301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

7.5.24 – LLSSA

Louisiana’s Senate Bill 489, now Act 534, signed into law in 2024, introduces significant changes to life safety protections within the state. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Stewart Cathey, aims to modify the code enforced by the State Fire Marshal, with the new rules set to take effect on July 1, 2026.

Key changes under Act 534 include:

  1. Code Changes:
    1. The bill replaces all National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes with those from the International Code Council (ICC), moving away from the NFPA 101 – Life Safety Code that has long been the standard in Louisiana​.
    2. This bill also replaces the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards (ADA) for Accessible Designs as adopted by the United States Dept. of Justice with the International Building Code Chapter 11-Accessibility, as adopted by council in compliance with the Accessible and Usage Buildings and Facilities.
    3. The bill provides that existing buildings do not have to comply with these changes, except for fire sprinkler systems in existing buildings which were lawfully constructed and maintained unless the fire marshal deems that a serious life hazard exists due to a particular condition.
    4. The Bill repeals the present law which provides that accessibility features are required for new public buildings or facilities and private buildings or facilities.
    5. This Bill repeals the present law which requires public buildings or facilities or private buildings or facilities to display signs.
    6. This Bill repeals the present law which prohibits obstruction of common or emergency exists.
  2. Decentralization: The state fire marshal may enter into agreements by letter of intent municipalities and parishes to provide code enforcement on behalf of the municipality or parish.
  3. Economic and Safety Concerns: There are concerns about the economic impact on the state and the potential risks to safety standards.
    1. The decentralized approach to building codes and inspections could lead to inconsistencies that may jeopardize life and property safety.
    2. The move from NFPA and ADA to the International Building Code will require and update to all training programs to ensure that this training meets the requirements of these new codes. This will also mean retraining all existing employees on the new code.  This economic burden on the small businesses in Louisiana could be significant.

These changes have prompted calls for careful review and action from industry professionals and stakeholders to address potential challenges and ensure that safety and regulatory standards are maintained effectively.  House Resolution 291 by Representative Bryan Fontenot creates a task force to study the feasibility of transitioning from the National Fire Protection Association’s life safety and construction codes.  As an association the LLSSA has asked that our members be allowed to participate in this study so that our concerns are addressed.

Signed Act 534