3.1901.4 Enclosed Common Area Stairwells and Elevators (Floor to Floor Access), Including Rooftop Elevator Mechanical Rooms

Multifamily Compartmentalization Techniques
Desired Outcome: 
Control of one or more of the following: building air leakage, stack effect, noise transmission, or improved indoor air quality
For supporting material, see Referenced Standards.

Conduct pre-inspection in accordance with SWS 2.0100.4 Work Area Inspection and Stabilization i

Gaps, cracks, and holes in fire separations located within the work area will be visually identified and incorporated into air sealing work scope, including those that span two conditioned or unconditioned spaces

Where drawings are available that identify specific fire-resistance ratings (i.e., 1 hour, 2 hour), materials and methods will be employed to preserve or restore such rating

Where drawings are unavailable or do not identify specific fire-resistance ratings, the fire-resistance rating of the assembly may be inferred from the current construction (i.e., single 5/8 sheetrock, concrete masonry unit), and materials and methods employed will be consistent with restoring or preserving such inferred fire-resistance rating

Existing mechanical fire control system will be operational, including stairwell doors and closers, fire sprinklers and alarms, and automatic smoke vents

Pipes carrying water will be protected from freezing (e.g., contained stairwell is less conditioned, where fire suppression water pipes are sometimes located)

Work order repairs regarding elevators and fire control systems will be reviewed with all relevant authorities (e.g., elevator and fire control maintenance services)

Repairs necessary to work treatment areas and protect or preserve integrity of energy improvement will be completed before subject work begins

Provide a safe and stable work environment

Repair moisture and structure-related issues

Ensure effective operation of fire control system

Ensure approval to proceed with work scope

Work coordination among trades

Work will be coordinated with all other trades performing work in compartmentalized spaces to schedule system wide test-out verification requirements

Verification will be performed after all work from all trades is completed

Ensure system wide air sealing and pressure boundary benefits will be achieved

Identification of penetrations

Penetrations will be identified using visual inspections, infrared thermography, smoke, and/or pressure tests ( ASTM ASTM ASTM International, www.astm.org E1186-03 [2009])

Worker access will be provided by all relevant authorities to ensure repairs can be made (e.g., elevator shaft, elevator controls). Workers will follow the OSHA OSHA U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.osha.gov lock out standard.

Locate air leakage pathways to repair

Provide access for workers

Comply with access limitation requirements


Health and safety concerns for occupants and workers, in relation to repairs and materials, will be addressed in accordance with OSHA OSHA U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.osha.gov standards ( OSHA OSHA U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.osha.gov 1926, 1910)

The area will be prepared and isolated in accordance with health and safety standards for the application and materials (e.g., extreme temperatures, lead, asbestos)

Work lighting, work platform, and adequate ventilation will be provided

Provide a safe work environment

Provide safe indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in the work environment

Provide effective repair access

Installation, sealant, and materials selection

Sealants and materials will be compatible with their intended surfaces and applied in accordance with manufacturer specifications

Selection will be durable, pest resistant, and have a weather-appropriate seal

Indoor sealants will be low volatile organic compound ( VOC VOC Volatile organic compound ) products that meet independent testing and verification protocols, such as Green Seal GS-36, "GREENGUARD Children and Schools," or comparable certifications

Fire-resistance-rated assemblies will be provided with sealants permitted by the authority having jurisdiction and adopted building code

Prevent intrusion of moisture and pests into the sealed assembly

Prevent exposing workers or occupants to excessive VOC VOC Volatile organic compound levels

Ensure sealant meets or exceeds the performance characteristics of the assembly and is compliant with local fire code requirements


Repairs will be verified by visual inspections, infrared thermography, smoke, and/or pressure tests consistent with the pre-inspection

Any pressure balance test-out verification will be performed after all work from all trades is completed

Ensure quality and effectiveness of air sealing

Verification: stairwell pressure balancing

All doors, hatches, and louvers in stairwells will be tested and adjusted as a system to ensure effective operation and closure

Verification will be performed only after all air sealing work is completed (due to potential changes in pressure relationships across the stairwell and adjacent space boundary)

Ensure doors, hatches, and louvers operate as a system

Property manager education

Documentation of material and maintenance requirements will be provided to property manager

Staff are equipped to properly maintain the system