Upper Storey Development

Upper Storey Development

St. John’s has a vibrant and iconic downtown.  As the City’s economy continues to flourish, so too does interest in the downtown as a site for commercial development.
In 2012, the City of St. John’s contracted R. J. Bartlett Engineering Ltd. to produce a fire protection engineering analysis. Fire Safety Alternatives for Mixed Occupancies with Upper Storey Development Downtown St. John’s, NL identifies guidelines the City will use so that property owners can make cost-effective building upgrades for upper storey properties while still allowing for acceptable life safety and the preservation of the property’s historic integrity. The report was released on March 28, 2014; click here to read the news release.
Roadmap 2021, the City’s 10-year strategic economic plan, recognized the importance of facilitating the development of underutilized space in the downtown as a means of increasing occupancy, encouraging density, and adding to the vitality of the city.
Does my building qualify?
To qualify for the possible use of this document, your building must:

  • Be located in the City of St. John’s
  • Be not more than 3 storeys in building height, with or without a basement (as measured from street of primary fire department response)
  • Have a maximum floor area of 150m2 (±1610ft2) and a maximum building area of 600m2 (±6450ft2)
  • Have at least one exterior wall facing a public street for fire department primary access
  • Be major occupancies consisting of any combination of Groups, C (Residential), D (Business or Personal Services), or E (Mercantile)*

What are the important fire protection issues?

  • All occupants are expected to be capable of self-preservation
  • You must have fire department response time of within 5 minutes
  • You must have city water supply with sufficient pressures for firefighting

How do I apply?
If your building meets all the above requirements, the application and review process is as follows:

What is the inspection process?

  • City inspection staff will have access to all areas of property. Some destructive testing may be required to determine construction of walls, floors, and/or ceilings.
  • Upon completion of the above, city inspection staff will review and evaluate the property for possible compliance with this report.
  • The City of St. John’s reserves the right to apply this document at its discretion.

What happens if I am approved?

  • If approved, a plan review letter will then be issued stating all life safety requirements. The building owner must then agree to and enter into a contract with the City of St. John’s that they will comply with the terms and conditions of the permit and the report.
  • The City of St. John’s approval will be for the occupancies proposed at the time of inspection. This approval is non-transferable. Any change to the property including, renovations, occupancy, ownership, etc… must have prior approval from the City of St. John’s.
  • Inspections will be required throughout the renovation to ensure all requirements are met.
  • Upon completion of all work, city inspection staff in conjunction with SJRFD inspectors will review the building and issue approvals.
  • The property must be made available to SJRFD for annual inspections.
  • The City of St. John’s will issue an Occupancy Certificate that must be displayed on site at main entrance at all times.