According the New York Magazine dated June 23, 2008, new building codes effective today (July 1, 2008) will change how the doors, the stairs, and smoke detectors look in new apartments. (Illustration by Kagan McLeod.)
Entrances: One of the coveted touches of the luxury loft—your key operates the elevator, which opens directly into your apartment—will go away. Elevators must now open into a vestibule, an arrangement that’s deemed safer in a fire.
Internal Stairs: Indoor staircase risers—that is, the upright back on each step—may have no more than four inches of their height open, and handrails must have vertical uprights. Designers are going to hate this one. That floaty glass staircase in the Soho Apple store? You won’t see another one like it.
Smoke Detectors: No more individual smoke detectors in bedrooms and hallways of newly constructed apartments — they’ll have to be wired together. Sprinkler systems will be required in residential buildings of three units or more, in attached two-family homes, and even in single-family homes of over three stories.
Fire Escape Stairs: In many buildings, the two required sets of fire stairs are intertwined to save floor space. That’s over, in buildings of more than twelve stories. New stairwells will have to be wider, too—up to 44 inches from 36—and sheathed in impact-resistant Sheetrock. We may see fewer sliver buildings because of the smaller salable square footage on each floor, adds Michael Zenreich, an architect who helped write the new code.
(Excerpts from article by S. Jhonna Robledo)
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