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Plan Review Information

Here you will find general information pertaining to plan review.

If you have a question that is not addressed here, please check the Plan Review F.A.Q. page.

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IMS Shop Drawing Review Process - This short video explains the options and procedure for reviewing fire protection system shop drawings using the IMS online system.

When is a plan review required?

A Plan Review is required for all buildings to be constructed, renovated, repaired or the occupancy changed. A change of occupancy is determined by the classifications of the Life Safety Code; NFPA 101 (See the National Fire Protection Association link on the Codes Used page).

Some examples of occupancy change include:

  • A church leases an existing warehouse and wants to hold service in that building.
    The change is from Storage occupancy to Assembly occupancy.
  • A real estate company wants to renovate a fast food establishment for use as an office.
    The change is from Mercantile (or Assembly if more than 50 occupants were capable of being seated) to Business occupancy.
    Even if they leave the kitchen as they found it!
  • A church wants to use some of their classrooms for a Day Care center.
    The change is from Business to Day Care.
    Some modifications will probably be required whether or not there is a fire alarm system or if, for instance, the wall finishes are not class "C"

A review is required even if no structural or plan modifications are being made.

In a case where a new Air Conditioning system is being installed to replace an existing system, a review is necessary. We do need to review replacement of systems to verify the placement of smoke detectors. Where this new equipment is installed, that equipment must comply with the current code. The situation could exist where an old piece of equipment that has fire stats is being replaced. We will need to verify that the new equipment has the appropriate smoke detector fan shut down features required by the current code. New work in an existing building is required to comply with the current code. If the new HVAC system will require new or renovated mechanical room(s), then a floor plan in the submittal would need to include these rooms indicating any required rated walls or door assemblies and any information as these new spaced relate to egress systems and other life safety systems such as a requirement for additional sprinkler heads or connections to the existing fire alarm system.

Are there any exceptions to a required plan review?

  • The primary legal exceptions are new or renovated one or two family dwellings. If you are contemplating opening a business in your home that invites the public, such as a Day Care Center or a Hair or Nail Salon, then you are required to submit for review, even if you are not intending to modify the structure. Note that some modification may be required due to the changes of Occupancy for that part of the home that you intend to use in your business.

  • Replacement of roof surface materials is considered maintenance and would not require submittal.

If you have any concern as to whether a modification requires plan review, write a letter to this office addressed to the Plan Review Division. Specify in the letter exactly what you propose to do to the building, indicate the occupancy classification of the building, the occupant load, and the square footage of the building. Specifically ask in your letter whether a Plan Review will be required. We will respond.

How do I calculate the occupant load of a space?

The Life Safety Code specifies in each occupancy chapter the occupancy load calculation requirements. This is generally based upon a square footage allowance for each occupant. The square footage involved will be either the GROSS square footage which includes all spaces on the floor including stairwells, corridors, halls, foyers, lobbies, storage closets, mechanical rooms, etc. Occupancy calculations for Assembly, Mercantile, and Classrooms use the NET square footage which would not include restrooms, offices, closets, mechanical rooms and the like.

Also, in assembly occupancies where seating is a function, either the number of fixed chairs, or, if bench or pew seating is provided, then 18 inches of length of pew or bench per occupant defines the number of occupants.

The following is from the current Life Safety Code Table which represents a compilation of the occupant load factors specified by the individual occupancy chapters of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code:

Use Sq. Ft. (Sq. M.)
Less concentrated use without fixed seating 15 net (1.4)
Concentrated use without fixed seating 7 net (0.65)
Waiting space 3 net (0.28)
Library Stack areas 100 gross (9.3)
Library Reading areas 50 net (4.6)
Street floor and sales basement 30 gross (2.8)
Multiple street floors - each 40 gross (3.7)
Other floors 60 gross (5.6)
Storage, shipping 300 gross (27.9)
Malls See Table
Classroom area 20 net (1.9)
Shops and other vocational areas 50 net (4.6)
DAY CARE CENTERS 35 net (3.3)
HOTEL AND APARTMENT 200 gross (18.6)
Sleeping departments 120 gross (11.1)
Inpatient treatment departments 240 gross (22.3)
These figures, based on counts of typical buildings, represent the average maximum density of occupancy. You must use these calculations as a minimum occupant load to determine egress requirements. If, however, you provide for sufficient egress, (width of corridors, exit door width, etc.) the occupant load may exceed the calculated load above.

How do I know when I must hire an architect or engineer (a Professional of Record)?

A Professional of Record (POR) who is a Louisiana licensed Architect or Civil Engineer is required under the following conditions:

Drawings and specifications for all buildings, other than private single family and duplex dwellings, shall/must be prepared by a Louisiana licensed architect or civil engineer if so required by the Architects Licensing Law, L.R.S. 37:155. A professional of record is required if the new building or occupancy change exceeds the following square footage limits for the following uses:

  • Assembly = 2650
  • Educational/Day Care = 2500
  • Health Care/Detention = 2500
  • Apartments = 4000
  • Residential Board and Care = 4000
  • Mercantile = 4000
  • Business = 4000
  • Factory/Industrial = 5000
  • Non Hazardous Storage = 6250
  • High Hazardous Storage or Process = 1500
  • Renovation projects exceeding $125,000 and affecting life safety must be submitted by an architect or engineer. If the building changes use (i.e. storage building changes to church use, etc.), then use schedule for square footage limitations listed above regardless of renovation cost.

What do I need to submit for a plan review?

  1. Completed application.
  2. Plan review fee.
  3. One set of drawings and specifications and, when applicable, stamped by the architect or civil engineer (POR) preparing the documents. (See above)
  4. Submittals that require a POR that do not, or have incomplete/partial submittals will be returned without being reviewed.
  5. Brief description of how building is to be used.

Drawings for all work shall include:

  • Site plan drawn to scale showing project, distances to nearby buildings, fences, parking, handicapped access, location of hazardous features such as fuel storage or incinerators.
  • Floor plan(s) drawn to scale showing walls and partitions, openings, door swings, built-in features, changes in elevation such as steps or ramps, dimensions, and notes to indicate what is shown and the use (room name) of each space.
  • Details required to explain construction and/or other features.
  • Exterior elevations if appropriate. Stair and railing details, plans, and sections.
  • Schedules for doors, windows, hardware, and room finishes.
  • Drawings of heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Electrical drawings showing service, fire alarm, exit lighting and emergency lighting where required.
  • The drawings shall clearly indicate what is existing and what changes are proposed.
  • A ground floor plan showing required exits and floor plans of the entire floor(s) where work is contemplated (such as in high rise buildings).

Drawings and Specifications shall comply with:

  1. Louisiana Revised Statues (see Fire Marshal's Act)
  2. Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) current adopted edition
  3. National Fire Codes (for NFPA edition, see the Fire Marshal's Act for LAC Title 55:V:103.A)
  4. Accessibility Standard (ADA ABA)
  5. Applicable parts of International Building Code (IBC)

How do I submit addenda, revisions, etc.?

  1. Information cannot be added to submittals logged in unless requested by the review architect.
  2. Additional information will be reviewed only as a complete new submittal or as requested by the review architect.
  3. Addenda and change orders submissions are handled as separate projects and therefore must be submitted with a completed Plan Review Application and appropriate review fee. Some addenda reviews may require resubmission of the entire project.

What are the fees for a plan review?

Calculate the required review fee for Architectural Plan Review from the Fee Computation schedule, found on the Plan Review Forms page. The fees in the Review Fee Table includes postage.

Review fees for Systems such as Fire Alarm, Sprinklers, Tanks and Hood or other Suppresssion Systems are calculated in the appropriate schedule on the checklist for that system type. This can all, also, be found on the Plan Review Forms page.

A copy of the fee determination procedure may be obtained by contacting the Fire Marshal's Office at the Baton Rouge address.

Notes on Fees:

  1. Each submittal must show square footage and occupancy classification.
  2. High Rise submittals must be designated on front of application form in order to accurately determine the plan review fee.
  3. Sprinkler Systems, Suppression Systems, and Fire Alarm Systems are submitted under a different fee schedule. (See Plan Review Forms page)

Filling out the application form

This information is provided to answer your questions on the proper information requested on the Plan Review Application Form. It is the intent of the form designer to make the form self-explanatory, but occasionally confusion arises.

The information that is requested on the Plan Review Application is necessary for this office to properly track and administer the plan review and inspection process.

In addition, the information provided helps us ensure that the proper licensing laws have been met and that your project is being safely designed in accordance with appropriate codes and regulations.

Fill out the all of the appropriate required information for your project as follows:

Please check only one of the boxes identifying the type of review you are requesting. If you are not submitting a system design for review, you will check the "Architectural Review" box. In addition, if you are requesting a "Foundation Only" or "Shell Only" review, you must check the appropriate box for that information.

For a "System Review", unless you have been ordered to install a fire alarm, sprinkler, or suppression system by a field inspector in your existing building, you are required to enter the "Architectural Review" Project Number that your project was assigned at the initial Architectural Review. The six digit number, preceded by the letters "PO" can be found on the review letter you received at that review. Include a copy of the architectural review in each system review package.

Provide the name you want us to use for all submittals for your project. Please use exactly the same name on all architectural and system submittals so that a search can be performed by that name in our database. A suggestion is that if you know you will have systems in your project, then fill out the form completely with the exception of the PURPOSE and PREPARER SHOP DRAWINGS blocks and run a copy for each system that you will submit. Then just till in the non-repetitve information for each submittal.

Do not put your mailing address here unless you are doing work in the same building that you occupy at time of application. Provide the actual municipal address of the project to be reviewed. Check with your local codes and permits office or the post office to determine what address they will assign. Use this address exactly on all applications and on any correspondence with this office. If a suite or building space number is available to further identify the project, provide that information also.

If your project is not physically in a city, then enter the city that your mail would be addressed to. Then indicate in the adjacent boxes whether the project is inside or outside the city limits and the parish that your project is located in.

For the Architectural Review, insert the total projected cost of the project to include all construction without the costs of land. For Systems Reviews, only insert the actual cost or contract amount of the system being reviewed. For example, the entire project may cost $100,000 while the Fire Alarm System may cost $3,000.



Documentation put together for you by the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Flame Spread Rating of Wood Products Used as Wall or Ceiling Finish

Flame Spread Ratings of Miscellaneous Products

This page was last modified on March 30, 2023