Fire Department Access, Part 3: Proximity to Buildings

As discussed in Code Red Consultant’s prior Insights on fire department access, roadway dimensional criteria as well as materials and maintenance are critical to the design and longevity of a project to ensure responding apparatus can access a site.  This week’s blog will focus on the proximity of fire department access roads to the building itself as required by 527 CMR 1.00:  Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code.

Fire department access roads are required to be provided for every facility, building, or portion thereof. The location of the fire department access road relative to the building is required to comply with 527 CMR The specific requirements for fire department access roads are as follows:

  • It shall extend to within 50 feet of at least one exterior door that can be opened from the outside and that provides access to the interior of the building;
  • Is required to extend to within 150 feet of all portions of the exterior wall of the building, or 250 feet where the building is provided with an NFPA 13 sprinkler system (note that NFPA 13D and NFPA 13R systems cannot be used to satisfy this requirement);
  • Dead end access roads in excess of 150 feet are required to be provided with an appropriate turning radius or T-turn. All fire department access road requirements are required to be provided for the turning areas (13’-6” height, 20’ width)

It is recommended that all fire department access roads are reviewed with the local fire department.

Our next post will focus on traffic calming devices relative to fire department access.  If you have questions on fire department access compliance, please reach out to our office at to find out how we can assist.