Aerial Dramatic View of Downtown Chicago at Sunset - Lake Shore Drive

Understanding the New Generator Systems Requirements in Chicago

Flex Air Co Flex Air News, Helicopter Lifts, Helicopter Services

In the bustling city of Chicago, the importance of reliable power cannot be overstated. With a vast array of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, the need for dependable generator systems is paramount. The city’s building codes have recently been updated to include new requirements for generator systems, a move aimed at enhancing safety and ensuring compliance with the latest standards. This article delves into these new generator systems requirements in Chicago and their implications for building owners and managers.

New Generator Systems Requirements

Chicago’s building codes now mandate that all residential buildings over 80 feet in height must have an approved, on-site backup power supply for emergency lighting and exit signs. High-rise buildings and other structures complying with high-rise laws under 300 feet in height must have their backup power supply sourced from a completely independent service company main or from an on-site generator that complies with Article 701.

For high-rise buildings exceeding 300 feet, the backup power must come from an on-site diesel generator that meets the standards of Article 701 B. Furthermore, every existing and new high-rise building must have an independent on-site power supply to power exit and escape signs.

Fuel Supply and Generator Standards

The fuel supply for these generators is strictly regulated. For high-rise buildings under 300 feet, they can use natural gas or diesel fuel, complying with Section 18-27-701.16. However, high-rise buildings 300 feet or over must use diesel fuel, following Section 18-27-701.1.

All generators must meet the UL 2200 standard set by Underwriters Laboratories. They must also have enough fuel to operate for at least six hours at full load. The preferred type of fuel for the generator is diesel, which should be stored in a tank directly connected to the generator or in the generator room.

Generator Room Requirements

The generator and its associated equipment must be housed in a room separate from the main electric room. This room must have a fire barrier rated accordingly in compliance with Chicago building codes. The fuel tanks in the room must be used only for the generator. Similarly, the only piping present in the room should be that of sprinkler systems, and other system piping is allowed only if they go uninterrupted.

Why Emergency Generator Systems Are Necessary?

It’s clear that emergency generator systems are not just a luxury, but a legal requirement in many situations where a power outage could pose a threat to human life. According to Chicago Building Codes, these systems are mandatory in several scenarios:

  • Assembly groups A, which are locations where people gather for various purposes, must have emergency generator systems.
  • All structures, including tents, must have their exit signs backed up by emergency generators.
  • Complexes or buildings where toxic or flammable materials are stored must have an emergency power backup.
  • High-rise and underground buildings are required to have a system for backup and emergency power.

Institutions like prisons or mental health facilities must have all doors equipped with an emergency power backup for exit sign illumination. Additionally, elevator components such as control panels, lights, ventilators, and other equipment must have an emergency power backup in all cases.

Furthermore, there are special requirements for emergency power in residential units, business units, and educational institutions. Large residential units must be equipped with both emergency and standby power. Similarly, business units and educational institutions must have emergency generator systems if they meet certain conditions, such as having a floor more than 75 feet in use above the lowest access for fire trucks, or areas more than 15,000 sq. Ft. with a total floor area of 100,000 sq. Ft.

The emergency generator systems in these units must be capable of powering exit signs, escape lights, elevator car lights, alarm systems, automatic fire detectors, fire alarms, and electric fire pumps. This highlights the critical role of emergency generator systems in ensuring safety and compliance with building codes.

What This Means For You

The new generator systems requirements in Chicago underscore the city’s commitment to safety and compliance. These regulations not only ensure that buildings have a reliable power backup during emergencies but also enhance the safety of the building occupants. As we move forward, we can expect to see more cities adopting similar measures, contributing to a safer and more resilient urban landscape.

As the city of Chicago implements new generator system requirements, it’s crucial for businesses and property owners to be prepared for these changes. One way to ensure readiness is to have a reliable helicopter lifting company’s number on speed dial. Helicopter lifting services have been growing in popularity due to their efficiency and ability to handle heavy loads, making them an excellent solution for transporting and installing large generator systems.

FlexAir is a leading provider of helicopter lifting services, offering a range of solutions to meet the diverse needs of businesses. With a strong commitment to safety and professionalism, FlexAir ensures that each operation is carried out to the highest standards. So, as you navigate the new generator system requirements in Chicago, consider FlexAir as your go-to partner for efficient and reliable helicopter lifting services.