New Businesses in Pike Township


The Pike Township Fire Department is always pleased to welcome new businesses to our community. We value the diversity that new business owners bring to Pike Township and we would like to be your partner in helping your business thrive. With that, it is important that business owners understand the requirements for operating certain types of businesses based on your occupancy type (please see below). Depending on the type of business you operate, you may require additional permits, inspections, and/or licenses in order to remain compliant with city ordinances and state law.

Additionally, it is very important that the building or space you occupy is suitable for your business type. Please see the information below for specific information about new businesses. This information is primarily for businesses occupying existing buildings or tenant spaces. If you will be performing any type of construction, please be sure to visit our construction information page. As always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. You may also decide to contact a code consultant prior to signing a lease or purchasing a building to ensure that you are in compliance with the applicable fire and building safety codes. 

Thank you for choosing Pike Township as the home of your new business! We wish you great success and fortune.

What Is My Occupancy Type?

Fire and building safety code requirements are based primarily on occupancy type. Your occupancy type dictates the codes your business must comply with as well as the applicable licenses and permits that you will be required to obtain. Please keep in mind that the Pike Township Fire Department uses the most restrictive occupancy type when determining the requirements for your business. This is especially important if you operate two different types of business in your space or building. For example, if you have a small art gallery during the day but also host large gatherings in the evening the code requirements for your occupancy type would be more restrictive than if you only operated as a small art gallery. 

Please visit this link to learn more about occupancy classifications. 

Requirements for All Businesses

All businesses operating in Pike Township must comply with the requirements listed below. This is not an all-inclusive list; however, it will provide you with some guidance prior to your inspection. There is a multitude of resources available online to assist you with determining your specific code requirements. In addition, there are numerous code consulting companies available to assist you. 

  • Fire extinguishers provided
    • Commercial businesses require the installation of a minimum 2A:10B:C (commercial) type fire extinguisher
    • The fire extinguisher must have a current inspection tag provided by a fire protection contractor registered in Marion County
      • Alternatively, the business owner may purchase a new fire extinguisher and affix the receipt showing that the extinguisher was purchased within the prior 12 months
      • Fire extinguishers must be professionally inspected by a fire protection company annually or the business owner may purchase a new extinguisher and provide proof of the purchase date as described above
    • Mount the fire extinguisher in a conspicuous location
      • Fire extinguishers must be mounted with the top of the fire extinguisher not greater than 5 ft. off the ground
    • Fire extinguishers must be installed with a travel distance not greater than 75 ft. (your business may require more than one fire extinguisher based on the size of the space or building)
    • Fire extinguishers may be required in areas such as break rooms, laundry rooms, or other areas where there is an increased likelihood of a fire occurring
  • Address posted on the front and rear (if applicable) of the building or space
    • The address, building, and/or suite number/letter must be posted in a conspicuous location 
    • You must use a contrasting background that is visible to approaching emergency apparatus
    • The minimum character height is 4″ with a 0.5″ stroke-width
    • If you occupy a tenant space in a building that has multiple occupants (ex: a strip mall), you must provide the address on all rear doors
  • Emergency egress
    • One accessible means of emergency egress is required
      • Your business may require more than one means of egress based on the occupancy type (see below)
    • Exit doors must remain unlocked and unobstructed while the business is open
      • Some occupancies have specific requirements regarding the use of locking devices on exit doors (see below)
    • Egress pathways must be illuminated

Special Considerations Based on Occupancy Type

When occupying a new space or building it is important to note that the occupancy type is tied to the previous business (if applicable). For instance, if you are occupying a tenant space that was previously a business office (B occupancy type) and you conduct business as a restaurant (A occupancy type), the business must meet all of the code requirements for the new occupancy type. If you have conducted any construction you must obtain a construction design release from the state of Indiana and complete a chapter 34 review (see below) in order to change your occupancy type.

Assembly occupancy types have some of the most restrictive fire and building safety requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your building or space complies with the requirements below. If you are unsure whether a building or space is suitable for your business given its occupancy type, please contact the property manager, owner, or a code consultant. We highly encourage you to do this prior to signing a lease or purchasing a building.

Important considerations for assembly occupancies:

  • Egress doors must have panic hardware
  • Locking devices are only permitted on the front door
    • Only one locking device is allowed when used on the front door
    • If the locking device is keyed from the egress side you must provide a sign that says “This door to remain unlocked while the business is occupied”
  • An automatic fire sprinkler system is required if your occupant load (occupancy) is greater than 99
    • Occupant load calculations are based on a number of factors. The Pike Township Fire Department calculates your occupant load based on the greatest number of occupants that your business can hold. Please visit this link to learn more about occupant load calculations
    • Note that in occupancies such as restaurants, bars, event centers, and other businesses that have moderate to large open spaces the occupant load can very easily exceed 99
  • A fire alarm system is required if your occupant load (occupancy) is greater than 299
    • Where provided, the fire alarm system must be tied into any source of amplified music (DJ booth) in order for patrons to be able to hear the fire alarm system
  • An amusement and entertainment (A&E) permit may be required if you have live music, a DJ, a dance floor, or host any type of event or party. Please see this link for more information on A&E permits
    • Failure to obtain this permit could result in fines, closure orders, and/or other penalties according to the Indianapolis/Marion County Code of Ordinances and state law
  • A dance hall permit may be required. Please visit this link to learn more about dance hall permits.
  • Emergency egress lighting provided
    • The means of egress (exit doors/pathways) must have emergency egress illumination provided. Lighting must have a backup power source such as a battery or generator.
  • Two accessible means of egress
    • Assembly occupancies must have a minimum of two unobstructed exit doors
  • Exit signs
    • Exit signs must be provided and illuminated at all times

Businesses with kitchens or cooking equipment also have special code requirements. We recommend that you consult a kitchen fire protection specialist prior to your fire safety inspection. Please ensure that you have the following:

  • A current hood system inspection within the past 6 months (for hoods with fire suppression systems)
    • Any deficiencies must be corrected prior to your fire safety inspection
    • A new hood system inspection is required if you have added or rearranged any cooking equipment
  • Provide documentation of the last professional hood cleaning
  • Install a class K fire extinguisher if your cooking operations produce grease-laden vapors or if you have a deep fat fryer
  • Cooking equipment must be tethered to the wall

Businesses that have fire protection, sprinkler, or fire alarm system must have a current inspection report on file. Inspection reports must be submitted electronically to the Pike Township Fire Department through the online contractor portal. In addition, businesses with a fire protection, sprinkler, and/or fire alarm system must have a KNOX emergency key box. Businesses without such systems are highly encouraged to purchase a box to allow rapid entry into the building in the event of an emergency. 

Variances and Chapter 34 Reviews

Variances and/or chapter 34 reviews may be pursued if your business cannot meet fire or building safety code requirements due to your occupancy type and the space or building that your business will occupy. Please note that you are responsible for obtaining any needed variances and/or chapter 34 reviews prior to occupying the space or building. Failure to do so could result in an emergency closure order being issued, fines, and/or revocation of any permits or licenses to operate. Again, the Pike Township Fire Department recommends that you contact a code consultant prior to signing a lease or purchasing a building. 

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