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TOPIC: theater insurance

Re: theater insurance 16 Jul 2007 17:05 #15530

  • rdetzler
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Thanks for the help I will contact society and auto-owners, though I dont think auto-owners does much business in New England.

So Mike, did putting sprinklers in help your business? Was it a useful expenditure of funds that you probably had to out and borrow (like I will). I have 40 ft ceilings, by the time those sprinklers burst at 160 degrees I dont have much hope for what might still be under them.

I have no issues with running a safe place of business. Knock on we have never had a major accident. We have tons of extinguishers, a multi-zone alarm, an evacuation plan that is practiced every 60 days, a staff that has been trained in crowd management by the local FD, but nothing is enough. Now they want sprinklers and the sooner the better.

I think it goes without saying that if a 92 year old theater is still standing, after playing nitrate and being lit with gas stage lights, that it is probably safer now than at any point in its past.

If I were a non-profit I could just cry to the guvment and get some money. But because I am a CAPITALIST, its OK for our government to pass this legislation (which makes them look great in the next election by the way) without allocating a dime for the hundreds of businesses that will be affected.

When and if I do put them in, and I have to raise my ticket and concessions prices, you can bet I will have a sign in the lobby telling everyone to look up and see where their money went.

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Re: theater insurance 16 Jul 2007 17:56 #15531

  • lionheart
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Hey, rdetzler, didn't I see somewhere that your theater has more than one screen? According to national fire code any "multi-theater complex" (meaning more than one screen) must be sprinklered. Maybe some are grandfathered in, but you may not have been operating long enough for that. Or maybe you added a screen somewhere along the way? Isn't it often the case that if there is a change in ownership, the authorities can make you bring the place up to code? I know it's true if the place had been closed for a while. And since the interpretation of building and fire codes are often up to local officials, some may find themselves dealing with things that don't occur in other places.

Best of luck in dealing with your sprinkler dilemma. If you ever have a fire, you'll be glad if you have them. Ask the sprinkler design company about your 40 foot ceilings. They are sure to know something about dealing with high ceilings and the effectiveness of the system.

I'm looking at the possibility of twinning an old single screen and that will require me to add a sprinkler system. The building is over a hundred years old and has wood floors, part of which must be newer since it wasn't a theater until maybe 1940, but still very old. I'm thinking that I might want to add sprinklers even if I don't twin it, just in the hopes of saving lives or limiting losses in the event of a fire. The place would go up like a roman candle if there were ever a fire.

Sprinklers will lower your insurance premiums, but I'm sure it won't pay for the system anytime soon. Still something is better than nothing. And yes, I think you should proudly tout any improvement to your facility. It might not bring you more customers, but it will make a good impression on the ones you have.
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Re: theater insurance 16 Jul 2007 21:28 #15532

  • rdetzler
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Funny I never had a customer say "I'm not coming here anymore because you dont have sprinklers" But I have plenty who will pass me over for the cineplex up the road if I have to keep raising my ticket prices.

I know my insurance will be lowered and I know by how much. If I remember my math it will take me 55.5 years to generate a return on the investment.

The need for sprinklers has nothing to do with change in ownership etc, though you are correct about that.

Here is the story as it was related to me. I tell it because it may very well relate to you.

Based on the 2004 Fire Safety Codes (the National ones) which are being adopted by the States now, all 'places of public gathering' which seat more than 100 people are required to have sprinklers. There is NO grandfathering allowed under this act. Are there exceptions? Of course, churches are not required to have them. (But they can have open flame on their stage, but i cant on mine). The definition of 'place of public assembly' is a bit vague but its generally considered to be theaters, nightclubs, or any other room using low light conditions or festival style seating.

Bottom line is if your houses are larger than 100 people you will be affected by these codes. Its just a matter of time. Its worse on the East Coast because of the Station fire tragedy.

Looking forward it gets worse. My builder friend tells me that the 2006 codes basically require all new residential construction to have in home sprinkler systems.

Again, this is not a comment against public safety, it is a statement on the system. My complaint is that there is no money forthcoming to help make the public safer. It costs something like $2.13 a sq ft to sprinkler new construction but more than twice that for existing construction. Probably more if you are a historical building like mine and dont want to see ugly pipe strung everywhere throughout your building.

Plus in addition to paying for the work inside the building, the town wont even pay for the water connection I need to the outside of the building which means another 20K to dig up a public street that I pay taxes for. What do I pay taxes for again?

Everyone wants history and preservation in their town but no one wants to write the check to keep it there.

Mike wasnt kidding about being threatened out of business unless he signed a contract for installation. I got the same speech. I feel lucky to be given a few years to try to adjust otherwise the IOKA would be a furniture store already. If you dont have a plan in place to address this, I strongly recommend you get one before its too late. These are national codes, not state, and all state fire marshalls are responsible for showing compliance of all affected properties.

Roger
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