Day care centers provide care for more than 12 clients at a time. Proper number of staffing is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The basic type of construction and material that the building is constructed of will determine which floor levels are allowed to be used for day care operations. The following table will illustrate the type of construction and the floor level location permitted to contain a day care center.

Building Requirements for Day Care Centers & Nursery Schools
Floor Location Automatic Building-Wide Sprinkler System Permitted Construction Material
Basement or Below Grade Required Non-Combustible(non-wood frame)
Ground Level Not Required Any
1 Floor Above Ground Required Any
2 or 3 Floors Above Ground Required Non-Combustible

It is important to note that the fire code does not allow day care centers to be located in the basement unless the entire building is protected with a fully automatic sprinkler system. If the building is constructed of wood, the day care center is not allowed to occupy the basement even if the building is fully protected with a sprinkler system.

Another concern of the requirements of day care centers is when the center is part of another type of occupancy, then known as a mixed-use facility. Some types of mixed-use facilities that are covered by the fire code are as follows:

  • Assembly Occupancy
  • Storage Facilities
  • Repair Facilities
  • Hazardous Operations
  • Manufacturing Facilities

These occupancies and some hazardous occupancy require fire-rated separations between them and the day care center. In such cases day care centers will be required to separate these hazards from the day care with fire-rated walls and divisions to separate the facility from hazards. Repair garages are required to be separated by a two-hour wall because of the dangers associated with automotive repair garages. Not only is the facility required to be separated but also the exits from the day-care must also be separated with the same two-hour fire rating.

Centers are required to have a fire alarm system which may be initiated manually by pull stations and cause an audible alarm that will be heard throughout the center. Smoke detection must be provided in all rooms and/or areas used for the center.

New day care centers are required to provide a means to automatically transmit an alarm to the municipal fire department.

A center with 100 or more people must have panic hardware on all exit doors. Any room with 50 or more people must have two remotely located exits. The exit doors and any door in the means of exiting must swing in the direction of exit travel.

Any opening between floor levels such as stairwells, pipe chases and similar openings must be protected with fire barriers, walls and doors meeting a one-hour fire rating.