Ocean Towers

Bringing an aging luxury residential high rise up to date in Santa Monica, California, architects and building owners face the challenge of keeping up with life safety requirements while preserving valuable space and managing construction costs.

Santa Monica, CA
(96) M200 Elevator Units
Project Type:
Residential: 317-unit Luxury Condominium
M200 Ocean Tower BEFOR Epics SGCA 34

Constructed in 1971, Ocean Towers underwent elevator modification work in the early 1980s to meet building and fire codes. Recently, when plans for a major renovation of the property went to plan check for approval, the Santa Monica building and fire departments challenged the code compliance of the existing elevator doors and openings.

M200 Ocean Tower BEFOR Epics SGCA 33

A red flag was raised in plan check that the existing elevator hoistway doors and wooden bi-parting swing doors mounted on the face elevator openings did not have appropriate labeling information.

Citing the 2010 California Building Code (2010 CBC) requirements, the authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) asked for evidence that the existing elevator doors carried a fire rating [CBC 2010 708.14.1]. Finding no certificates, fire door labels, or even an invoice from the since defunct elevator company that had initially installed and modified the elevators, building ownership was presented with a proposal from another elevator manufacturer to remove the existing elevator doors and replace them with fire-rated doors and jambs. A very expensive proposition. Additionally, the building also required that “S” label requirements for tight-fitting smoke and draft control assemblies at the elevator opening or the construction of an enclosed elevator lobby be met.

M200 Ocean Tower BEFOR Epics SGCA 3

The Smoke Guard units fit nicely into the existing design. Minimal construction was needed to incorporate the 96 smoke gasketing systems into the renovation on a floor-by-floor basis of the occupied building saving usable space and lowering the cost of construction.

SG Specialties recommended a third party be brought in to test the compliance of the existing elevator doors and affix a new fire label to them satisfying the AHJ concerns. SG Specialties then consulted with the project architects and the general contractor to design the Smoke Guard M200 smoke gasket units above each hoistway opening to satisfy the “S” label requirements when paired with the re-validated fire-rated elevator doors.

M200 Ocean Towers SGCA 4

SG Specialties worked with the homeowners association and the architect to clad existing elevator door jambs with #430 stainless steel so that the magnetic system could deploy directly onto the elevator frame, alleviating the need for auxiliary rails and maintaining the desired design aesthetic

The result was code compliance and enhanced life safety with minimal disturbance to the existing structure.