If you’re a commercial building owner in New York City, you likely need an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and a Fire Protection Plan (FPP). You may be asking: What is the difference between an Emergency Action Plan and a Fire Protection Plan? 

Both an EAP and FPP have many compliance rules. However, complying with all the regulations for EAP and FPP can be time-consuming, tedious, and difficult.

What is the difference between an Emergency Action Plan and a Fire Protection Plan? 

Let’s start with defining an EAP. An Emergency Action Plan, as required by cities such as New York, outlines procedures and requirements for the evacuation of occupants from office buildings in the event of an emergency. An EAP is a written procedure that details the appropriate response to different types of emergencies. 

Meanwhile, a Fire Protection Plan is a requirement needed for a building to obtain a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) or final Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). An FPP provides you with detailed floor plans of the building that shows all exits, doors, corridors, and partitions including fire barriers with wall ratings. These floor plans feature the use and occupancy of each floor/space per the most current C of O or Schedule A. 

So, what is the difference between an Emergency Action Plan and a Fire Protection Plan? 

Fire Protection Plans and Emergency Action Plans have several similarities. They both include narratives and architectural floor plans. With that said, there are a few important differences to note. EAPs are floor plans and narratives that map out egress, emergency evacuation routes, and fire alarm related items. FPPs are floor plans and narratives that show all exits, doors, hallways, and fire barriers.

An FPP is filed with both the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). The EAP is only filed with the FDNY 

Does your building need an EAP or FPP? 

Now that you know what the difference is between an Emergency Action Plan and a Fire Protection Plan, the question is: Do you need them? 

Following 9/11, all commercial buildings are legally required to have an EAP if the space falls into any of the following categories: 

  • Greater than six stories in height  
  • Greater than 75 feet in height  
  • Have more than 100 occupants above or below street level  
  • Have more than 500 occupants in the entire building  
  • As otherwise required by law or regulation  
  • As ordered by the Fire Commissioner 

Likewise, commercial building owners need to file an FPP to obtain a C of O if their buildings fall into any of these categories: 

  • Greater than six stories in height  
  • Greater than 75 feet in height  
  • Two or more stories used for business, education, factory, high hazard, retail, or storage  
  • A public assembly space for 300 or more people  
  • Two or more stories with sleeping accommodations for 30 or more people  
  • Apartment buildings with 30 or more apartments and 10,000 square feet of space used for public assembly, education, retail, or institutional purposes 

Avoid penalties and fines 

On top of having a compliant EAP and FPP, you need to keep them regularly updated to avoid penalties and fines.

The FDNY typically completes an annual inspection. However, an inspector can show up at any time, unannounced. If your EAPs aren’t up to date and you receive an unannounced inspection, your building will be hit with a violation. Fines can be steep and will increase quickly if not resolved. 

Additionally, the commercial real estate industry is always changing. When a new tenant moves in or a construction project begins, the Emergency Action Plan is affected. Any significant changes to a building must be verified and promptly filed with the FDNY. 

Keep your floor plans up to date 

Fortunately, building compliance solutions can make the EAP and FPP process much easier. A building compliance solution makes it easy to keep your floor plans up to date whenever there are changes in your building.   

For your EAP, you need a floor plan that shows standpipes, fire barriers, evacuation routes, and more. Plus, you need to keep it regularly updated when there are changes to your building. Your FPP needs to have a floor plan that shows exits, corridors, fire barriers, and more. You only need to update your FPP if there’s a filing for “Alt 1,” new building, or new place of assembly.   

Aside from these specific details, floor plans must always be updated and refiled whenever there are changes in the building. These changes can be due to construction, renovations, or new tenants.  

Any changes to your building must be documented and refiled so that you can avoid fines during building inspections. A building compliance solution keeps your floor plans accurate and up to date through an efficient, in-house process, so that you don’t have to.  

Schedule a yearly walkthrough 

Keeping your EAP updated whenever there are building changes is essential to avoiding fines. However, it can be difficult to remember to update the EAP when there are so many other aspects of the building to oversee. 

Building compliance solutions can help you keep your EAP updated with a yearly walkthrough. The yearly walkthrough catalogs your emergency evacuation routes, egresses, and fire alarm related items (among others). Then, you can compare the information from the walkthrough with your current EAP floor plans. If there are any discrepancies, you can update your EAP floor plan and prevent penalties. 

What’s more, it can be complicated to correctly file an EAP and FPP. And incorrectly filing your EAP and FPP will cost you time and money. Here’s where you can lean on a building compliance partner, who can ensure your EAP and FPP are filed correctly and quickly. 

Learn more from the experts 

Your building is legally required to have an updated EAP and FPP in New York City. Without an EAP and FPP, your building can’t be occupied. And you risk fines during building inspections.   

A building compliance solution can simplify the EAP and FPP process for you – making it easy to have updated plans. When you partner with a building compliance partner, such as Building Engines, you’ll receive a yearly building walkthrough and unlimited in-house updates to your floor plans.  

Reach out to our building compliance experts to learn more.