comply with Section 806.
N104.5 Decorative materials All decorative materials, other than decorative vegetation, shall comply with Section 807.
N104.6 Signs Foam plastic signs that are not affixed to interior building surfaces shall comply with Section 808.3.
N104.7 Fire-retardant coatings Fire retardant coatings shall comply with Section 803.4.
N105.1 Construction documents Construction documents for all multi-level booths shall be stamped by a licensed structural engineer or architect and shall be submitted with the permit application by the fire code official and the building code official.
N105.2 Structural design Multi-level booths shall be designed and constructed to comply with Chapter 16 of the International Building Code.
N105.3 Means of egress Upper levels of multi-level booths with an occupant load greater than 10 persons shall have at least 2  exits or exit access which are separated in accordance with Section 1007.1.1.
N105.4 Automatic sprinkler systems An approved automatic sprinkler system shall be provided in multi-level booths exceeding 400 square feet in floor area per level.

N105.5 Inspection 


Inspection to verify that multi-level booths are constructed in accordance with the construction documents and structural design details required by this section shall be approved by the building official.




N105.5 Smoke alarms Each multi-level booth with a floor area exceeding 120 square feet on any level shall be provided with smoke alarms on the ceiling of each booth level in accordance with 907.2
N106.1 Automatic sprinkler systems An approved automatic sprinkler system shall be provided in covered booths exceeding 100 square feet in floor area.
N106.2 Smoke alarms Each covered booth with a floor area exceeding 120 square feet, shall be provided with smoke alarms on the ceiling in accordance with 907.2.
N107.1 Storage and operations Storage and operation in trade shows and exhibition areas shall comply with Section N107.2 through N107.7.
N107.2 Hazardous materials Hazardous materials shall comply with this section and Chapters 51 through 67.

N107.2.1 Specific prohibitions. The following hazardous materials shall not be stored, handled or used in trade shows and exhibitions:
1. Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, and 1.5 explosives as classified by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
2. Detonable, Class I and Class II organic peroxides.
3. Class I-A flammable liquids.
4. Class 4 and Class 3 oxidizers.
5. Class 4 and Class 3 (unstable) reactive materials.
6. Class 3 water-reactive materials.
7. Pyrophoric materials.
8. Highly toxic materials
9. Toxic gases.
10. Fueling or defueling of flammable or combustible that are stored or used as liquids, cryogenics or compressed gases.


N107.3 Vehicles Liquid- or gas-fueled vehicles, boats or other motor craft shall not be located in a trade show or exhibition area, except as permitted in section 314.4.
N107.3.1 Display of motor vehicles Where permitted, liquid- and gas-fueled and electric vehicles and equipment used for display within structures shall be in accordance with Sections N107.3.1.1 through N107.
N107.3.1.1 Batteries in liquid-and gas fueled vehicles. Batteries shall be disconnected in liquid-and gas fueled vehicles in an appropriate manner.
N107.3.1.2 Batteries in electric vehicles Electric vehicles shall be rendered inoperable by removing fuses or other approved methods. Batteries are not required to be disconnected.
N107.3.1.3 Fuel Vehicles or equipment shall not be fueled or defueled within the structure.

N107.3.1.4 Quantity limit Fuel in the fuel tank shall not exceed one-quarter of the tank capacity or 5 gallons (19 L), whichever is less.


N107.3.1.5 Inspection Fuel systems shall be inspected for leaks.
N107.3.1.6 Closure Fuel tank openings shall be locked and sealed to prevent the escape of vapors.
N107.3.1.7 Location The location of vehicles or equipment shall not obstruct the means of egress.

N107.3.1.8 Compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or Hydrogen powered vehicles. When a compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LP-gas) Hydrogen powered vehicle is parked inside a place of assembly, all the following conditions shall be met:

1.    The quarter-turn shutoff valve or other shutoff valve on the outlet of the CNG or LP-gas container shall be closed and the engine shall be operated until it stops. Valves shall remain closed while the vehicle is indoors.


2.    The hot lead of the battery shall be disconnected.


3.     Dual-fuel vehicles equipped to operate on gasoline and CNG or LP-gas shall comply with this section and Sections 3104.18.1 through 3104.18.5.3 for gasoline-powered vehicles.

N107.3.1.9 Competitions and demonstrations. Liquid and gas-fueled vehicles and equipment used for competition or demonstration within a structure shall comply with Sections N107.3.9.1 through N107.3.9.3.

N107. Fuel storage Fuel for vehicles or equipment shall be stored in approved containers in an approved location outside of the structure in accordance with Section 3104.17.2.


N107. Fueling Refueling shall be performed outside of the structure in an approved manner.
N107. Fuel spills Fuel spills shall be properly cleaned up immediately.

N107.4 Fueled equipment Fueled equipment including, but not limited to, motorcycles, mopeds, lawn-care equipment, portable generators and portable cooking equipment, shall not be stored, operated or repaired within a trade show or exhibition area, except as permitted in section 313.


N107.5 Highly combustible goods The display of highly combustible goods, including but not limited to fireworks, pyrotechnics, flammable liquids, combustible liquids, flammable liquefied gases, oxidizers, oxidizing gases, pyroxylin plastics and agricultural goods within 5 feet (1524 mm) of an exit or exterior exit doors is prohibited.
N107.6 Combustible materials. Storage of combustible materials within the trade show and exhibition areas shall comply with section 315.
N107.7 Cooking and open flame devices Cooking equipment and open flame devices shall comply with Section 308 the International Fire Code and Chapter 5 of the International Mechanical Code. All cooking equipment shall be separated from combustible materials by a horizontal distance of not less than 2 feet.
N107.8 LP-gas The storage, handling and use of LP-gas and LP-gas equipment shall be in accordance with Sections N107.8.1 through N107.8.3.
N107.8.1 LP-gas containers The use of LP-gas containers exceeding 12 pounds (5 kg) of water capacity shall be prohibited.  Where more than one container is present in the same area,  the aggregate weight of all containers shall not exceed 12 pounds (5 kg) of water capacity.
N107.8.2 General LP-gas equipment such as tanks, piping, hoses, fittings, valves, tubing and other related components shall be approved and in accordance with Chapter 61 of the International Fire Code and with the International Fuel Gas Code.
N107.8.3 Protection Portable LP-gas containers shall be securely fastened in place to prevent unauthorized movement.
N107.8.4 Spare containers Spare containers not connected to an approved appliance shall be stored in a location and manner approved by the fire code official.
N108.1 Means of egress Means of egress within the trade show and exhibition area shall comply with this section and Chapter 10 of the International Fire Code, taking into consideration the exhibit layout and anticipated crowd movement during the event.
N108.2 Storage in aisles and corridors Aisles and corridors in the exhibition area shall be kept clear of all obstructions that would inhibit egress from the exhibition area during all periods in which the  public is present, including rolled up floor coverings, exhibit containers, supplies, displays and other materials.

Reason: This proposal is submitted by the ICC Fire Code Action Committee (F-CAC) – insert standard F-CAC language here.The Fire Code Action Committee believes there is a need for an adoptable appendix covering larger, more complex trade shows and exhibitions, especially those that include covered and multi-level booths, which pose unique safety hazards.

This proposed appendix is intended to address hazards associated with larger, more complex trade shows and exhibitions. Although many of these requirements are already included in various locations in the IFC, some of the more important items, such as requirements for covering covered booths and multi-story booths are not in the existing code. In addition, having the requirements covering these events in a single location makes it easier for those organizing exhibitions, and individual exhibitors who are unfamiliar with the entire fire code to locate the requirements that are applicable to them.

N101.1 The minimum square foot thresholds clarify that the appendix does not cover small trade shows, like those with traditional tabletop displays and small booths. It only covers the larger exhibitions, and those with covered and multi-level booths, which pose additional safety concerns.

N101.3 clearly defines the information needed to obtain a permit for one of these larger exhibitions. Having this information in writing makes it easier for all parties to understand the information needed to gain approval for the exhibition.

N103 includes a convenient pointer to public safety related requirements in Chapter 4 of the IFC.

N104 includes a set of interior finish requirements that are applicable to an event in a Group A occupancy where there is a significant amount of interior finish material in the exhibits and booth themselves that was not present in the building when it was initially designed. Due to the potential fuel loading in the exhibition area, interior finish and trim requirements are required to comply Class A and Class B in unsprinklered and sprinkler buildings, respectfully. Cross references to other applicable requirements in Chapter 8 were provided in this section as a convenience to the code user.

N105 and N106 include requirements designed to provide an acceptable level of safety for the hazards associated with multi-level and covered booths. Both of these booth types have the ability to block sprinkler protection provided in the room in which the exhibition is held, and also can include a significant amount of fuel loading, which justifies temporary automatic sprinklers for the larger booths. In addition multi-level booths present concerns with structural integrity, which warrants being designed and constructed in accordance with Chapter 16 of the IBC.

N107 includes basic requirements for storage in exhibitions, and certain operations.

N108 includes a pointer to Chapter 10 means of egress requirements, and also restricts storage in aisles and corridors of exhibitions when the general public is present.

This general context of this proposal was submitted as a Public Comment last cycle in an attempt to simplify a reasonable set of requirements for ensuring safety at trade shows and exhibitions. Similar sets of requirements have been successfully used in jurisdictions such as Phoenix and Las Vegas. Concerns raised last cycle about a lack of definitions, a lack of minimum thresholds, a belief that the proposal was not yet ready for inclusion in the code, and might be better suited as an adoptable appendix.

This proposal addresses all of the concerns included in the previous Fire Code Technical Committee reason statement, for disapproval as follows:

This material is better suited for an adoptable appendix – this change proposes an adoptable Appendix N.

More realistic thresholds need to be established – the original proposal covered special events of all sizes, which conceivable covered a single tabletop booth. Section N101.1 limits the scope of the Appendix to exhibition areas over 1500 sq. ft. in unsprinklered buildings, and 3000 sq. ft. in sprinklered buildings. Exhibits including covered and multi-level booth are covered by these requirements regardless of size due to their unique safety concerns.

Several terms need definitions – with the scaled back scope and length of the proposal many of the terms that previously needed definitions were eliminated, Section N102 includes the definitions that are needed to properly apply the requirements in the proposed Appendix.

This proposal is submitted by the ICC Fire Code Action Committee (FCAC). The FCAC was established by the ICC Board of Directors to pursue opportunities to improve and enhance assigned International Codes with regard to fire safety and  hazardous materials in new and existing buildings and facilities and the protection of life and property in wildland urban interface areas.   In 2014 and 2015 the Fire-CAC has held 5 open meetings.  In addition, there were numerous conference calls, Regional Work Group and Task Group meetings for the current code development cycle, which included members of the committees as well as any interested parties, to discuss and debate the proposed changes. Related documentation and reports are posted on the FCAC website at: FCAC

Cost Impact: Will not increase the cost of construction
This appendix includes reasonable requirememnts for the safe operation of indoor trade shows and/or exhibitoons in existing structures that were not construted for this occupancy use group.  There are no additional costs related to construction.